Last night was Nuit Blanche*, which is kind of like the French version of the American “first night”. Nuit Blanche is a lot more interesting that first night, though. It’s not family focused and it doesn’t happen on New Year’s Eve. Instead it takes place in the fall, and it’s all about contemporary art. All the artists, dancers and musicians put up installations and perform for people all night long. Last night I went to the urban art exposition in the 19th arrondissement near and inside of Parc de Buttes Chaumont. See some pics of the art below:

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umbrella installation in the park             skater creates art on blue powder soccer players compete on hilly terrain

The most interesting part of the evening wasn’t the installations or the art in the 19th, but the congregation of youth along the Seine. Image142Well, under it, really. For some reason everyone under the age of 25 things that it’s really hip and cool to hang out, literally, under the bridges. It smells like piss and it’s dark and dank, but it’s where all the action is. It’s interesting because it’s really a mix of all kinds of people who usually don’t mix together at all. I saw kids from the suburbs play wrestling, university students having guitar sing-a-longs and a ragged looking group of twenty somethings who got a kick out of pretending they were going to jump into the river. At one point, one guy almost actually fell in and his friends had to catch him. Teenagers + un-patrolled areas + no open container laws makes for a very interesting nuit blanche. I probably would have been annoyed with them if I wasn’t in such a good mood, but I was, so I just enjoyed their youthful antics and the mild weather and the fact that there were thousands of people on the streets and spilling out of the cafés and under the bridges just enjoying the white night.

une nuit blanche = literally means “a white night”, but is French for what we call “an all-nighter”

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