Nuit Blanche

I’ve been wanting to write about this French expression for a while now, and I finally have the occasion!

Nuit blanche is the French expression for an “all-nighter” — literally “white night.” It refers to a night when you don’t sleep at all, and it could result from any of several reasons — including, importantly for  a student, staying up all night cramming for a test. But for most French, I suspect, a nuit blanche is associated with partying all night long!

<cue Lionel Ritchie>

Since 2002, “La Nuit Blanche” has been used to refer to an annual all-night arts festival in Paris. Every October, the city’s museums, art galleries, and cultural centers open to the public free of charge for an entire night. In fact, the City of Light truly lives up to its nickname by turning itself into an outdoor art gallery with performance spaces and art installations all over the place. The history of La Nuit Blanche is long, but it seems to have been inspired initially by Helsinki’s 1989 “Night of the Arts” and the subsequent wave of such nocturnal arts festivals across Europe. You can click here for some of the history of La Nuit Blanche, and here for a guide to Paris’s most recent festivities on October 6 of this year.

My nuit blanche this week was just a bit different, though …

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Neither Here nor There

Le Parti Socialiste

It’s Wednesday, May 9, less than 3 days after François Hollande became the French President-Elect in a moment that many, myself included, had dreamed would come. There are many reasons why I supported Hollande, not the least of which is his support for same-sex marriage equality. I am hopeful that under his presidency, the French government will finally recognize the fact that I am married to a French citizen and I’ll be able to apply for a visa on that basis. There are other important reasons for my support, of course; the older I’ve gotten, the more politically liberal I’ve gotten and—yes—I now consider myself a Social Democrat, firmly allied with the interests of the French Left.

If only they seemed more welcoming.

This afternoon, I came across an article in Le Monde, posted on the French newspaper’s Facebook page. I don’t always read the French press—I admit I should do it more often if, for no other reason, than to improve my French skills—but this article caught my eye:

M. Hollande reste un inconnu ‘socialiste’ pour nombre d’Américains
(“Mr. Hollande remains an unknown ‘socialist’ for a number of Americans”)

Continue reading Neither Here nor There