October 7, 2012

Paris Meet-Ups

A WICE Magical Mystery Tour

Bassin de la Villette (Petra Nass)
WICE offers a range of educational and social activities, and also likes to host get togethers of anglophone adventurers—folks who want to discover the less traveled paths of Paris.

The first WICE Magical Mystery tour was just such an adventure ... the spirited flaneurs headed to the 19th and 20th arrondissements for an 8.2 km walk that included parks, fountains, history, camaraderie, and good exercise!

Fontaine, Parc de la Butte du Chapeau Rouge by Dan Smith 
The journey started at the Jaurès metro station and continued along the Bassin de la Villette and the Canal d'Ourcq, then through the Parc de la Villette, the Parc de la Butte du Chapeau-Rouge, the Parc des Buttes Chaumont, and the Parc de Belleville.  Not only were parks a theme, but also fountains. The intrepid group discovered fountains dating from the First Empire (Fontaine aux Lions), throughout the 1930s (Cascade Fountain at the Parc de la Butte du Chapeau Rouge) and into the 1980s (Cascade Fountain at Parc de Belleville, a wall fountain at Jacques Ibert Municipal Conservatory, and the fountain in the Square Marcel-Mouloudji).

Photo by Dan Smith
The group also visited a series of alleyways in a tiny corner of the 20th arrondissement, lined with lovely houses and lush gardens. The houses survived demolition because they are built on quarries. The Haussmannian buildings could not be supported on such ground.

All such walks must end with a grand lunch, so the group dined at Tablier Rouge on rue de Chine to reward their well-used walking muscles.

There are more outings and social gatherings coming soon. Join cheese and wine pairings and gourmet dinners through le Foodist, a visit to Paris vu par Hollywood at the Hôtel de Ville, and a fun lunch of Japanese noodle slurping.  Click here to find out more.

Post by Claire Lo and Meredith Mullins.

October 2, 2012

Nuit Blanche 2012

The Night When No One Sleeps

Photo by Meredith Mullins
This Saturday night (October 6, 2012) is a night to roam the streets ... from sunset to dawn ... with other night owls and art lovers. It's the Paris Nuit Blanche (or white night). The poetic phrase comes from the summer celebration in Russia, when the sun barely sets. It's light all night long. A reason to celebrate after the long, dark winter.

But here in Paris, the fun begins when darkness falls ... on a slightly cooler autumn evening. There are visual and performing art events all over the city. And, you're often allowed to enter places that are usually not open to the public, such as l'Assemblée nationale, le Palais d'Iéna, la Préfecture de police, l'Hôtel de Ville, and l'université Pierre et Marie Curie.

Photo by Jeanne MacInnes
Since last year's Nuit Blanche was such a success (which meant sometimes waiting in line for two hours to see an exhibit or performance), the idea this year (the 11th Nuit Blanche) is to make the events more accessible. Many of the points of interest will be along the Seine (from d'Ivry sur Seine to Chaillot). The evening will also be featuring several places to get high (in meters) so that you can gain a new perspective on the action ... and Paris. (These exceptional belvederes include the terrasse on the 8th floor of the Cité de l'architecture, the terrasse on the 7th floor of BHV, the 9th floor of the Institut du Monde Arabe, the 15th floor of the Tour Morland, and the 24th floor of Jussieu (l'université Pierre et Marie Curie).

You can see everything from traditional exhibits, to one-night light installations, to musical performances, to spewed and twirled fire, to videos and films, to the ultimate installations ... the thousands of people wandering the streets together trying to stay up until sunrise.

Photo by Meredith Mullins
So ... download the iPhone app or the map from the paris.fr site and plan your noctambule wanderings.

Or join WICE Photography Instructor Meredith Mullins for a photo walk that evening of some of the more interesting aerial views and installations (and learn something about night photography along the way). Click here for more information. (And thank you to WICE member Jeanne MacInnes for the idea!)

Bonne Nuit!

Post by Meredith Mullins