New at Shakespeare & Company


Not much is new about Shakespeare & Company bookstore, with its rickety floors and uneven ceilings, this place is a monument in its own right. It’s a place with quite a bit of history, however, there are three small additions I thought worthy to write about.

First, this fall a dream came true to open a Shakespeare & Company Café on the corner next to the shop. This was always a goal of Shakespeare’s founder George Whitman, but only came to fruition after his death. Food and coffee is by Bob’s Food Etc. (try Bob’s Juice Bar, Bob’s Kitchen and Bob’s Bakeshop) which has some of the best and healthiest food around, in addition making some of the yummiest bagels I’ve ever had. The only downside is that it’s hard to grab a table in the small Paris establish. The outdoor tables are great when it’s not raining (don’t be fooled by the empty ones in the photo below!).



Second, there are readings and events several times a week at the bookshop. Recently I stopped by for a reading by Ethan Hawke, who was in town to promote his new book Rules for a Knight. For anyone who has seen Before Sunset this was like a dream come true, as the movie opens with him doing a reading at Shakespeare & Co. (note: see Before Sunrise first if you haven’t – nine years pass between the films; these also happen to be two of my favorite movies). The event was way too popular for me to get inside, but I did manage to get a pretty good photo through the window. I’d actually heard him do a reading at UVA years ago, but this was next level given the setting. You can listen to the podcast of the event with Ethan Hawke on their website.


Finally, Shakespeare & Company is the latest Parisian shop to sell my Herb Lester Paris Small Shops map! And [currently] you can’t miss it on the check-out desk. It’s such a dream to have my map sold here, and as it’s all about supporting local small shops (check out #ParisSmallShops on Instagram), so there couldn’t be a better fit. (And in the spirit of supporting small shops, stop by and say hello to Stephane at Librairie Galerie Louis Rozen in the 5th, who sells a wide range of the fabulous Herb Lester maps of various cities, as well as some very cool retro inspired posters and books!).



There are so many great bookstores in Paris, and some of that is due to the restrictions that the French government has put on Amazon. From my experience French are voracious readers, and I love passing so many book shops around the city. Every morning on the metro I do a little tally to see if more people are reading print or looking at their phones; believe it or not books and print often win out!

The other perk of Shakespeare & Co. is that they stamp your book to prove you bought it there. It’s almost as good as a signing, and makes for a wonderful souvenir! They’ll also give you a cool bookmark, and they have great tote bags (see above) for sale.

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Shakespeare & Company [bookstore + cafe]
37 Rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 ParisMetro: St. Michel
Bookshop open daily from 10am to 11pm


Follow me @pretavoyager on Instagram + Twitter + Medium! I teach MAPS, Travel Posters, InDesign, and Redesign Your Résumé on Skillshare, and give Paris tours through Vayable! Don’t miss my new Paris Posters Tumblr!

Ai Weiwei at Le Bon Marché


Even if you can’t make it to Paris before the end of the month, I wanted to share images of Chinese artist and political activist Ai Weiwei‘s latest (temporary) installation, Er Xi at Le Bon Marché department store in Paris. I knew it would be beautiful, but I didn’t expect the sense of joy and childlike wonder that came over me as I started to look up at the world above me. Er Xi means “Child’s Play” as the 22 mystical animals come to life overhead.








If you speak French, Le Bon Marché offers guided visits on Thursday afternoons (reservations required). Don’t miss the windows outside as well (not pictured here, because I missed them). The installation is up until February 20th. Ai Weiwei has a fascinating background, spending his childhood in exile. I would have loved to have seen his installation on Alcatraz, which was more colorful.

Le Bon Marché
24 Rue de Sèvres, 75007 Paris
Metro: Sevres-Babylone


Follow me @pretavoyager on Instagram + Twitter + Medium! I teach MAPS, Travel Posters, InDesign, and Redesign Your Résumé on Skillshare, and give Paris tours through Vayable! Don’t miss my new Paris Posters Tumblr!

Traveling Through Time: Volez, Voguez, Voyagez

PAV-volezvoguezvoyager-1It’s easy to take travel for granted these days with the ease of trains, planes and automobiles. Despite relatively easy access to all modes of transportation and the existence of low-cost carriers, much of the glamour and mystique has disappeared as we wait in security lines, or sit traffic jams. At times it can be hard to imagine what travel used to be like, and that is really wasn’t something everyone could afford to do. The current Louis Vuitton show Volez, Voguez, Voyagez at the Grand Palais is a fascinating look back in time through travel and craftsmanship. With trunks and travel bags at the core of the Vuitton business, it is easy to see the ways styles emerged alongside new modes of travel.

PAV-volezvoguezvoyager-31925 special order.

The exhibition introduction reads “The House of Louis Vuitton is based on the principles of French style, recognizing the beauty of an object in its function and mobility.” Louis Vuitton founded his company in 1854 as a skilled box maker. He worked to perfect the design of the flat trunk, which would become the iconic piece of LV, and a precursor to modern luggage. Louis Vuitton and later his son George, and grandson Gaston-Louis sought to perfect details through the use of materials, keeping the trunks light and ergonomically designed, with interior compartments and padding, designing tumblr locks (including the use of a single lock that can be used on multiple pieces), and creating canvas patterns to make their works stand apart.

PAV-volezvoguezvoyager-2Many of the same woodworking tools are used today.

PAV-volezvoguezvoyager-10The details which go into each piece. This one belonged to Lauren Bacall.

The traditions of craftsmanship continue to this day in the Louis Vuitton ateliers in Asnières-sur-Seine, just north of Paris, for one of a kind and special order pieces. One of the most special details to see which has carried on throughout time is the use of hand painted monograms. Of particular interest was Louis Vuitton’s own bleu, blanc et rouge “V” on his own luggage.

PAV-volezvoguezvoyager-6Trans-Atlantic travel. Steam vessels started service in the 1830s. Vuitton’s own monogram can be seen on the steamer bag second from the left.

Over time, the luggage took on different forms, from needing a vertical trunk to use as a dresser on a trans-Atlantic ship and a “steamer bag” to be carried on-board (a precursor to the handbag), metal trucks for colonial expeditions, trapezoidal bags to fit into the trunk of an automobile, a more malleable, lighter bag for air travel, or a thin trunk for easy under seat access during train travel. Elements of each of these iterations of travel can be see in the Louis Vuitton bags of today.

PAV-volezvoguezvoyager-4Pieces of today which take a nod from trunks created for colonial expeditions of the 1920s.

PAV-volezvoguezvoyager-5Automobiles, starting in the 1890s, influenced the shape of travel.

Each room of the exhibition takes you through this experience back in time including sketches in Vuitton’s notebooks, patent sketches, order forms, and publicity of the time. The final room has artisans working as they do today, which is ironically not that different than how it all first started.

PAV-volezvoguezvoyager-7Lightweight and functional luggage was required for travel by plane. Commercial airlines came to play in the 1900s.

PAV-volezvoguezvoyager-8Railways started service in the 1830s. There was a need for travel trunks and bags. Clothing was adapted to mode of travel.

Volez, Voguez, Voyagez is on at the Grand Palais until February 21st. Besides being free, the exhibition also has a fantastic accompanying app (download it even if you can’t go in person). The exhibition is visually rich, but I enjoyed the extras in the audio guide, which can also be found in the app. You’ll travel like you never thought possible through the vision of Louis Vuitton. Even if I can’t afford my own custom Louis Vuitton trunk any time soon, I still have an incredible appreciation of all the work that goes into making one.

PAV-volezvoguezvoyager-9Order specifications for Francis Picabia and Henri Matisse.

PAV-volezvoguezvoyager-11With photography less common than it is today, stickers from hotels were a way to document where one had visited. The designs are beautiful, and much of the Vuitton collection is on display in the train room.

Le Grand Palais is located at 3 Avenue du Général Eisenhower, 75008 Paris. The closest metro is Champs-Elysées Clemenceau.

PAV-volezvoguezvoyager-12Read more about the exhibition on QZ.


Follow me @pretavoyager on Instagram + Twitter + Medium! I teach MAPS, Travel Posters, InDesign, and Redesign Your Résumé on Skillshare, and give Paris tours through Vayable! Don’t miss my new Paris Posters Tumblr!

The Year of…

theyearof-In case it wasn’t obvious, in 2015 I wasn’t very present on my blog. It doesn’t mean I wasn’t doing anything. Au contraire. To be honest, I started my blog in 2007, and it’s not that I don’t love it and the opportunities it has led to, but the fact that there are just not enough hours in the day to pursue everything I want (while still staying sane).

Instead of New Year’s resolutions, every year I give myself a theme. For 2015 my theme was EXECUTE. I’m guilty of coming up with endless ideas, but actually doing something with them is another battle. 2015 was about revisiting things I’ve been wanting to do, and talking about, for a long time, but I hadn’t gotten around to actually doing. I’ve always loved Scott Belsky’s concept of “revisiting the archives” in his book Making Ideas Happen. So that’s exactly what I did as I made my game plan.

My list included creating my Paris Poster Tumblr of photos I’ve been taking for years around the city that provide me endless inspiration, launching my Herb Lester Paris Small Shops map, giving some TLC to my existing Skillshare classes with annotated video notes, getting over my fear of website metrics/analytics, taking a writing workshop, joining a creative business group, moving forward on Studio/Practice (even though it’s still mainly behind the scenes), visiting all the public swimming pools in Paris, and collaborating on another print project (hopefully I’ll be announcing soon). Really, it was about taking small steps to keep moving me forward to where I want to be.

Check out my latest piece on Medium to find out my theme for 2016, and what’s in store for the year ahead!

P.S. When I’m not blogging, don’t forget you can find me on Twitter and Instagram!

3 Weeks of Map Making

MakeAMap-givegiftSure you have the joy of taking my Skillshare classes year round at your own pace, but just in time for the holidays, I thought it’d be fun to run a special map making session where I share new ideas, inspiration and resources. I’ll be sending regular email reminders to keep everyone on track, as well as giving feedback to projects. The goal is to encourage people to make a gift this year, rather than buying one. What better gift than a map?

For some added inspiration you can see some of the amazing and creative projects students have created in this class in the past. It’s open to all levels and abilities, and there’s no need to be a designer to join. The videos haven’t changed since I first launched the class, but I’ve added annotations and loads of new resources.

To join you need to sign up for my Map Making class (the membership will let you take as many Skillshare classes as your heart desires), and also sign up for the session. I’ll also be giving away two awesome prizes to one lucky participant: a copy of the Herb Lester Paris Small Shops city guide I wrote, as well as a copy of the book The Art of Illustrated Maps by John Roman. Hope to see you there!!


Links to my other Skillshare classes: The Art of Travel Posters, Map Making, Basic InDesign, InDesign in 30 Minutes and Redesign Your Résumé.

After the Attacks, Paris Resilience

pretavoyager-paris-ruedelasolidariteThere are too many days in history where one minute changes everything. In a city where I always feel so safe (with the exception of a higher risk of pickpockets), the Nov 13th Paris attacks were, and still are, incredibly surreal. The majority of the attacks were in the 11th arrondissement – my neighborhood! – and nearby 10th. Much has been written since about these neighborhoods, and the fact that they are multi-cultural and welcoming places. The locations targeted still feel so arbitrary to me, and I very well could have been at any of them. I have friends who had plans to be at the cafes and restaurants, but plans changed for one reason or another that night.

I feel incredibly fortunate, that in a small city, where I know hundreds of people, I did not know any victims. However, I am only one person removed in several cases. I’ve found myself donating to people and families I’ve never met, but it’s part of the healing process. The first week was the hardest, the longest. Every day starts to feel a bit more normal, but you still ask a friend “How are you?” and the response is still mixed. You feel strange going on like nothing happened, but at the same time life is way too short to live in fear.

And as terrifying as terrorism is, the way I see it, we’re still more likely to be victims of a car accident from crossing the street by looking at our phones instead of paying attention to where we are going. To be honest what is scarier to me now is some of the anti-refugee and religious rhetoric that I’ve seen come out of the U.S. When everything was unfolding, I once again was very appreciative of European news coverage – particularly watching the France24 livestream on Youtube – that is balanced, smart, straight reporting, not speculative or fear inducing.

Throughout everything, Paris has proved its resilience. And that’s what makes this city so amazing. The images below are all part of my own healing process.

pretavoyager-paris-peace-berlin2I was in Berlin when the news of the attacks happened, set to catch a 6am flight the next morning. For the first time ever, I intentionally missed my flight (thankfully the airline was incredibly understanding and rescheduled). Everything had taken place in my neighborhood, at places I pass on a regular basis. I was up until 4:30am following the developments and there were still so many unanswered questions. Instead, I stayed in Berlin for an extra two days. On Saturday a German friend took me to Brandenburg Tor where the French Embassy in Berlin is, and where crowds were paying their respects.

pretavoyager-paris-peace-berlinpretavoyager-paris-cafedelapaixWhen I returned to Paris on Monday there was a chill in the air, with the grey skies and quiet streets. Tourists were out, but their heads were in maps so they probably didn’t notice the lack of people on the streets. I walked by Café de la Paix near Opera to see the tables and chairs stacked and the terrace closed. I felt like I processed a lot while I was away, but that day felt far more overwhelming than I expected.

pretavoyager-paris-peace3Fluctuat Nec Mergitur is the Latin phrase that appears on the Paris coat of arms and translates to “tossed but not sunk.” I didn’t expect to pass two attack site memorials in my neighborhood on my way to this wall (I was on autopilot- a typical route I take). I hadn’t made the connection from news reports, and then I saw flowers. It still feels unimaginable. Many people were there paying respects as the city works to heal.

pretavoyager-paris-peace2Notre meilleure arme le sourire. Our best weapon is a smile. Spotted in the 10th arrondissement.

pretavoyager-paris-bleublancrouge-eiffeltowerLike many monuments around the world, the Eiffel Tower turned bleu, blanc et rouge.

pretavoyager-paris-peace4Même pas peur. Don’t be afraid. ❤️ Touching respects at Place de la République. As people lit candles and left notes, there were sounds of sniffles (the healing kind) and in the background a gospel choir sang while multiple people carried signs that said “calins gratuits” (free hugs).

pretavoyager-paris-peaceA moment of peace at Place de la République.

Read more expat essays responding to the Nov 13th attacks on The New York Times.

Many of these images already appeared on my Instagram feed, where I often tell stories and share my impressions when I don’t have time to blog. I shared thoughts on Twitter as well.

Anish Kapoor at Versailles

pretavoyager-anishkapoor-versailles-2Every summer the gardens of Versailles are transformed with art installations, and often a bit of controversy. This year six contemporary pieces by English artist Anish Kapoor‘s changed the landscape. The large scale works which have been up since June will be on display until November 1st.

I had a chance to visit earlier this fall when my friends Ashley and Cydney were in town. Ironically the threat of rain that day led to dramatic skies, and even more beautiful installations in a magical place.

pretavoyager-anishkapoor-versailles-5Sky Mirror


pretavoyager-anishkapoor-versailles-1Ashley, Cydney and I are reflected here! (Hint: my phone is bright pink.)

pretavoyager-anishkapoor-versailles-7Sectional Body preparing for Monadic Singularity

pretavoyager-anishkapoor-versailles-6pretavoyager-anishkapoor-versailles-8Dirty Corner covered in vandalism. The piece was controversial from the beginning as it disrupted the sight line down the gardens. After the graffiti, initially it was a conscious decision not to remove it (although it was condoned), but the controversy was heightening and has been since painted over.


#Descension. Mesmerizing piece by #AnishKapoor at @ChateauVersailles. #Versailles

A video posted by Anne Ditmeyer / Prêt à Voyager (@pretavoyager) on

Descension: press play!

pretavoyager-anishkapoor-versailles-11Map. Presentation of exhibition. The exhibition. Biography of the artist.

Versailles is easily accessible from Paris on the RER C (Versailles – Rive Gauche) and the L train from Saint Lazare. The main gardens of Versailles are free on week days.

Secrets of Instagram to Plan Your Next Trip

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 00.28.09For so long Instagram has allowed us to travel vicariously. Now more than ever it’s a tool to help make the most of your trip.

Despite being known as a traveler (prêt à voyager translates to “ready to travel,” after all) I do surprisingly little to prepare for a trip. I spend more energy packing than planning my trip, but even that doesn’t get much attention. Over the past year I’ve figured out how to unlock Instagram as my best travel friend that allows me to go a bit deeper in the city, uncover some unlikely sites, and, most importantly, help me travel the way I want to travel (aka avoid the tourists). It’s also the perfect visual archive to share highlights of my travels, especially when I don’t have time to blog––like that time I went to Japan

Read my latest article on Medium, where I share my five favorite tips for making the most of Instagram to plan your next trip!

Follow me @pretavoyager on Instagram + Twitter + Medium! I teach MAPS, Travel Posters, InDesign, and Redesign Your Résumé on Skillshare, and give Paris tours through Vayable! Don’t miss my new Paris Posters Tumblr!

Flash Invaders: Invader Was Here

pretavoyager-flashinvaders-appInvader is a French street artist who has been “invading” the streets of Paris – and the world – since the late 90s. In 2014 Invader launched Flash Invaders app that is a retro modern interactive scavenger hunt battling against human competitors around the world as you wander the streets hunting for Space Invaders.

Life goals come in many forms. For me it recently was getting to the Top 200 of the Flash Invaders app. Between my Fitbit step count fixation and tours of Paris that keep me exploring, flashing Invaders became second nature to me (and I’ve gotten several friends hooked too).  I realized I was getting closer to 200th place a couple months ago and it seemed like a good goal. It took much longer than expected to reach it, as I constantly was battling out other competitors. It was a big weekend of Invaders for me. I was so close, I sought out the blue Invader that took me over the top. Now it’s anything but “game over”.

pretavoyager-flashinvaders-app-screenBest App Ever! Download the Flash Invaders app from the App Store. Take a photo of the Invader – aka “Flash It” from the app and let it process. It works with GPS [zoom in to get the target] and images have to be taken through the app, so there’s no cheating. Make sure you have the sound on, because the app not only looks like a retro video game, it sounds like one too! Each Invader is assigned a point value and you are scored. Your ranking can go up and down as you play against others around the world on the app.

pretavoyager-flashinvader-app-198Ta-da! I did it! Not only did I get past 200, but I made it to 198! And I managed to do so with fewer Invaders than those around me (168 to be exact for a total of 6030 points). I’d been actively chasing Invaders in recent weeks, but turns out there are some very serious competitors as a routinely hovered around 207th place despite flashing another dozen Invaders. My glory of 198th place won’t last for long, but I still achieved my goal!

pretavoyager-flashinvader-strategyNow that I’m far enough along in “the game” (& my goal of making it to the top 200) I’ve been known to do some extra research. In addition to @invaderwashere (the official account on Instagram), players often tag their images #FlashInvaders. This feed pulls from Invaders all over the world, but there is still a large centralization in Paris (and I clearly need to go back to Tokyo, with a different mission in mind). The example above involved me staring at the Instagram post on the left and trying desperately to figure out the names on the blurry street signs (on the Invader account they often blur street names to make it harder to find). I used my typography skills to pick out a few key letter forms before breaking out my Plan de Paris map book. A quick cross check on Google Street View and booyah! I found it. True Story. I’ve also been known to stare at shop signs in images and Google all the locations until I find one on Google Street View with a wall that mimics a recent invasion. Don’t worry, it’s a healthy habit and gets me exercise!

pretavoyager-invader-aliceThe way it works is the larger the Invader, the higher the point value. (I know, it feels like it should be the opposite because the smaller ones are often much harder to find). Alice here was +100 points. A lot of times I’ll figure out which neighborhood an Invader is in, so it’s a perfect excuse to walk for hours, as was the case here.

pretavoyager-invader-3pacmanInvaders come in many shapes and forms, but most are inspired by video games.

pretavoyager-invader-soupeOver time, sometimes Invaders lose tiles (or they are intentionally defaced). Tip: go ahead and flash them even if they’re in bad shape, you’ll likely still get the points. Also, sometimes old Invaders are repaired and reactivated.

pretavoyager-invader-ruemartelAfter spotting this one online with the street sign, I may have taken a 40 minute detour last week in order to get the points. I’ve been flashing Invaders for over a year, but still have snapshots in my head of ones I need to go back and find again for the points.

pretavoyager-invader-blackThere are many copycat Invaders in the world. The app ensures you’re finding the real ones. (This is a real Invader).

pretavoyager-invader-yellowfolderStreet corners are the best place to keep your eye out for Invaders. But I’ve also found one in a swimming pool and another in a bookstore. I’m still keeping my eyes out for the one in the Pizza shop!

pretavoyager-invader-costWith the app, sometimes you forget that you’ve already gotten the points for a particular Invader. Don’t worry, the app has a sense of humor and will remind you you’ve lost your memory.

pretavoyager-invader-perelachaiseSometimes the Invaders may have a theme related to their environment. (Père Lachaise cemetery pictured in the background here). I also love that I walk Paris so much that I can see a tile wall, an shop awning or a small clue in the background and easily identify where it is.

pretavoyager-invader-paradisIn a world where our phones keep us looking down, Invaders keep others looking up!

pretavoyager-invader-flowerpowerSometimes you’ve walked a street a million times, and then one day an Invader appears. Perhaps you’ve never truly opened your eyes, you finally walked the other way down a street, or maybe there was a new Invasion.

Download the Flash Invaders app, and learn more about French street artist, Invader, and more of his rad projects. Many are well documented online (see Paris Summer Invasion) and at @invaderwashere on Instagram. Long before the app, Invader has carefully documented each Invasion, which are compiled into beautiful books (complete with maps with point values in the back).

Follow me @pretavoyager on Instagram + Twitter + Medium! I teach MAPS, Travel Posters, InDesign, and Redesign Your Résumé on Skillshare, and give Paris tours through Vayable! Don’t miss my new Paris Posters Tumblr!

Nuit Blanche Paris 2015

pretavoyager-nuitblanche-juliuspoppFor years Nuit Blanche has been my favorite night of the year. The “white night” or “sleepless night” is a night of art installations where the city becomes a giant, free gallery. In Paris, Nuit Blanche is always the first Saturday in October, and each year there is a different ‘parcours‘ (route) to explore different areas of the city. Installations this year were in churches, firehouses, on bridges, in front of a train station, in schools, in museums, and inside abandoned rail tunnels. Most installations opened at 7pm and went until 7am (personally I only made it to 4am). This year’s theme was climate change in honor of the upcoming #COP21 talks that will be in Paris in December.

pretavoyager-nuitblanche-juliuspopp2Julius Popp Bit.Fall raining words on bridge Rue de l’Aqueduc in the 18th. The outdoor installations that can be seen from multiple locations are always a favorite because they don’t involve waiting in line! (A reality of the popular night). The raincoats were a nice touch, however, I’m not sure how sustainable they were, especially when they were thrown on the ground…

pretavoyager-nuitblanche-minimummonument1#MinimumMonument by Néle Azevedo was a highlight for me. Waiting in line for another installation, I took a peek at the #NuitBlanche hashtag on Instagram and saw that these ice men were melting quickly, so I was happy to catch them before they disappeared. The installation was supposed to go until 1am, but we were there around 10:40pm, and the ice figures on the top steps were long gone – talk about climate change at work!

pretavoyager-nuitblanche-minimummonumentThroughout the night there were mediators. My enthusiasm for this exhibition was met by a mediator telling me that these 3,000 ice figures took 20 volunteers 10 days to create. Earlier in the evening the public placed them one by one on the steps.

pretavoyager-nuitblanche-leandroerlichIn front of Gare du Nord was Leandro Erlich‘s ‘Maison Fond’ (melting house). With the crowds it was hard to see the bottom of the house, which was the most telling part of the untraditional house.

pretavoyager-nuitblanche-casernechateaulandonBesides Bal des Pompiers, it’s fun to see an art installation in a [former] firehouse: Caserne Louis Blanc. Seeing the still images of Zimoun’s ‘1.8km Rope’ doesn’t truly do it justice as the wooden poles danced, tied to mechanisms installed on the ceiling. The sound was loud and echoed in the space. The line to get in however, was unnecessarily inefficient.

pretavoyager-nuitblanche-zimoun2I like to go for the spaces as much as for the works!

pretavoyager-nuitblanche-eglisestmerriOne of the challenges of the night is avoiding the masses, but also being aware of the hours. From peeking on Instagram, Saint-Eustache looked cool, but arrived right after it closed at midnight. Thankfully Eglise [church] St. Merri was nearby with Djeff et Monsieur Moo.

pretavoyager-nuitblanche-djeffetmonsieurmooThere’s something extra surreal seeing the inside of church transformed. In addition to the boat and broken glass installed in the choir and apse of the church, the lighting changed as if to reflect the state of the world.

pretavoyager-nuitblanche-petiteceintureThe section of the Petite Ceinture in the north of Paris is typically closed to the public (although I did have the chance to walk it this summer for Danse sur les Rails). For Nuit Blanche they opened a 1,5km section to walk.

pretavoyager-nuitblanche-stephanericordelStéphane Ricordel’s ‘Nuage’ (cloud) was overhead and snowed from time to time. Throughout the night there were performances which involved the artist, but unfortunately around 2am I didn’t catch any of that. Instead we continued forward through the long tunnel.

pretavoyager-nuitblanche-michelblazy2Inside the tunnel there were sound installations, but also Michel Blazy’s textured paintings at the far end. However, the thing most striking to me was how much cleaner the tunnel was from when we walked it this summer!

pretavoyager-nuitblanche-104Despite the fact that Nuit Blanche is one night early, the good news is that not all of the installations are over. Inside 104 (Centquatre) contemporary art center, Follia Continua is on until November 22nd, with many noteworthy artists on show, including Anish Kapoor.

pretavoyager-nuitblanche-anishkappor-104Part of Follia Continua, Anish’s Kapoor’s ‘Ascension’ is an impressive piece to witness (as well as his installations at Versailles) where the moisture comes from the floor boards and is sucked into the tunnel above. The way you enter the room is also memorable.

pretavoyager-nuitblancheparis-posterQUICK TIPS FOR NUIT BLANCHE

  • Pick up a paper program at Hotel de Ville about a week before the event. (There’s typically a PDF map on the website to download too). The printed programs and maps are also available the evening of Nuit Blanche at the key venues, but sometimes are a bit harder to track down.
  • Download the free app.
  • Make sure you bring extra battery charge for the night – it’s a photogenic night!
  • Realize that the more central you are, the more crowds there will be. Also, the more certain pieces get press, the more people will go to those places.
  • Don’t try to see it all – decide which interests you the most and start in that area. It’s also a fun excuse to visit parts of the city you’ve never explored before.
  • Use social media (Twitter and Instagram) to search the #NuitBlanche hashtag — it’s a great way to scout, just be warned, some other cities around the world may get mixed in as well.
  • There are a lot of unofficial installations which can be just as fun. Many restaurants and bars stay open all night. In recent years, food trucks have been integrated into the routes.
  • Wear comfy shoes! You had to wear close-toed shoes to access the Petite Ceinture. I also ended up walking home from across the city because I didn’t want to wait for the bus.
  • Depending on which areas of the city are featured each year, certain sections of the metro are open all night and free after 2am. (The map in the printed program is super handy for this information).
  • Mark your calendars for the first Saturday in October for next year!
Follow me @pretavoyager on Instagram + Twitter + Medium! I teach MAPS, Travel Posters, InDesign, and Redesign Your Résumé on Skillshare, and give Paris tours through Vayable! Don’t miss my new Paris Posters Tumblr! … I also have a new 2 week Résumé Redesign Session kicking off this week!

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