...Continued from page 1

Right at Les Halles there were a fair number of people about, but I didn't see any light shows by the Saint-Eustachephoto: video projection, nuit blanche church or the Bourse du Commerce. There were a dozen violet-purple lights twirling under the trees in Le Jardin Amoureux, worth watching for 15 seconds, but I gave them a whole two minutes.

Then I headed east. The merry-go-round that is always there was going around and I gave it two minutes' worth too. By the Fontaine des Innocents the fountain was being ignored, while all the temporary food stalls surrounding it were doing well - while the permanent restaurants around were not.

Wrinkly video projection for giving wrnkles to viewers.

The evening crowds were as thick as they usually are on a nice holiday day going towards the Pompidou Centre, but there was nothing happening near it. A lot of people were going up the centre's escalators.

Around the corner by the pool, with its spraying and twirling 365-day non-stop show, there was a screen hanging on the church wall. It showed a delayed-action video of the people watching it, with some random waves added to the stuttering images. Watching the watching people was worth three minutes.

I thought the crowds a half-hour into an all-night city-wide affair were pretty fair as I sidestepped and twisted through alleys to get to the Place de l'Hôtel de Ville. At the Rue de Rivoli it seemed that more had turned out than for the first three days of the Soldes d'Hiver.

The centre section of the Hôtel de Ville looked like it had been borrowed from Disneyland. It was lit up, in green that changed to purple, but it was with splotchy light - sometimes looking like the building was covered in ivy. Back, behind huge pavilions, there was a very long line of people waiting to get into something, but I couldn't figure out what exactly.

By the fountains at the south side of the place there was another screen set up with another video running of the people who were looking at the screen. I watched this one longer because I tried to take a photo of it. The camera kept saying, 'what is this supposed to be?'

Crossing the Pont d'Arcole there was the usual light show you can see anytime, and the whole Rue d'Arcolephoto: cocteau, pompidou beyond the bridge looked like it was stuffed with people. I could just see a thin slice of light on Notre Dame, but since it might have been the regular lights, I skipped it and ended my 'Nuit Blanche' at the deserted Cité Métro station.

Later, about 02:00, just as I was finishing the photos, the rain started. Still, there was a lot more traffic than usual going by, and groups of noisy people came by too - going from where to where?

What would Cocteau have said?

In the morning, radio France-Info said the turnout had been a million, and there had been no incidents worth mentioning and they mentioned none.

Today's Le Parisien wonders if there really were a million residents and visitors in attendance at 110 various events. But its story answers itself with the revelation that there usually are a million Parisians out and about on any Saturday night.

Their unofficial counters counted me, four times, in just the places mentioned above - at about the times I was in them. How well they counted the other 106 locales they do not say.

The free 'républicain' breakfast at the Hôtel de Ville was on time, beginning about 05:00. Some tanked up and headed off to the colorful musical pool at Saint-Merri, to swim into the dawn's gray light.
signature, regards, ric

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