When I returned early from fall break, I had a few days left to enjoy before classes started again. Some of my friends were still abroad in the UK, and my friend Ryan’s family was visiting him for the week, so I had a lot of free time alone. Which was welcome. Whilst studying abroad, it’s common and honestly typical to find a group of friends that become your travel companions. Such was my experience – I found about 4 close friends and we would do almost everything together. Doing so was great ! A feeling of added safety and security, companionship / friendship, and various opinions. But sometimes being with so many people for so long exhausted me and I needed some time to explore, solo.
I had heard about the Palais de Tokyo first from my uncle in London (Hi UJ! <3) who recommended it as a fabulous place to see modern art. Then, it was actually the location of the infamous fashion show experience. Now, I went to the museum itself which was open late – til midnight !
I had spent the majority of the day in bed, recovering from my sinus infection that I had gotten in Venice at our hostel that had no heat or hot water for two days ..
But by that evening, I was feeling twinges of guilt for not making the most of my time back in Paris (I had come back early for a reason, after all). I looked up which museums were open late, since I myself was getting quite a late start to my day and wouldn’t make it to a regular museum before it closed. The Palais de Tokyo was open until midnight, which gave me plenty of time.
I dressed up in my most favorite, eccentric Parisian outfit because no one cares if you look crazy in Paris – and headed out. It was a really freeing feeling to be without any constraints – I had literally hours to spare, no one else to please, and only myself to worry about. Of course I was aware and alert being a young American female out at night, but in such a public and tourist-y part of the city, I wasn’t worried.
The featured exhibit at the Palais de Tokyo was a large piece of work by artist Camille Henrot, entitled “Days are Dogs.” According to the website, the exhibition sought to question “the relationships of authority and fiction that determine our existence, and is organized around one of the most foundational structures in our lives – the week. Years are measured by the journey of the Earth around the Sun; months derive from the position of the Moon; days correspond to a rotation of the Earth. The week, by contrast, is a fiction, a human invention. Yet that does not diminish its emotional and psychological effects. We experience it as a narrative cycle, structured by the particular qualities of its component days. Each room of the exhibition evokes a day of the week – an open world where conventions, emotions, and individual freedom are playfully confronted with one another.”
It was an enriching experience going to a museum solo and finding my own interpretations of the art. It’s also a unique experience going to a museum that late at night because there’s not a lot of people – il n’y pas trop de monde – so I didn’t feel pushed through by the crowd. I was able to take my time through the exhibit, and I spent about 3 hours going through the whole thing; it felt nice not to be rushed. Afterwards I met my friend Ryan and we went to a little café for a glass of red, and watched the passersby like true Parisians.