Wednesday, 17 June 2015

The Dîner en Blanc Story

Once upon a time (in 1988 to be exact) a Frenchman named François Pasquier returned to Paris after a period of living abroad. He wanted to celebrate his birthday with friends he hadn't seen while away but didn't have enough room at his place. So he decided to organise a picnic in the Bois de Boulogne instead. Not your average picnic of course, this one had chairs and tables and a proper meal (as the French seem to do, take something normal and Frenchify it into something chic..!). 

Back in the day, before the introduction of widespread mobile phone use, the group opted to dress in white in order to spot each other more easily in the Bois de Boulogne (the Boulogne Woods). Little did they know that in doing so, they would be giving birth to a future worldwide phenomenon and the largest 'impromptu' dinner party ever known to exist.  

Friday, 12 June 2015

Paris Diner en Blanc 2015

Every year around the same time in June, thousands and thousands of Parisians immaculately dressed from head to toe in white gather for an incredibly surreal impromptu dinner in a public space, the famous Dîner en Blanc. The secret location is only announced at the very last minute, as levels of suspense mount among diners waiting patiently for the all important final reveal.

Previous monumental locations have included the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Invalides, Place de la Concorde, the Louvre Pyramid, Trocadéro, Pont Alexandre III and Versailles just to name a few.

The official event takes months and months of tireless work to organise, the effort involved is a feat in itself as the coordination of 10,000 people dining at a public location is by all means no easy task. However what makes the event unique and impressive is not the novelty factor of a flash mob dinner nor the publicity nor the media attention that surrounds the event but in fact the genuine desire by those involved to preserve and honour the true Dîner en Blanc spirit. 

The rules are strict and paramount to maintaining the real essence of the Dîner en Blanc, a desire to celebrate the sacred "art de vivre" with respect, mindfulness and elegance. White chairs, tablecloths, napkins and white attire are expected as well as the preparation of a proper entrée, main and dessert or cheese. No beer or spirits, only champagne and wine. No paper or plastic, only real white crockery and real cutlery. It's the ever present respect for food and the dining experience that is embedded into the DNA of French culture.