Dîner en Blanc can be described as an invite-only “chic picnic” where all participants are dressed elegantly from head to toe in white (not cream or ivory) and where only real crockery and glasses will do (no plastic or paper plates here). If you know the concept behind a “flash mob” you’ll understand how this works. Diners must bring absolutely everything they will need for their picnic including tables, chairs, linens, gourmet food and champagne then assemble at a pre-determined meeting spot.
The location of the event is kept a secret until the very last moment. Once everyone has set up the organisers will start the napkin twirl (hence why you need linen napkins and not paper), which signals the start of the meal.
After night fall there is entertainment and sparklers to light up the night. Then once the event has finished you must take everything with you with the aim to leave the location as good as or better than you found it.
We recently got to attend the 30th Anniversary Celebration of Dîner en Blanc in Paris, driving the five hour journey each way from London with all of our equipment.
As a trial run to bungee cord the table and chairs to the tiny trolley we stopped en route in a park in Abbeville. Lunch was spent in the shade with the ducks and looking out over the water.
Then it was back on the road to Paris.
Our meeting point was the Cafeteria des Invalides, so we parked on Rue de Constantine under the Boulevard des Invalides. We had just under two hours before the meeting time so went to find the meeting point, and had an ice cream at a nearby café.
Changing in the car was interesting, but we weren’t the only people getting ready in the carpark. We mingled with fellow “DEBers” (I think thats a thing) as we made our way to our respective meeting points, much to the confusion/amusement from passers by.
Since this was our first Dîner en Blanc, I might not have understood the registration process and registered us on the “Atlanta” table, but to be honest we loved that we would get to spend time with people from the other side of the pond.
Very sweaty, we waited, and waited until we FINALLY got the location… the Esplanade des Invalides (where we just came from). By the time we arrived the set up process was in full swing! Between 20,000 and 30,000 people from all over the world had gathered to celebrate, it was a very surreal spectacle to see, and be a part of.
Once at our allocated spot things got manic; chairs and table cloths were flying everywhere, some people were building structures and others were arranging towering centrepieces.
Then suddenly everything was done and the fun could begin.
Champagne was poured, speeches were toasted, new friends were made and the napkins twirled to signal the start of dinner.
After dinner, thousands of sparklers were lit creating a spectacular scene. Live bands played on one side and DJs entertained on the other. The celebrations lasted long into the night.
Well Dîner en Blanc, we can safely say that this was a night to remember.
Last modified: 25th July 2018