Tiered cake with flowers, bright sparklers, magnums of wine. What more could you ask for? Perhaps some glittery gold high heels paired with two hairy legs. We had those too.
Our first experience of Diner en Blanc last year was one of those special moments of our time in Paris. We couldn’t pass up the chance to experience it all again. This year we were a mix of the same friends and some new ones who joined us. It was the same white theme but in a different location. Most importantly, we had about the same amount of wine, champagne, good food and fun as last year.
Our friends Bobbie and Ray gave us the notice just 3 weeks ago. Save the Date: June 8. We did a little happy dance.
The, just a few days before, the guest list was finalized. We had a table for four. Our friends Vanessa and Antoine would bring the chairs. I put our names down for appetizer skewers and Three Bean Salad. David started chilling the magnum of champagne.
We all frequently checked the weather forecast and complained about the weather. It’s been a rainy spring. And they were calling for rain for most of the week, including the night of Diner En Blanc. But as legend has it, it never rains on Diner en Blanc. We hoped the gods wouldn’t fail us. We crossed our fingers and toes.
Besides, I already have 5 umbrellas at home, I didn’t want to go out and buy two more in white.
That morning, we received the email with our pre-dinner meeting spot. A bar called Le Comptoir du Faubourg in the 8th. It was also a hint for the secret dinner location. The speculation started. Could it be Place de la Concorde? Or along Champs Elysees? Perhaps Place Vendome? All those options would be perfect.
You instantly feel special getting on the metro dressed in white, with your cargo in tow. It’s evident you’re going somewhere special. For those who know, they ask you: where is Diner en Blanc this year? You can honestly say you don’t know.
We converged with our tables, chairs, granny carts and bags full of everything we needed for a magical and ephemeral flash mob dinner. The drinks started flowing. We took our photos during the golden hour. The night was just getting started.
Then our leader told us to grab our things and follow him. We followed him through the narrow streets and cobblestone sidewalks of Paris. Then we came upon the scene where thousands of others dressed in white were setting up their magical night at Place Vendome. You can’t get more bourgeoisie than that, surrounded by the recently renovated Ritz Carlton and some of the world’s high-end luxury brands.
Once the tables were set and food spread out, the first corks were popped. We twirled our napkins with the rest of the 10,000 people. Glasses filled and raised. A cheers to another magical moment.
As per usual with our group, the food was outstanding. We all shared our dishes and soon our bellies were too full. But not too full for the best cake in Paris, created by our friend Bobbie. We did rounds of photos and walked around the square. It’s always curious to know how others do Diner en Blanc. Oysters, large white wigs, meat fondue and strings of lanterns.
The brass bands played throughout the night. We cheered the police as they drove by. We lit our sparklers and made a wish.
My personal wish… that we can come back to Diner en Blanc next year.
Then it was time. The proverbial clock struck midnight. We packed up everything. Nothing can be left behind. And before you knew it, it was like we weren’t even there. We were all gone without a trace.
All those people returned to their lives, continued on with their week. Carrying a little big of magic with them. Because we were part of something special.
David and I didn’t want it to end so fast. We savoured the evening just a little longer. It didn’t rain at all in the end and it was warm enough to go for a walk to Pont de La Concorde.
It’s funny when you’re dressed in white. Other people dressed in white start talking to you. Afterall, you immediately have at least one thing in common. Then you find out you may have more. Like the kind American who asked us where we’re from, said he’d be going to Edmonton to visit extended family. He offered us some champagne, but we politely declined. We wanted to savour the moment t alone together. So as he moved on to marvel at the view with his wife. We settled in for the final bit of magic of the evening. A picturesque view of the Eiffel tower, lit up for a Eurocup lightshow test run.
And the magical Seine at night.
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And if you want more, check out our friends’ own renditions of the night.
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