Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Paris Pop Up - Dinner in White

Big exhale. I sent manuscript #16 to my editor and just  made it on time with the clock breathing down my neck. So now, blink, breathe and move on. Until I get the editorial notes back...

 Meanwhile in Paris it was the annual Dîner en Blanc.

You might not be able to plan ahead to reach the secret location but at least you'll always know what to wear - white.
The dinner in white has taken place in Paris for the past half a century but the exact location is a closely guarded secret until the day. Getting invited isn't easy -- one must be 'sponsored' by one of the organizers, yet this exclusive pop-up dinner grows every year -- now with many more than 10,000 participants here in Paris. 
Every year it takes place in a different spot, and one never knows where until the very last minute. At noon on the day of the event,  participants receive an email explaining where to meet at 8 p.m. At that appointed time, as everyone gathers wearing exclusively white from head to toe, the group leader gets instructions as to where to lead the group -- so even the group leader isn't informed until the very last moment. 
 The tradition began in 1988 when a group of ten friends decided they wanted to eat at a forbidden spot in the city.They ended up dining as a 200 strong flash mob at the Jardins de Bagatelle, once a favourite spot of French royalty including Marie Antoinette.
Thousands turn out smartly-dressed from top to toe in white for the occasion, which raises money for cancer research.
Although always in Paris, the event is held at a different location in the city every time. Last year, nearly revellers dined in the outdoor courtyard of the Louvre and at the Trocadero, while in 2012 the event took place at Place des Vosges and in front of the Notre-Dame Cathedral.  Past dinners have taken place at such illustrious settings as the Pont des Arts, the grounds of the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and the Palace of Versailles.
The rules also say guest must arrive by public transport, bring a guest and be dressed all in white with a foldable picnic table, chairs, wine and food. Those on the guest list will have either attended the previous year's event or been invited by someone who did.
Guests must bring a picnic table, a picnic basket, foldable cheers and a table cloth - all in white of course. Men and women sit on opposite sides of the table to one another and guests are forbidden to sit down until their entire row have set up their table.
They must only drink wine and champagne and must leave before midnight as discreetly they arrived, taking all their rubbish with them to leave no trace of the event.

This year the pop up dinner took place in the Palais Royal. Incredible.

Meanwhile what's going on going in Paris besides the pop up dîner en blanc? Laurent Fabius has launched a 'let's be polite to tourists' manifesto. Parisian teenagers have gotten back the results of their Bac exams - tears of sadness and joy seen on the streets - as their future is decided regarding to university and future jobs. Schoolkids are chafing at the bit, only another week to summer holidays. Fête de la Musique comes up on the Equinox, a dizzy night of music played on street corners, in courtyards, in parks, and squares.
Wishing you a wonderful start to the summer
Cara - Tuesday


  1. Wow, if everyone continued to return, and bring new guests each year, it would rapidly grow to include the entire population of Paris (doubling every year). So there must be some attrition (well, death never does, after all, take a holiday), and not everyone must bring new guests the next year. How many "group leaders" are there? How big are their groups? Is there only one level of "group leader" hierarchy? How is it a fundraiser? Do they just take contributions at the dinner? Or do the group leaders collect before leading everyone to dinner?

    These are details inquiring minds NEED to know!

    Hmm... a quick Google, and I see that the idea has spread and become quite the international event, hosted in MANY cities all across the globe:


    Thanks, Cara! I'd never heard of it before. (But then, I *do* live in the sticks, so I'm sure there's at least three other things I've never heard of before, too...)

  2. Hi EvKa, Good questions and I don't know the answers. I'm not one of the 'chosen' guests but I know 2 people who are and it's a very word of mouth thing from their whispered confidences. It's a fundraiser for cancer, according to what I've heard but no idea of any details. Someday I'll be in Paris then and worm my way in - it looks heavenly!

    1. The fact that they are all in white adds to heavenly aspect!

  3. Now that's something to consider for Greece, Cara...though at the moment they'd probably prefer a popup bank more than the dinner.

    Congrats on #16!!

  4. How gorgeous would that be Jeff...white Greek houses and almost blindingly white affair. Pop up banks good suggestion and thanxxx!

  5. Congratulations on book 16!! Not a pop up book.
    But you could do a whole book about pop ups. We have a pop up government. I get the feeling they will leave their rubbish behind them.