In 1988, the first official Dîner en Blanc took place in the Parc de Bagatelle in the Bois de Boulogne. Until 1991, the venue remained the same but numbers quickly escalated from 200 initially to 400, to 800 in 1990 and 1,200 in 1991. By 1992, it was necessary to conceal the location of the dinner and the current process of using point-people to coordinate a batch of tables and provide transportation to the event began. Here’s a rundown of the locations of the Dîner en Blanc from its inception to today:

2017: Hôtel de Ville

Photo by Fabrice Labit from Dîner en Blanc International

2016: Place Vendome

Photo by Aymeric Pasquier

The 2016 Dîner en Blanc brought the pop-up dinner to a location that had not worked out due to construction back in 2012 for the 25th anniversary: the Place Vendôme.

2015: Palais Royal

Paris Dîner en Blanc at Palais Royal. Photo by Thierry Stein courtesy of Dîner en Blanc International

The dinner was located in the Palais Royal, with a rival unofficial dinner wrought havoc on the Louvre…

2014: Bridges of the Seine and the Invalides

Photo by Fabrice Malard courtesy Dîner en Blanc International

In 2014, the dinner took over the bridges of the Seine and the Invalides.

2013: Trocadero with View of the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre

In 2013, the Paris Dîner en Blanc took place in two locations: at Trocadero, with a majestic view of the Eiffel Tower and at the Louvre.

2012: Notre Dame, Place des Vosges and Versailles 

In 2012, festivities went all out. Two simultaneous dinners at Place des Vosges and Notre Dame. Then the next night, a third dinner took place at Versailles in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the dinner.

At Versailles

2011: Cour Carrée du Louvre and Notre Dame

Surprise! The first year the dinner was split into two locations, one at Cour Carrée, the back courtyard of the Louvre Museum, and the other  again at Notre Dame.

2010: Carrousel du Louvre

The dinner was located at the Carrousel du Louvre, stretching from the I.M. Pei pyramid to the Tuileries. Attendance was estimated at around 12,000.

2009: Place de la Concorde

In 2009, about 10,000 people descended onto Place de la Concorde with a view of the Eiffel Tower and the Grand Palais.

2008: The Champs-Élysées

In 2008, more than 9000 guests made it onto the sidewalks of the Champs-Élysées. Ben & Jerrys, the ice cream company, managed to make its way in time to serve dessert!

2007: Arc de Triomphe/L’Etoile

In 2007, a slightly smaller gathering of 8,000 at the L’Etoile, around the Arc de Triomphe.

2006: The Invalides

In 2006, approximately 8,400 partied on the lawns of the Invalides.

2004: Louvre-Palais Royal

In one of the smallest venues, the 2004 the Dîner en Blanc was in the courtyard between the Palais Royal and the Louvre, just outside the Louvre-Palais Royal metro stop on the 1 line. Although the invites were considerably less, with 1400 attending, this dinner was nicknamed the “Sardine Dinner” (Dîner Sardine) because of how difficult it was to setup.

1994: Place de la Concorde

Photo courtesy Dîner en Blanc International

1993: Pyramide du Louvre

Photo courtesy Dîner en Blanc International

In 1993, the Dîner en Blanc was at the Louvre, marking the first time the event was reported on by the New York Times.

1990: Bois de Boulogne

Photo courtesy Dîner en Blanc International

The first Dîner en Blanc ever took place in the Bois du Boulogne in 1990.

The  Dîner en Blanc has also taken place at Madeleine, Versailles, the Pantheon, Trocadero, Pont-Saint Louis and Pont de Solferino.

UPDATE: Pictures from the 2011 Dîner en Blanc and  the 2010 Dîner en Blanc! Get in touch with the author @untappedmich.

 

7 thoughts on “History of the Paris Dîner en Blanc: A Look Back

  1. Michelle,
    Your photos are fabulous. The atmosphere inside the Cour was wonderful….it was some of the best fun I’ve had in ages.

  2. Looks really cool but kind of elitist (or something like that). It would be nicer if most of the tickets were decided by some sort of raffle rather than handed out by the organisers.

    1. For the New York City dinner, there is a signup for anybody to get involved (http://newyork.dinerenblanc.info/). The non-Paris dinners are organized by the son of the original organizer. I know there is an intention of creating more openness even in the Paris one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *