[Update: Photographs from the 2012 Dîner en Blanc at Notre Dame and at Versailles]

What began as an impromptu gathering in white for 100 friends twenty-four years ago, has turned into a 12,000 person flash-mob dinner of the fanciest sort. And this week it happens again. While I’ve had the fortune to attend  Le Dîner en Blanc  Paris since 2010, this year the organizers have really taken it up a notch. The venue changes yearly, but is ever grand, and is kept a secret until the very last moment. Although discretion and propriety are a hallmark of Le Dîner en Blanc as a necessity for its continuance, the festivities are anything but tame.

It is an exploration of contrasts and contradictions, perhaps reflecting much about Parisian society. Elegance is of utmost importance, but essential to the concept is carrying (sometimes awkwardly) all of your own tables, chairs, table settings, food and drinks.  Invitations are available by connections only, but the event takes place completely in public with no press. On the way to the event, sometimes location and set-up instructions are handed out, but nobody excitedly reveals the location before others have seen it.

And in twelve minutes, 4000 tables are set up in rows and dinner commences.  Not a drop of waste is left behind, even though full-course dinner with live bands and dancing goes down.

This year, I will also be partaking in a documentary supported by the  Le Dîner en Blanc organization produced and directed by Jennifer Ash Rudick (previously with WWD/W Magazine), Albert Maysles (filmmaker of Grey Gardens, The Love We Make), Steve Cantor (What Remains, Devil’s Playground, the Academy Award-nominated Blood Ties: The Life and Work of Sally Mann) and Hagues Hariche (Les Siens du Sang, Flow, The Frontier).

I (and my dinner co-hort) will be followed as we prepare, conveying the joie de vivre of the event through style, food and fashion, and also speaking about the Le Dîner en Blanc NYC. Stay tuned on Untapped Paris for photographic recaps of the 2012  Dîner en Blanc Paris and sign up to attend a dinner at one of the many dinners worldwide.

Get in touch with me @untappedmich.