Paris in June is always a good idea, and this year particularly, with the 30th anniversary of the Paris Dîner en Blanc, thousands of revelers from around the world joined in the exclusive pop-up white dinner at this year’s secret location: The Esplande des Invalides, the grand park in front of the Invalides. A record 17,000 people attended the dinner, which included 6,000 from abroad. We have been covering the Paris Dîner en Blanc, which has been invite-only, as guests since 2010 and as organizers in New York City since its inception in 2011. But Le Dîner en Blanc is a global phenomenon, expanded from its original concept that began simply as a welcome back dinner organized by Mr. François Pasquier for his friends upon his family’s return to France after living abroad. His son, Aymeric Pasquier, expanded the concept to over 80 cities around the world across four continents.
As with any of Dîner en Blanc, there are passerby who discover the event for the first time. That included our Uber driver, who told us in French, “Me too, I want to go!” and pointed out he was already wearing a crisp, white button down shirt. Tourists walking by asked us what was happening, and we were more than happy to oblige and spread the word about this event, which at its core, is about spending a beautiful moment in a public place with friends and strangers.
The location is kept secret under the last minute, except for the head organizers who lead a pyramidal system of volunteers. In Paris, most groups are brought by bus from designated meeting locations (and in New York City, groups come by subway and by walking) This year, with the number of guests from abroad, a large number of pedestrian meeting locations were set up around the Invalides, with those guests walking to the site. The out of towners were organized by city, with organizers from those cities leading their groups.
All guests bring everything they need to have a fabulous dinner – tables, chairs, food, decoration and drinks. If that seems like too much of an ordeal, this event is probably not for you! But the magic is in the ephemeral nature of the Dîner en Blanc. For entertainment, there were 30 musical acts spread throughout the dinner ranging from DJs, marching bands, indie bands, an African band, and more. There were vintage cars on display as well as an authentic NYPD cop car (albeit with French license plates and a very pleased French police officer manning it and hamming it up for photos).
Please enjoy our photos from last night’s 30th anniversary Dîner en Blanc, and check out the history of the Paris Dîner en Blanc locations here!