It is a tradition for little more than a quarter century... Thousands of people, dressed entirely in white gather for a luxurious spontaneous picnic in a most prestigious public spaces. Attendance is through a "pyramide amicale", by invitation.
Launched in Paris, now Dîner en Blanc or "dinner in white" has spread to around 30 countries worldwide, including Italy, Spain, US, Canada, Australia and UAE... The most recent held at one of the Paris most picturesque locations - Gardens of the Palais - Royal on June 11, 2015.
White dining tables and chairs, white tablecloths, white cutlery, real wine glasses and champagne flutes.... Candelabras and beautiful flower arrangements.
People in white dresses, suites, hats and even masks, unpacking their gourmet picnic baskets with all the delicacies you can think of for elegant soirée - pâté de foie gras, fine cheeses, baguettes, enormous oyster platters, caviar... And of course, bottles of wine and champagne.
Born over 25 years ago, the very first Dîner en Blanc was hosted by François Pasquier when he returned to Paris after spending a few years abroad and organized a reunion dinner with friends. So many wished to come that at the last moment he was forced to move the event to the Bois de Boulogne and asked everyone to wear white so they could find each other. After they continued to gather every year attracting more and more guests, as each participant can bring one new guest the following year.
The Parisian version of Dîner en Blanc is still the most attended and attracts around 15 000 diners every year. Past picnics have taken place at the most exclusive locations in Paris: the Eiffel Tower site, the Champs-Élysées, the Esplanade de Notre-Dame, the Château de Versailles...
Technologies have changed over the years, but the feel of exclusivity and secrecy is still in the air and turns Dîner en Blanc from the ordinary picnic to the magical and unique event which it has become.
The exact location is kept a surprise until the last minute ensuring a sense of excitement and mystery. Guests are greeted at designated meeting spots and then accompanied to the picnic location. It is by invitation only. The guest list is built up exclusively of friends, and friends of friends. Monsieur Pasquier calls it "pyramide amicale", a friendly pyramid, where trustworthy friends give invitation their own trustworthy friends.
In a sense, Dîner en Blanc encourages camaraderie, elegance and love of beauty and food.
If you are invited, it will be an amazing and unique experience. But the only way in is to find somebody who knows somebody. Its that simple!