Diner en Blanc* - It started in Paris in 1988 and it's sweeping the world. Francois Pasquier invited some of his friends to a small yet elegant pop-up picnic in Bois de Boulogne. They dressed in white to easily find each other. The rest is history.
Diner en Blanc International was founded in 1998 when Francois Pasquier's son, Aymeric Pasquier, moved to Montreal and decided to keep the tradition alive.
Now 40 cities (including 16 U.S. cities) take part in this annual event. Locations include Paris, London, Copenhagen, Vancouver, Toronto, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Montreal, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Brisbane, Nairobi, Cape Town, and Johannesburg. Participating U.S. cities include Atlanta, Atlantic City, New York, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles.
Here is how it works. The secret location, a prominent landmark, is communicated at the last minute. In Paris, the event has been held beside the Eiffel Tower, Champs-Elysees, Place de la Concorde, and the pyramid at Le Louvre. In Montreal, locations have included Olympic Stadium and Place des Arts. Bryant Park has been used in New York.
Thousands of guests gather. All guests dress in white and bring their own gourmet cuisine, chairs, tables on which they spread white tablecloths, white napkins, china, crystal, and silverware. There is time for set-up The tables are elegantly decorated with candles, floral arrangements, and even candelabras. Then, festivities begins.
There is a sea of white balloons, dining, music, dancing, and other entertainment that varies depending on location. After dark, the area is illuminated with sparklers, glow sticks, and candles.
At the end of the evening, each guest table clears ups and ensures that nothing is left behind.
Apply for invitations well in advance of each event as places are limited. There are turnkey services through Diner en Blanc International for destinations that don't have an event.
For information about how your group can participate in Diner en Blanc or organize an event near you, visit the official Diner en Blanc International Website and search for your country and city.
*Diner en Blanc is a registered trademark protected through the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in the European Union, North America, Brazil, Australia, Mexico, Singapore, Russia, and China. Registration pending in various other countries.
For more hot dining trends, also read What's Hot: From Ocean to Table Seafood Dining, Corporate Events: Interactive Wine Tastings in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Incentive Destinations: Keeping Cool in Asia and Polynesia, What's Hot: Dining in Water (Part II), What's Hot: Dining in the Dark.
Photo Credit: Luc Legay