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The Magical Mystery of Dîner en Blanc

by Meredith Mullins on June 9, 2014

Woman in white in front of the Louvre, a guest at Diner en Blanc, the White Dinner, in Paris, France, a way of living life to the fullest (Photo © Meredith Mullins)

Celebrating 25 years of no rain at the 2013 Dîner en Blanc in Paris
© Meredith Mullins

Live Life to the Fullest . . . with Style

Sshh! It’s a secret. The magical mystery of the Dîner en Blanc—The Dinner in White.

OK. It’s not exactly a secret, since more than 12,000 members of this “elite” club already have it on their calendar.

Thursday evening, June 12.

The invitées know they will arrive (somewhere) at precisely 9:30 pm. They know they will bring champagne, fine wine, crystal, and china.

They know they will cover the tables with white linen, punctuated with silver candelabras. They know they will bring gourmet dinner courses worthy of the sumptuous history of French cuisine.

Dîner en Blanc crowd in front of Louvre, a way to live life to the fullest (Photo © Meredith Mullins)

Elegance is the spirit of the evening at the Dîner en Blanc.
© Meredith Mullins

They also know that the key word is elegance. They will dress in Gatsby white, as if going to a summer garden party, a cricket match at Downton Abbey, or a Truman Capote cocktail.

What they don’t know, yet, is where they will be going.

The Secret Location

Each year, the dining place remains a secret until a few minutes before the start of the event. Emails and texts fly, announcing the secret location.

Founder François Pasquier vows to surprise the group with a venue each year even more interesting than the previous year.

Man in white headgear at the Dîner en Blanc, a way to live life to the fullest (Photo © Meredith Mullins)

Can “The Great Carnac” predict where the next dinner will be?
© Meredith Mullins

That challenge becomes difficult, as the Dîner en Blanc is now in its 26th year.

They’ve converged on the Bois de Boulogne, Pont des Arts, Invalides, Versailles, Place Vendôme, Place de la Concorde, Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, and Place des Vosges, to name just a few of the beautiful and historic venues.

To add to the challenge, the crowd grows larger each year, so the number of open spaces the group can commandeer (no permits or permissions are sought) is limited.

A Dîner en Blanc violinist at the Louvre in Paris, a way to live life to the fullest (Photo © Meredith Mullins)

Spontaneous music in the courtyard of the Louvre, 2013 Dîner en Blanc
© Meredith Mullins

In 2013, for the first time, the dinner was hosted in two places simultaneously—Trocadero and the courtyard of the Louvre—each overflowing with thousands and thousands of white-clad celebrants.

A Gathering of Friends

Even though the group is large, the spirit is intimate. This is a gathering of friends.

At the end of the evening when they raise their sparklers and set free the floating lanterns into the Paris sky, they light up the night in the name of friendship and the wonderful human desire to live life to the fullest.

Sparklers at the Dîner en Blanc at the Louvre, a way to live life to the fullest. (Photo © Meredith Mullins)

At the end of the evening, the revelers light up the Paris night sky.
© Meredith Mullins

Vive Le Dîner en Blanc!

Oh, I See

The weather forecast looks good for this year. Although there will be no “Oh, I see” moment until the elegant white flash mob appears out of nowhere, can you guess where the dinner will be held? Vote below.


Come back on Friday to see who was right.

For more information, visit Dîner en Blanc.

The documentary about Dîner en Blanc will screen at the American Library on Wednesday, June 11, with discussion by the founder of the event, François Pasquier.

Comment on this post below, or inspire insight with your own OIC Moment here.  



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