Tag Archives: Paris events

Dîner en Blanc: A Secret Dinner Soirée in Paris

Diner en Blanc 3
Last Thursday, Rio and I got to experience one of the most interesting nights we’ve had in Paris: Dîner en Blanc.

Thanks to our friend Stacy of L’Amour de Paris, we joined approximately 13,000 other guests for this pop-up, invitation-only dinner on Pont Alexandre III. For the past 26 years, thousands of people who are dressed exclusively in white meet up at a secret location and set up rows upon rows of tables complete with flowers, candles, and even candelabras for a chic soirée.

Diner en Blanc

Diner en Blanc
Here are some must-knows about Dîner en Blanc:

  • Want an invite? You have to be invited by a friend who attended the previous year. Those friends must have been invited by a friend (or a friend of a friend) of one of the original organizers. There are actual designated rows that are accounted for the number of people, so there is no crashing this pseudo-flash mob.
  • Around 8pm, your group converges on a designated location that’s around where the dinner will take place. We didn’t find out what our designated location was going to be until around 4:30pm. And then at approximately 8:45pm when we were all together and ready to go, we received a final text letting us know where the actual dinner was going to be.
  • Dîner en Blanc takes place from approximately 9pm to midnight, complete with DJ post-dinner and sparklers at 11pm.
  • Everything must be white! I’m not just talking about your outfit, but your table, chairs, table linen, plates, etc. must all be white. There are a few exceptions (i.e. shoes), but for the most part, this is a sea of white.
  • Not all 13,000 of us dined and partied on Pont Alexandre III…because well, we wouldn’t all fit. So the event took place across six bridges (I think we got the best one) and the grassy area by les Invalides.
  • Technically, Dîner en Blanc is illegal. If you have a group of more than 30 getting together in a public space, you’re supposed to have a permit. Luckily, the Parisian police turn an eye on this since no one gets too rowdy, we all clean up after ourselves, and it just adds to the beauty of Paris, non? (Can you imagine the police force in NYC letting us get away with this?! Ha – je crois que non.)
  • Speaking of cleanup, oui, once the clock strikes midnight, you are all expected to quickly pack up, throw away your garbage, and get the heck on out of there.

Want to know more about Dîner en Blanc? Here’s the official Facebook pagemore information with photos from one of our fellow table attendees, and more pics (spot us in the last pic), and more pics (again in one of the photos!), and more pics.

Diner en Blanc 2
Chef Justin came with a propane tank to sear chicken he sous-vided the day before, Jason entertains us with his ukelele (or is it a banjo?) and the night begins!

Diner en Blanc

Diner en Blanc

Photo Courtesy of Pictours Paris

Photo Courtesy of Pictours Paris

Photo Courtesy of Pictours Paris

Photo Courtesy of Pictours Paris

Diner en Blanc

Photos Courtesy of Pictours Paris

Diner en Blanc

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Bastille Day in Paris

Bastille Day Poster - 2013
Sunday, July 14 is Bastille Day, which means fireworks at the Eiffel Tower and another round of festive picnicking on the Champs de Mars.

Here’s a roundup of some of the most popular and traditional Bastille Day festivities in Paris:

Fireman’s Ball: Single and looking to score a Frenchie fireman? Pick a number. All throughout Paris, the firehouses open on July 13 and 14 from 9pm to 4am so you can hook up party with French firemen. I’ve actually never done this, but I hear it’s quite the scene. I also heard that the firemen in the 17th arrondissement are supposed to be one of the hottest. I can attest to that as I see them running in Parc Monceau every morning. Some of the fire stations have an entrance fee or accepts donations.

Champs-Élysées Military Parade: Around 9am on the 14th, the French military will be stationed at Place de l’Étoile/Champs-Élysées in preparation for their march down “les Champs” (as Parisians call it) around 10am.  That’s when the troops will be joined by President Hollande for the opening event, air show and parade. 10am too early to get your act together to head there? You can just watch it on TV. Based on last year’s (televised) experience – the parade does not start on time.
Louvre
The Louvre For Free: In the more than one year I’ve been living in Paris, I’ve only been to the Louvre once. That one time was on Bastille Day because I had friends in town and it’s always free on this day. To say I’m not a museum person is an understatement. So if you’re like me and don’t want to pay for the Louvre but feel obliged to go, or you’re really into the Louvre and going for free the first Sunday of every month isn’t enough for you, then Bastille Day is the day to do so.

Bastille Day 2012 - Soldiers
Meet the Soldiers:
After the Champs-Élysees military parade, the troops are dispatched throughout Paris (Place de la Nation, Place de l’Opéra, etc.) to “greet” the public and chat with them about their jobs, and the public can in turn meet the soldiers who defend their country. Last year, we came across the soldiers at Esplanade des Invalides and got to climb into a tank and take a photo with one of the soldiers.

Pre-Fireworks Concert: From 9:30pm to 11pm on the 14th, there will be a classical concert performed by the French National Orchestra and the Radio France Choir at the foot of the Eiffel Tower on Champs de Mars.The theme is “L’Amour à Paris”.
Bastile Day Fireworks
Bastille Day Fireworks: 
The fireworks display at Trocadéro is the highlight of Bastille Day. Beginning around 11pm and lasting approximately 30 minutes, you can best see the fireworks from the Champs de Mars (where I go) and Trocadéro. Last year’s theme was disco with fireworks going off to the tunes of songs like YMCA and It’s Raining Men. This year, it’ll be “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité…what that means in terms of music, I have no idea! I arrived around 8pm last year and watched as the sun set, the Eiffel Tower began to glow and the fireworks commenced.

Looking for Bastille Day tips? Here’s a link to a post I did last year.
Want more Bastille Day festivities? Here’s a link to more Bastille Day events going on in Paris (en français).

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