Picnicking the French Way: Dîner en Blanc

I recently stumbled upon a delectable social phenomenon that intrigues me. Twenty-four years ago, "Dîner en Blanc" was launched in Paris.  Of course, the pleasure-loving French developed this most lovely of dining concepts.  
At the very last minute before the event, a secret location is revealed for a picnic en masse.  Then, thousands of food-lovers and wine-lovers and just regular old lovers descend on the picnic spot dressed entirely en blanc, in white. But, my cheries, this is no mere salad of pommes de terre kind of picnic.  Dîner en Blanc has very specific rules to create an ambiance conducive to the most chic and civilized of outdoor dining experiences, one in which even Marie Antoinette would delight.

According to the Dîner en Blanc website
Le Dîner en Blanc® is quite different from other special events. The evening takes place in a public place which was not designed for such a purpose and is often crowded. It must necessarily be very controlled in order for future editions to be held.
  • Seats are allotted on-site in a very specific manner.
  • In order to participate, one must be invited by a participant from the previous year or get on the official website's waiting list.
  • Once confirmed, the presence of each guest thus becomes mandatory, regardless of weather conditions, as the event is held regardless of weather conditions.
  • Colour of attire and table setting: white only.
  • Table seating is symmetrical with men seated on one side and women on the other.
  • Participants arrive and depart at the same time by chartered bus or organized public transportation.
  • Depart with one's belongings, leftovers and trash, leaving the place as clean as it was upon arrival.

What must guests bring?

  • A table, two (white) chairs.
  • A picnic basket comprised of quality menu items and a china dinner service including proper stemware and flatware.
  • Wine or Champagne, if allowed. Beer and hard alcohol is prohibited.
  • Participants must wear white and be dressed elegantly.
  • Originality is encouraged as long as it stays stylish and denotes taste.
What a most magical idea?  A gourmet meal outside with friends.  The best wine sipped from crystal glasses.  An evening lit with sparklers.  An impromptu dance party.  All the best petits plaisirs on a late summer night.  How magnifique!
All images borrowed from Dîner en Blanc


  1. Ma Chere,

    A summer diner en blanc is wonderfully imaginative. It brings to mind the outdoor diners Marie Antoinette would have in her orangerie. Can you imagine the divine scent of orange blossoms as one dines tout en blanc?

  2. Pink Frenchie,

    Your blog is my afternoon break.
    Thank you for letting me entertain such a beautiful dinner tout en blanc.


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