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20,000 People Expected For Biggest Diner en Blanc Event In Paris

Diner en Blanc will fete its 30th year of bringing thousands of people together in what could be described as the original flash mob and pop-up concept.

AFP Relaxnews

Updated:May 30, 2018, 1:52 PM IST
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20,000 People Expected For Biggest Diner en Blanc Event In Paris
Diner en Blanc at Trocadéro, 2013 (Image: AFP Relaxnews)
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On Sunday night, at an undisclosed location, a curious phenomenon will take place for the 30th year: an army of beautiful people, all dressed in white, will turn an iconic space in Paris into an impromptu outdoor picnic. Only this year, the guest list is its biggest and most international yet, with 20,000 people from around the world participating in the exclusive event.

It's a milestone anniversary: Diner en Blanc will fete its 30th year of bringing thousands of people together in what could be described as the original flash mob and pop-up concept.

Unlike years past, however, in which the Paris guest list is a tightly guarded, invitation-only group of participants -- there is no waiting list -- this year organizers have exceptionally opened the Parisian edition to international guests.

Of the 20,000 participants who RSVP'd this year, 5,000 people representing 35 nationalities will be flying in from around the world this year.

Diner en Blanc is a tradition that dates back to 1988, when Frenchman Francois Pasquier hosted a picnic in the park and asked his 200 friends to dress in white so they could spot each other immediately.

Today, the concept has become an international franchise headquartered in Montreal by son Aymeric, that has expanded to 80 international cities from New York, to Dubai, Singapore to Toronto and Sydney to Kuala Lumpur.

"The foundation of the Diner en Blanc has not changed: a meeting of friends," said Francois in a statement.

"Over the years, however, we have made it more elegant, with a white dress code, to make the event more spectacular."

Past editions in the French capital have included some of the city's most iconic landmarks including the Trocadéro with a full view of the Eiffel Tower; Notre-Dame de Paris; Place Concorde; the Louvre; and the bridges of Paris.

The location is kept top secret until about 30 minutes before the start of the event, when participants receive SMS messages.

With impressive choreography, guests descend on the location and set up dining tables with military precision, topping their dinner table with bouquets of fresh flowers, ornate candelabras, gold-gilded plates and silverware.

Local police, meanwhile, turn a blind eye to the event, in part because of strict rules imposed by organizers: as quickly as the dinner is set up, guests must likewise dismantle the site by midnight, taking their garbage with them and leaving no trace that they were ever there.

Last year, 110,000 people participated in a Diner en Blanc event, while 600,000 people were on the waitlist.

Diner en Blanc's 30th anniversary party takes place June 3 at an undisclosed location in Paris.

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