France’s annual Dîner en Blanc still a secret

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France’s annual Dîner en Blanc still a secret

West Palm Beach Diner en Blanc performing the tradition of napkin waving.

West Palm Beach Diner en Blanc performing the tradition of napkin waving.

Palm Beach Post

West Palm Beach Diner en Blanc performing the tradition of napkin waving.

Palm Beach Post

Palm Beach Post

West Palm Beach Diner en Blanc performing the tradition of napkin waving.

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The invitations have been sent out for this year’s Dîner en Blanc in France. Different from most events, the location of the elaborate dinner is secret until the last minute.

Nearly 30 years ago, François Pasquier and a handful of friends launched Le Dîner en Blanc de Paris which now assembles over 10,000 guests every year.

To participate in this event, guests must be members or be sponsored by a member from the previous year, or they must sign up to the official website’s waiting list.

Over the years, the French capitol’s most prestigious sites have hosted the event: The Pont des Arts, the Eiffel Tower, Place Vendôme, the Château de Versailles and the Palais Royal Garden.

Each guest’s participation in the event becomes mandatory, regardless of weather conditions, as Dîner en Blanc is a rain or shine event. Participants arrive and depart in unison by chartered bus or organized public transportation.

Participants must wear white and be dressed elegantly. Originality is always encouraged as long as it stays stylish and denotes taste. At the end of the dinner guests take home all of their belongings with them, including leftovers and trash, and they leave the site as clean as it was upon arrival.

Must-bring items to the dinner include:  a table, two white chairs, a picnic basket including a white tablecloth and napkins, gourmet meal items, cutlery, dishware and glassware. Wine or champagne is allowed at times, but beer and hard alcohol are prohibited.

Jupiter High’s National French and Spanish Honor Societies hosted their own Dîner en Blanc as the “Soiree en Blanc,” following the same concept. The location was disclosed to the guests, unlike the dinner in France, and tables and chairs were provided. Gift baskets, with contents ranging from Starbucks gift cards to movie tickets to paddleboarding lessons, were auctioned off to attendees who paid for a ticket.