Diner en Blanc Celebrates its 25th Anniversary
Launched by François Pasquier and his close friends 25 years ago, Paris’ Dîner en Blanc now brings together over 10,000 people each year in some of the most prestigious locations throughout the French capital.
In the summer of 1988, Pasquier had just returned to Paris after a few years abroad and held a dinner party to reconnect with friends. So many wished to attend that he asked them to convene at Bois de Boulogne dressed in white, so as to be recognizable to one another. Each attendee was also asked to bring a friend. The evening was such a hit that guests wanted more friends to join-in the following year and thus was born the concept of Dîner en Blanc.
In June 1991, four years after the event’s debut, the founding group of friends decided to organize their Dîner in one of the French capital’s most beautiful locations, Pont des Arts, in the heart of Paris (a first). Knowing fully well that local authorities would never allow such an event to take place there, keeping the location a secret until the very last minute was crucial to the success of the event.
Following in his François Pasquier’s footsteps, one of his sons, Aymeric Pasquier, moved to Montreal and kept the family tradition going when he came together with friends to hold the first Dîner en Blanc® in August of 2009. In 2011, Aymeric partnered-up with Sandy Safi to launch the first American Dîner en Blanc in New York. The United States held its first Dîner en Blanc® in New York on August 25th, 2011. That evening, 1,200 diners (selected from over 30,000 hopefuls) celebrated outdoors at a yet-to-be-disclosed location amid live music and dancing, with festive white balloons and sparklers. Guests, dressed in elegant white, brought their own epicurean feasts, tables, chairs, glasses, silver and white napery.
Aymeric Pasquier and Sandy Safi then came together to create Dîner en Bland International, a Dîner en Blanc® organization that would promote the history and philosophy of this event through hosts worldwide, and create an international network of diners and Dîner en Blanc® enthusiasts. With over a dozen cities having joined the Dîner en Blanc® family in 2012, what began (and remains in Paris) as a “friends and word-of-mouth only” event has grown into an international epicurean phenomenon across five continents.
Though the technology behind the event may have changed over the years, the principles fuelling this fantastic event have not; diners continue to gather at a secret location with the sole purpose of sharing a high-quality meal with good friends at the heart of one of the city’s most beautiful locations. Dîner en Blanc International, based in Montreal, is responsible for developing this secret posh picnic in nearly 40 cities by the end of 2013.
Each event is headed by passionate local organisers whom fell in love with the concept and wanted to bring it to their city and add their local flair, yet respecting the event’s core values all the while.
By 2014, the Diner en Blanc worldwide members will be linked within our software. Members will be able to register for their city’s event and to any city in the world! With over 100 000 members across the world, a new social network is starting to flourish, uniting people of varied ethnic and social backgrounds, all sharing a common taste for delightful and beautiful things.
Happy anniversary and best wishes to Diner en Blanc and all of its friends!
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