Diner en Blanc DC…a Paris tradition in America’s capital

Just a quick post about last night’s first ever Diner en Blanc in Washington, DC.  A flash mob dinner event that first came about in none other than our beloved Paris, 1988 to be exact! It’s traveled across the globe and found it’s way to DC, just when we did!  What a coincidence, no?

Dressed in complete white from head to toe, the Chef and I received some pretty puzzling looks while boarding the metro in our residential neighborhood yesterday to meet our group at the Dupont Circle metro entrance (attendees had meeting locations all over DC).  Even more puzzling to onlookers were the table, 2 chairs and a picnic basket dangling from the Chef’s right and left shoulders.   As we walked down the street we were congratulated by one passerby.  I guess he thought we were getting married…what would make him think that?  😉  Others thought we were protesting for peace.  That’s exactly what the world needs about now.

Diner en Blanc DC


The instructions were clear: be dressed in white (preferable elegantly dressed), bring a table, 2 chairs, white table cloth, 2 white napkins, 3 course dinner with bread and drinks (but no booze), table decorations, LED candles and your invite.  If you violated any of that, you would either not be permitted entrance, or kicked off the list for the following year.  Attendees were invited or selected from a waiting list.

We got lucky with our invite, or possibly it was a little of that Parisian fairy dust left on me from my trip in July.  😉

Actually our Paris fairy came in the form of a fun, macaron-loving French blogger named Laetitia.  She’s a Parisian who is now a Washingtonian, who describes herself as the “unofficial ambassador of French culture” here in DC and writes the blog, French Twist DC.    I’ve been following her blog since 2011, before we moved to Paris! How ironic we would actually come to live in the same city???   

So the location–not a clue!  I was seriously hoping the White House lawn.  😉  Though I guess there isn’t a fairy around with enough dust for that these days.

Not even after hoofing it  about a mile underground in the metro during RUSH HOUR with about 1500 other white dressed dinner party attendees, were we allowed to know.  I think we either really upset the commuters trying to get home or left them dumbfounded…I’m thinking most had mixed feelings, others wondered why they didn’t get the memo.

Since the Chef and I are newbies to DC, it  really didn’t matter where we were going….it’s all new either way.  After what seemed like 5 metro stops and 10 transfers, our group leader signaled we would exit at the Naval Yard stop.  Our venue…Yards Park, the waterfront area of D.C.’s up and coming Navy Yard neighborhood.

Diner en Blanc Metro ride

The photo is the worst quality, sorry for that. It was either take it really fast or risk getting lost from our group. I wasn’t up for getting lost.

As we meandered our way among those already there who were setting up their Instagrammed inspired table decor, the Chef was exhausted and begging for the wine to found (due to DC laws, etc. we had to purchase wine before hand from the Diner en Blanc organization).  So while I found the wine, he set up the table and got the mandatory gourmet dinner arranged, his area of expertise no doubt! Of course I brought along an Eiffel…duh!

Diner en Blanc DC 2014

A tribute to where it all started…Paris.

salad of grapefruit and avocado

salad of grapefruit and avocado

Diner en Blanc DC

As the sun lowered behind the Anacosita river, the wine was poured  and great conversation with our neighbors to the left and to the right began to flow.  It’s truly amazing how real life connections with total strangers can be made at a table set with excellent food and surrounded by joyful energy (something we plan for our Traveling Pear farm/BnB later in life).  A part of me wanted to continuously snap photos with both the Canon and my cell phone, and the other half just wanted to take it all in, like the Parisians of 1988 most certainly did.  There were enough Instagrammers, Facebookers, Tweeters and whatever else there is to socialize with via the airwaves going on all around me.  I was caught in between…the Chef, well he’s more old school, and therefore sat back, like the gentleman to his left, and took the whole spectacle in while sipping his glass of Sancerre…like the Parisians of 1988.  I’d love to see the photos of that first dinner.  Wouldn’t you?

Diner en Blanc napkin waving

the signaling of the start of diner

Diner en Blanc DC


Diner en Blanc DC




Just like the first ball at Versailles in the summer of 2011, this too will go down on the list of The Traveling Pear’s adventures.  As for now, the Chef said he’d like to take a break from playing dress-up…that is until the next soirée I’ll find to get us into.   🙂

Diner en Blanc DC

So have you done the Diner en Blanc before?  If so, where…and please don’t say Paris circa 1988.  Though, I would be very intrigued.

4 thoughts on “Diner en Blanc DC…a Paris tradition in America’s capital

  1. It seems we were seated not far from one another, alas, I don’t believe we met, although the lovely Laetitia is our common connection! Lovely write up and photos. I too was torn between taking it all in and documenting the occasion, but would love to know what that first DeB in Paris was like as well!



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