After weeks of rain, flooding and roof leaks in the City of Light, it was hard to imagine that warm temperatures, sunlight and clear skies would return. And then, as if by magic, just in time for the most magical night in Paris, the clouds passed.
So what evening am I speaking of? The Dîner en Blanc, when sparkling threads of white glide through the streets, all moving toward a magnificent unknown destination. And then they converge, and like a blanket of white settle down for the most elegant picnic on Earth. Picnic baskets, champagne, the finest silver, candles and flowers. All this under a Parisian sky that turns from periwinkle to indigo, illuminated by stars and lanterns and the spark of sparklers.
Can you tell this is my favorite night in Paris? No. It’s my favorite night anywhere! Why? Well, this is as close to time travel as I’m going to get. This evening feels like stepping back in time, into a world where we all dress stylishly for dinner, some wearing hats and gloves, all smiling, laughing, sharing drinks and culinary creations. (These revelers don’t pack sandwiches, but instead roasted chicken, quiche, barbecue, and layer cake. They don’t drink soda, but instead, champagne and rosé. So in addition to being beautiful, this picnic is also delicious!)
With this thought of time travel, I feel as if I might meet Jay Gatsby at the next table... So far, I haven’t met Jay, but I have met many interesting people, some of whom have become friends I look forward to seeing on that same evening a year later.
This year, we settled down to dinner in the opulent Place Vendome, which makes an appearance in my novel Paris, Rue des Martyrs! The Dîner en Blanc was like the latest jewel in this crown-shaped circle of shops and offices. It was an evening set to the rhythm of music, laughter and friendship. (And books: I couldn't resist taking this shot with my latest novel, A Perfumer's Secret.)
And then, as always, the clock strikes midnight, and like thousands of Cinderellas, party-goers gather all traces of their presence and disappear into the night…