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AP Photos/Philippe Charlot

The ‘Company of Strangers’ was a featured Jellyhaus blog on 20th March – all about community dining.  How brilliant to catch up with this subject from the beautiful Place de la Concorde in Paris, where on Thursday 11th June, a glam flashmob of 5000 strong all dressed in white invaded the square for a surprise sit-down dinner.

Within minutes of arriving at the square at the bottom end of the Champs Elysees, the crowd dressed head to toe in white had set up tables, chairs, candelbras and china plates for an elegant open air meal washed down with wine and champagne.

“We do this for a laugh every year in June, and always on a Thursday,” said Nicolas Godard, adding that the location was text to participants at the last moment.

“It’s an elegant rendezvous aimed at enjoying French art de vivre”, said another diner named Helene.

The site of the annual dinner in white is kept secret from the Paris authorities, and the invited participants are only told where they are going when they board the coaches at various meeting points in the suburbs earlier in the evening.

The event is very reminiscent of US-style flash mobs, where hundreds of people descend on one area at a specific time, summoned by SMS text message, gsm phone call or email.  The Hotel de Crillon is seen in the background.

The organisation “is very military, armed with rubbish-bags, they clean up at midnight and leave everything spotless, as if no-one had ever been there.”