A black and white photograph of joggers running on boulevard Sébastopol in the Course des garçons de Café race in Paris.

La Course des garçons de Café (Waiters’ Race) in Paris starts and finishes at the Hôtel de Ville (city hall) annually in late June with as many as 500 participants. The first Francophile waiters’ race is scheduled for April 27. Published in SaddleBag Notes, April 2003.

“April in Paris” party features waiter’s race
April in Paris—it’s much more than a song! For many, it’s a dream come true. For SaddleBrooke Francophiles, it’s another excuse for a party! The second annual “April in Paris” party is scheduled to begin at 5:30 pm, Sunday, April 27, at the home of Bill and Suzanne Brown, 63156 East Flower Road Drive. The Browns’ patio will be transformed (more or less) into a French sidewalk, café and the wide street will be the scene of the first annual Course aux Garçons.

Originated in Paris in 1977, as away of promoting various restaurants, the idea quickly caught on in other French cities, as well as in New York, Washington, DC, Dallas, Cincinnati, Milwaukee and even Ensenada, Mexico. In New York and Cincinnati, the prize has been airline tickets to Paris, while in Dallas the winners receive a trip to New Orleans.

Prizes for the Francophile waiters’ race will be somewhat less lavish and the distance will be substantially less than the eight kilometers covered by Parisian waiters, but the rules will be much the same as in the well-established races. No running, no spilling, no fooling around with the stuff on the tray being carried! All Francophile men (yes, it’s men only, maybe women next year!) are invited to participate. Participants will be responsible for coming up with their own waiters’ garb and name of the restaurant they will represent and each man should bring a tray (a few trays can be provided if needed). Items to be carried on the tray (nothing breakable) will be provided at the event. There will be impartial judges, prizes for the first to finish with all items on the tray intact and for best costume and form, plus a booby prize!

The April in Paris party will also feature wine and sparkling cider, plus the usual spread of sumptuous hors d’œuvres. When Francophile members RSVP to Suzanne and Bill (818-0773), they should indicate whether they intend to bring a hot hors d’œuvre, fruit and cheese, or cake/cookies pastries and also indicate whether the gentleman of the house will participate in the race. Please respond no later than April 20. As usual, participation, will have to be limited to the number the home and patio can accommodate on a first-come basis.

—by Suzanne Brown