200 Paris Waiters Compete In Race With Trays In Hand

About 200 men and women took part in the race.

People in Paris were treated on Sunday to the sight of hundreds of aproned waiters surging through the mediaeval streets, in a one-of-a-kind race designed to show off the profession months ahead of the Olympic Games. According to New York Times (NYT), the race took place for the first time in over a decade. About 200 men and women took part in the event, jogging 1.2 miles (about 2 km) through the streets lined with cheering crowd, the outlet further said.

The rules of the race said participants must avoid running, and reach the finish line with laden trays intact with croissant, a glass of water and coffee cup.

The waiters’ race was last held in 2012 and stopped after that because of lack of funding. But this year, officials found an opportunity to showcase the event ahead of the Summer Olympics, scheduled to be held in July.

“When foreigners come to Paris, they don’t just come for the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. They also come to eat in our cafes, at the Bouillon Chartier, the Brasserie Lipp or the Procope,” Nicolas Bonnet-Oulaldj, the deputy mayor in charge of commerce, told NYT.

The participants had to ensure that the trays remained intact.

The participants had to ensure that the trays remained intact.
Photo Credit: AFP

Paris has more than 15,000 bars, cafes and restaurants and the sector sustained even during the pandemic and concerns over inflation and worker shortages.

“It’s a French way of life, and a Parisian way of life,” Mr Bonnet-Oulaldj said.

Once the race started, participants experienced calamities. Water spilled, cups fell and CNN quoted one contestant as saying, “I can’t feel my fingers!”

Thousands of Parisians braved early spring chill to watch the return of the event.

The “Course des Garcons de Cafe” (cafe waiters race) was first launched in 1914 to highlight the cafes and restaurants of the French capital, French historian Laurent Bihl told CNN.

Throughout the years, it found popularity not only in Paris but across France in cities such as Nice, Belfort and Calais.

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