Course des Cafés: Waiters in Paris Compete in Street Race

Paris witnessed the revival of a time-honored tradition as waiters and waitresses took to the streets in a spirited display of athleticism and camaraderie. The Course des Cafés, a historic race dating back to 1914 made a return after a hiatus of over a decade.

Course des Cafés: Waiters in Paris Compete in Street Race

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After a hiatus of over a decade Paris resurrected the Course des Cafés, a race dating back to 1914. The event which had not been held since 2011 due to budget constraints, made a return attracting around 200 participants.

The race saw both men and women competing for the title of the fastest server in town. Samy Lamrous won in the men’s category with a time of 13 minutes 30 seconds, while Pauline Van Wymeersch emerged as the top waitress completing the course in 14 minutes 12 seconds.

The 2-kilometer (1.24 miles) race commenced at Paris City Hall, winding its way through the Marais district known for its picturesque streets and vibrant atmosphere. Participants navigated through narrow alleys and bustling thoroughfares.

Participants were required to carry a tray in one hand bearing a coffee, croissant, and glass of water. Running was prohibited, and spillage incurred penalties.

The event showcased the athleticism of Parisian servers but also celebrated the rich café culture ingrained in the city’s heritage.

Paris with its myriad cafes and bistros serves as a social hub where locals and tourists alike gather to savor culinary delights and engage in lively conversations.

Winners were rewarded with medals and coveted prizes, including a night’s stay in a luxurious hotel. Top finishers received tickets to the opening ceremony of the Paris Olympics.

The revival of the Café Race was made possible through the support of sponsors, the city’s water authority Eau de Paris, which provided essential funding for the event.

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Such initiatives promote local traditions but also highlight the importance of sustainable practices such as reducing plastic consumption by serving tap water.

Parisian cafes are more than just culinary establishments, they embody the essence of French culture and hospitality.

With over 15,000 cafes and restaurants, Paris pulsates with the rhythm of café life, where stories are shared, friendships forged, and memories created.

On a Sunday morning approximately 200 servers, adorned in traditional aprons and white shirts, gathered in the Marais district, near City Hall, to participate in the event.

With a round tray balanced in one hand, bearing the classic French breakfast fare of a croissant, coffee, and glass of water, they embarked on a 2-kilometer journey through the labyrinthine streets of Le Marais.

The rules of engagement were deceptively simple yet challenging, participants were prohibited from running, tasked with ensuring that not a crumb nor drop was spilled during the entirety of the race.

An examination awaited them at the finish line, where judges inspected trays to ascertain the integrity of their contents.

In a display of sheer determination and skill, Samy Lamrous emerged victorious in the men’s category, crossing the finish line with a commendable time of 13 minutes and 30 seconds.

Pauline Van Wymeersch claimed the title of the fastest waitress, completing the course in 14 minutes and 12 seconds.

Participants were for prestigious prizes, including medals and a night’s stay in a luxurious hotel. Additionally, top finishers earned coveted tickets to the opening ceremony of the Paris Olympics.

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