Parisian March Madness: La Course des Cafés

   884    4
Parisian March Madness: La Course des Cafés
An intrepid band of spirited servers from Paris cafés and bistrots took to the streets last Sunday morning, through rain and cold (no snow or gloom of night). Some sportscasters called it the best sporting event of the weekend.   The most unique race of the year attracted serveurs and serveuses of all ages. © Meredith Mullins. Crowds of spectators and world media gathered to cheer the unconventional competition and observe the historic moment.  It was March Madness of the Parisian kind — La Course des Cafés — the famous waiter race.  The crowds gathered early at the starting line in the chilly morning air. © Meredith Mullins. More than 200 professional servers, apprentices, and trainees representing the rich cultural heritage of Paris café life entered the historic race to showcase their prowess in one of the essential skills of café work. The art and balance of the tray.  The art and balance of the tray. © Meredith Mullins. Their challenge was to speedwalk through the streets of the Marais while controlling the one-handed carry of a tray topped with a traditional Parisian café breakfast. Each contestant whisked a croissant, cup of coffee, and glass of water through the 2 kilometer (1.2 mile) course, which started and ended at the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall). 

Lead photo credit : La Course des Cafés 2024, © Meredith Mullins.

More in La Course des Cafes, Paris entertainment, Waiter run

Previous Article Life in Paris: Interview with Samuél Lopez-Barrantes
Next Article Book Review: Audrey Hepburn, La Parisienne – ‘That’s The Girl!’

Meredith Mullins is an internationally exhibited fine art photographer and instructor based in Paris. Her work is held in private and museum collections in Europe and the U.S. and can be seen at or in her award-winning book "In A Paris Moment." (If you’re in Paris, a few rare, signed copies are available at Shakespeare and Company and Red Wheelbarrow.) She is a writer for OIC Moments and other travel and education publications.


  • Linda Aylesworth
    2024-03-28 09:53:56
    Linda Aylesworth
    Fabulous article ! Wish I had been there to see this race! 💖💖


    •  Meredith Mullins
      2024-03-31 06:39:30
      Meredith Mullins
      Hi Linda, It really was great fun. And now that the race is back on the radar (and received such widespread coverage), they will hopefully have it every year. Look forward to seeing you next year! All best, Meredith