Legendary waiters’ race returns to Paris

After more than a decade of inactivity.

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The garçons, or waiters of Paris, are back on the streets of the French capital as it prepares to host the 2024 Summer Olympics and Paralympics.

On Sunday, the legendary contest was revived after a 13-year hiatus, with contestants running around the city with trays laden with croissants and coffees, in a bid to reclaim the powerful café and bistro culture as a real meeting place for Parisians.

Paris revived this tradition, bringing together a cast of 200 waiters and waitresses from restaurants and cafés in a single 2.5 km race. The rules were clear: no running, and arrive at the finish line with the trays intact with a croissant, a glass of tap water and a cup of coffee. No spilling was allowed.

They were all classically dressed in black trousers or skirt, apron and white top, maintaining the elegance and methodism that had been established since the origins of the “Course des Garçons de Café“, which was first launched in 1914 to highlight the cafés and restaurants of the French capital.

In the end, Pauline Van Wymeersch of Café le Petit Pont and Samy Lamrous of La Contrescarpe were crowned the fastest in this updated edition, winning tickets to the opening ceremony of this summer’s Olympic Games – and, of course, the respect of Parisian society.