Promoting Olympic spirit: Parisian ‘Waiter Race’ returns after 13-year hiatus

Promoting Olympic spirit: Parisian 'Waiter Race' returns after 13-year hiatus.

Promoting Olympic spirit: Parisian 'Waiter Race' returns after 13-year hiatus. Image: hipparis / Instagram.

Waiters and waitresses have raced through the streets of the French capital for the first time in 13 years.

Balancing a tray with a croissant, coffee cup, and glass of water, the fastest competitors from Paris’ cafes and bistros took to the start line on Sunday, March 24.

The 110-year-old event was held for the first time after a 13-year hiatus and is being used to promote this summer’s Olympics held in the city.

It took place along the streets of the historic Marais district, in a loop starting and finishing at Town Hall.

Around 200 participants, dressed in their uniforms, loaded up their trays with a regulation pastry, a small but empty coffee cup, and a full glass of water.

At the end of the race, they were judged on how much liquid they had spilt as well as their time.

The “waiters’ race” in Paris, also called the “Course des Garçons de Café” in French, has been a tradition since the early 20th century.

It began as a fun and competitive event among waiters and waitresses in cafes and restaurants across Paris.

The exact origins of the race are a bit unclear, but it’s believed to have started around the 1920s or 1930s.

Some stories say it was organised by cafe owners to draw in more customers, while others suggest it was simply a friendly competition among waitstaff to show off their skills and speed.

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Anna Ellis

Originally from Derbyshire, Anna has lived in the middle of nowhere on the Costa Blanca for 19 years. She is passionate about her animal family including four dogs and four horses, musicals and cooking.