Waiters’ Race @ Reims part5

The race of the race was fast approaching. All the qualifying heats were over, and through them, the final six were chosen.

The finalists were warming themselves up and steadying their nerve…


Then, they lined themselves up at a starting line…


However, a mishap happened. Could this be some sort of omen? What kind of race will this be, we wondered…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Waiters’ Race @ Reims part4

The competition was getting more serious as the qualifying progressed. The race was no longer a display of happy comradeship between the fellow garçons but naked personal ambition between the men / women with trays and aprons.

Behold the dead heat!

They were almost on the verge of trotting just before crossing a (imaginary) finishing line. We weren’t sure which one came first in the end because it was such a close finish…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Waiters’ Race @ Reims part3

What do you call his behaviour other than simply showing off? One of the competitors became a bit too cocky at the end of one of qualifying feat…

Aren’t you a bit too sure of yourself? Let’s hope the victory won’t be snatched away from under his nose…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Waiters’ Race @ Reims part2

After watching the race near the south end of La Place Drouet-d’Erlon for a while, mum and I decided to move closer to the start of the race.

Now, we were on the halfway line of the racecourse…

There was no seating for mum but the new place offered a much better view…

The waiters’ race, le course des garçons de café, was originated from Paris, France, and the first race was held at the beginning of the 20th century. The idea behind the event was to promote the recognition of the waiter profession in Paris.
The principal rule of the competition is to carry a tray laden with a bottle of water and a few glasses while racing as fast as possible without spilling its contents on the tray. Another rule is the participants are not allowed to run. The reason behind it is because waiters never run during their service, therefore, they are only allowed fast-walking.

See, they are walking, not running…

The pace of their walk was steady and the trays seemed to be glued to their palms.

However, there was always an exception. This guy was not particularly in a hurry, was he?

He was more interested in posing for a local newspaper photographer!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Waiters’ Race @ Reims part1

‘Re-bonjour, Reims!’ We greeted the city like our old acquaintance as our car slipped away from A344 and entered the city centre.

The city centre was very quiet because it was Sunday. However during we were checking in to a hotel, the receptionist informed us that there was some event happening on nearby Place Drouet d’Erlon.

So what is going on…? OMG!!

Course des garçons de café – waiters’ race!!

I had seen a similar race in Paris ages ago and I was amazed by their professionalism and athleticism.

So let see what Reims’ waitors can deliver…​

One of the locals kindly placed plastic chairs for us by the temporary barriers and we could watch a qualifying heat in style.

It was a hot day and a dog was cooling down in the shade…

Poor you. Wearing a fur coat in the summer isn’t easy, is it?

Place Drouet d’Erlon in which the race was held was a pedestrianized street in the heart of Reims. The thoroughfare was laden with various bars and restaurants and probably the liveliest part of the city…

The waiters’ race started at the north end of Place Drouet d’Erlon and the participants were to hurry down southward, making a beeline to la Fontaine Subé, a famous landmark of the city which stood at the junction of Rue Buirette and Place Drouet d’Erlon.

Once reaching to la Fontaine Subé, the contestants were to circle around the monument and to dash back northward, using the east side of the wide street…​

The public of Reims also had a go at the race…​


Bon courage!’ “Allez!’

We wondered how many had survived navigating the long cobbled street without spilling the contents on the trays. Carrying a tray while walking a long distance didn’t look easy nor fun for me.

If the inevitable happens, you are out, like him…


The race report will continue. So watch this space…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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