Prix de Diane Longines
What : Prix de Diane Longines (horse race)
When : Mid-June
Where : Hippodrome de Chantilly (racetrack)
Cost : 10€ / person for basic entry (if you buy them online). You have bring your own food/drinks/picnic blankets or you can buy food & drinks at the race track.
If you want to attend a fancy yet laid back event near Paris, this is the one! Think 'Kentucky derby meets France' with a backdrop of the draw-dropping chateau de Chantilly in the distance. Only 20 minutes from Gare du Nord, it's an easy trip from the city to feel like you're truly in the countryside.
Tradition calls for the ladies to wear fancy or creative hats, and the men, summer sports jackets. Basic entry allows you to picnic in the middle of the race track on the soft grass! Keep in mind, there are no trees there, so you will be out in the middle of the sun - wear sunscreen if you do not want to burn like we did. When we arrived with our group of friends, I was pleasantly surprised to see one of my favorite singers performing (Clara Luciani!). The 10 euros was worth it just for seeing her.
We placed our picnic blankets on the grass, and immediately dug into the variety of cheese, charcuterie, fruit, salad, nuts, and wine that we brought (which, by the way, costs a fraction of what you would pay in the US for close to the same thing!). Then the races eventually started and some of the people in our group got really into it, even placing bets on a few horses, albeit only a couple of euros.
In between races, you can float around to the food stalls or observe the small shows going on in the field. There was one stage where a group of women were competing for best hat/outfit of the event. Honestly, some of them were incredible (like the one in my picture collage to the left. She had a hat like a ship!). Thankfully someone had enough sense to add icecream stands, so we of course had to oblige.
All in all, this is a great summer event if you are coming into town and wanting to try something different and new! Not to mention, it is very cheap for what you are actually getting:
Online tickets (includes free concert, horse races, and entertainment = 10€ + Picnic food = 10€/person + Round trip train from Paris = 20€...a grand total of 40€ per person!
A really good deal for a day of fun!