In Pandemic-Era Paris, An Investigation of Illicit Luxury Dinner Parties

A television report sparks controversy

Is Paris currently home to illicit dinner parties?

If you’re a fan of large social gatherings, the pandemic has likely not been the greatest stretch of time for you. Not long after countries began locking down to prevent spread of COVID-19 came news of, for lack of a better phrase, pandemic speakeasies. And while Prohibition nostalgia is most definitely a thing, speakeasies in the 1920s generally didn’t hold the risk of becoming superspreader events. Even so, the last year has abounded with people looking for ways to hold large social events, even if those events weren’t actually legal.

The latest dispatch on unlawful social events comes from across the Atlantic, where Parisian police are currently investigating a series of secret, illicit dinner parties.

A report from the BBC cites a new undercover report from the French network M6, described as “caviar, champagne, top chefs’ menus and no masks allowed.” The network’s reporter accessed a secret dining club via a residential block and was told by a waiter, “[O]nce you enter here there’s no more COVID.”

The report covers multiple dinner parties, all of which had a hefty price tag for attendees. Footage from one also featured cheek-kissing, which is generally frowned upon outside of one’s household during the pandemic. “[T]his week I dined at two or three restaurants — so-called clandestine restaurants — with some ministers,” one attendee said. If that’s true, one suspects law enforcement will have their hands full with this case.

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