Un dimanche à Longchamp

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Red Carpet for all :: First cheers :: Top man :: Maison Michel mouse :: Black and White, Derby style :: The German Lady :: The man, the girl and the chihuahua :: Vantage picnicers :: View :: Shameless toilet selfies :: Family pow wow :: Put a dove on it :: Serious hat man :: Plaid :: "Winner, winner, chicken dinner!" :: Bets on :: The Engineering student :: Japanese pride :: Mr M :: Japanese princess :: Harajuku awesome :: Steampunk perfection :: Two-tone lady :: Horse hair :: Reflections :: Days end

Until four years ago the second Tuesday in November was my second favourite day of the year (the first, in case you wonder, is my birthday - being one of five kids'll do that to you). It is on this day, at 3.15pm, every year, Australia's most famous horse race is run in Melbourne. It is simply called the 'Melbourne Cup', and between turning 18 years of age, the legal drinking age Down Under, and moving to France, I never worked on this most holiest of equestrian days, despite the day not being a public holiday in NSW where I lived; I would be either be luncheoning, holed up in a TAB with tickets in my hand, staring at a TV monitor, or on one occasion, actually at Flemington in Melbourne, appropriately chapeau-ed, reveling in all things Race Day.

On this side if the world, the Qatar Prix du l'Arc de Triomphe has replaced "the race that stops the nation" as a yearly highlight. Attending the races with a bunch of friends, hat or fascinator on your head, chilled champagne in front of you and a purse full of cash to loose on horses picked by the jockey's colours is, to me, is ridiculous fun - don't think for a minute that after years of watching these magnificent fillies run I've learnt a thing or two… No, my advice, look for the smartest dressed, elder Englishman and ask him who he's putting his bet on, eight times out of 10 his answer will be "My mate's horse".
Since attending the last few years I have noticed more and more English spoken in the tribunes as more and more Poms cross the channel for the weekend, and as such the fashions have become more and more race like - I'll never forget my horror at seeing a local couple on the free navette, that takes you into the Bois de Boulonge from the metro, attend in jeans my first year at Longchamp.
Oh, and it's at Longchamp! That's all I need to say about that. 

Tradition has it that I make my hat every year. The grand plans I had for my tropical-themed hat this year went awry when the shop I planned on purchasing my tribal-print dress from was closed the morning of Race Day - nothing like some last minute outfit organising. I purchased, then, some semi-dried hydrangeas from the gorgeous man next door to my favourite cafe and poked them into a more 'Fall'-appropriate hat I already had. Last year's purple fascinator was very willingly lent to Charlotte for the day, as once I wear these hats I make, I never wear them again. I was grateful this one got a second outing.

The Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe is always held the first Sunday in October.
Mark your diaries, and heat up the glue guns, now.




  1. You so beautifully looked the part. Sad I missed such an exciting day! xo

    1. You're too sweet, thank you! Next year, for sure!