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The Imperial Ball

Photographer: Yoan Valat


Held at The Grand Hotel inaugurated by Empress Eugenie in 1862, the annual Imperial Ball is an occasion to travel back in time to the French Second Empire. About 110 guests from all around the world dress up in sumptuous ball gowns, costumes and evening wear for the benefit event, organized by French charity ‘Work of the Holy Angels’. While the charity President, Baroness de Saint Didier, organizes guest seating, some participants prepare in a private room of the hotel. Some crinoline dresses require the assistance of many people to be put on. Around 7.30 pm, everyone gathers in the Salon Ravel for a cocktail reception. The festivities can start… Following the candlelight dinner, the guests dance the quadrille, waltz and other traditional dances in the Opera Ballroom, adorned by mimosa bunches. For one night only, ladies and gentlemen are back in the Imperial Court of Napoleon III.