I got invited to a fun VIP treatment soirée at the racetrack at the Vincennes Hippodrome recently, and so I thought I’d make a girls-night-out of it and brought along my best friend. And we had a ball!
It was a Tuesday night, and Tuesday nights are not typically packed with excitement… so this was a welcome spark to the week topped off with an AMAZING sunset (the sun had been somewhat of a rare thing this Spring).
Le Trot, is the type of racing that happens at the Vincennes hippodrome. It is a very difficult type of race as it is not easy to keep the horses from galloping (which they naturally are inclined to do). This type of race can be run either with a cavalier (a rider) or with a sulky (the seat on wheels you see in the images). It’s all quite technical but nonetheless thrilling!
We arrived at the racetrack just before the first evening race. This gave us enough time to check out the VIP viewing area that we had been taken to. There was champagne and darling little mise-en-bouche delights to nibble (a cocktail dînatoire, they call it), and a fun photo booth that creates picture flipbooks that we took advantage of as well. We made funny poses in front of the camera as it filmed us for 7 seconds. Then they printed out every image and put them together in a tiny little hand held picture flipbook. A great souvenir!
The event organizers also gave us little booklets that explained the way betting happens for races so that those of us who have never bet before (uhhh mmm) didn’t feel like silly newbies when trying to place one. ;-P
I was surprised to see quite a a few ladies attending the evening event. And people were not afraid to ask our hosts questions about what was happening on the track or (like us) to request a second explanation of the betting process.
We signed up for the racetrack visit, and the stables tour. The race track visit was superbe! We got in a van, and drove out to the starting line, where the judges van also joined us, and we followed the judges van and the horses round the track as they races like crazy! The whole moment was swift but totally thrilling! Our guide in the van ( what I would call a horse race junkie – a very excitable man who lived for this type of thrill) explained everything (in a rapid and très enthusiastic way) that was happening and all the details that normally I would never have even thought to ask. Let’s just say that there is a lot more to horse racing than horses running and riders in colorful costumes!
After our tour of the stables where horses and riders were coming and going, owners chatted in stables with the caretakers, and the sun set over what looked like a movie set to me. It was this fantastical ballet of beasts and busy people, cavaliers and carriages. We even got to watch the horses getting showered after a race in steamy water and then they are walked around a lovely little courtyard for a while with their towel. These animals are so well pampered. And all for one race for each horse. They arrive, are set up, warmed up, they race, then are cooled down, showered and coddled and then brought back home. All that excitement for one romp around the track!
After the stables we headed back to the VIP lodge, and sipped champagne while nibbling on petit fours discussing which horse to bet on in the coming race. They have screens that indicate the popularity in bets of each horse, a sort of market floor ticker that tells you who the favorites are and what the payoff would be…
We watched from the giant window as the horses came careening around the bend and down the stretch of track in front of us. Everyone’s eyes are glued to those horses. And the announcers who were standing just a few feet away from us, kept your heart rate up as they rattled off what was happening on the track as fast as the horses
ran trotted. Our bets didn’t pay off, but we had a winning night nonetheless, hanging out together and living an exceptional moment!
Thank you to the press team at Le Trot for this amazing invitation!
A great idea for girl travel with your best friends : what could be more different and exciting than a night at the races sipping champagne and whooping « Go! Go! Go! » to some sweaty beautiful beasts lurching down the track to a golden setting sun….