Most (perhaps all?) physics conferences share the conference dinner tradition. One evening during the conference, all participants are invited to get together to share a meal, usually featuring cuisine from the local area. Last night was the ICHEP banquet (the fancier term ensured that quite a few attendees came in fancier attire than they wore to the sessions). The banquet took place at the Grande Galerie d'Evolution, and while the gallery, stuffed and mounted wild animals, and line to get in and check our laptop bags was certainly grand, the food and drink were another story. The crowds surrounding the tables holding tapas-style food from various areas of France wouldn't have looked out of place on a rugby field.
(Here's a photo of physicists in the wild, during the calm before the food-induced storm.)
But the point of conference dinners isn't really food, but to talk to old and new colleagues, and that went off without a hitch. The food situation also provided a perfect ice-breaker for conversation, and I heard many a story about banquet disasters from conferences past.
Tonight will see a gathering of a very different sort in Paris: the Nuit des Particules, a particle-physics-themed evening for the public. The event at the Grand Rex theater in Paris starts off with a public lecture by scientist Michel Davier (in French), at which French actress Irene Jacob will also be present, and ends with a showing of the science fiction film Sunshine (in English).