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Dominoes Day#3 in Palaiseau

Behind the scenes of a French record

Commonly known as “Dominoes Day”, this annual event involves the creation of domino frescoes. Coloured dominoes are set up in different patterns but always with the same objective of beating the falling domino record by placing them in ever-greater numbers. 

Portrait Ndeye

An experience lived by Ndeye

“Don’t hesitate to join the team of volunteers and help beat the French record, or come along on Friday 14 February at 8pm in the gymnasium!”

  • Palaiseau
  • 1 day
  • Leisure activities
Dominos Day #3, Palaiseau
Dominoes Day - Destination Paris Saclay

Roger Antoine gymnasium

“Dominoes Day” attracts curious participants from all horizons to spend several days together placing dominoes by the thousand.
Today, Palaiseau aims to beat the town of Verdun, the reigning champion holding the record of 72,749 dominoes. We wonder how that can be beaten.

With our capacity for extreme concentration and meticulous attention, my colleague, Damien, and I have decided to contribute to the noble cause of beating the French record for falling dominoes. So we confidently head for the Roger Antoine gymnasium in Palaiseau to show them what we’re capable of!


A story of passion

When we arrive at the gymnasium we’re stunned by the extent of the work already done by the volunteers. 2 days before the big night and the much-awaited sequence, many of the frescoes are ready or in the process of being set up. All in a pleasant, friendly atmosphere. This year’s theme is “board games”, and we quickly identify some of the games we played as children, such as ludo, monopoly and scrabble.

It’s all very impressive and I have to admit to feeling a little nervous at the thought of making a blunder and destroying the good work. But I soon get over it. Let’s not tempt fate! The busy contributors are people of all ages, including whole families and groups of friends… they each contribute in their own way and play along.

Dominos Day #3, Palaiseau
Dominoes Day - Destination Paris Saclay
Dominos Day #3, Palaiseau
Dominoes Day - Destination Paris Saclay

A well-oiled process


AvVery quickly, Thibault Lesnes, the project’s well-known creator, and another volunteer come to meet us and bid us a warm welcome.
We explain to them why we’re here. Thibault, who’s domino-mad, reveals the record-breaking target for Palaiseau: 80,000 dominoes and not a single one less! With an ambition like that, they’ve been granted an entire gymnasium to bring the gigantic project to fruition.

Before we get down to some serious work, Thibault offers a few explanations and shows us the fresco design plans.

We offer our help and before we know it we’re listening to instructions on how we can contribute. We’re to create a 500-pound note from the famous board game, Monopoly.

Dominos Day #3, Palaiseau
Dominoes Day - Destination Paris Saclay
Dominos Day #3, Palaiseau
Dominoes Day - Destination Paris Saclay

It's our move

Quite simply, we’re given a quantity of dominoes of different colours and a sheet showing a template. First of all we just have to assemble the dominoes horizontally, following the numbers and colours indicated.

Later they are to be stood on their ends with the help of a serrated ruler which places the dominoes at an equal distance from one another. We get to work amid jokes and fits of laughter from the other volunteers.

Now and again we hear the sound of dominoes falling after the occasional hiccup. Nothing that a good laugh can’t cure, and the fallen dominoes are stood on end again.

As we progress, I realise how therapeutic it is setting up dominoes, and that it’s quite addictive too. It relaxes me, focuses my mind and helps me forget all that day-to-day stress.

Dominos Day #3, Palaiseau
Dominoes Day - Destination Paris Saclay
Dominos Day #3, Palaiseau
Dominoes Day - Destination Paris Saclay

Heading for the record

In addition to the 80,000 dominoes, constructions created from 200,000 wooden “Kapla” bricks by a specialist, M. Koum, are also placed on the ground.

We feel optimistic that Palaiseau can beat the record held by Verdun.

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