Part Five. 6March2010
I awoke quite early this day and managed a quick “street food” breakfast and a coffee on my way to the Metro.
Finally, it’s Saturday and the Salon International de L’Agriculture fair is here and I can’t wait to be there. I have been waiting several months to attend. If you have ever been to Cleveland’s’ IX Center, well it’s about five times larger. Imagine a state fair, but for an entire country plus other countries represented as well. Every region of France was there. Food, livestock, machinery, solar, you name it, it was there. I came for the wine and I left very happy. The fair is very, very French. It is also very cultural. Roving musicians, youth groups, and representatives from all over France with their goods for sale and sample. There were very few English speakers in attendance and many vendors were quite surprised to see “outsiders” such as myself. I had a blast! I have never seen so many varieties of cattle and ducks. There was a working dog demonstration and loads of goats. Dannon yogurt had a large interactive display, but that was it for anything American. I was able to sample fine French yogurt and cheese in the dairy area along with several varieties of milk. I wish I would have been able to take some cheese home, but it all needed to be kept cool.
The next pavilion contained smaller animals and hard goods for sale such as clothing and western wear. I bought a heave fleece jacket from Norway for 29Euros. Many different kinds of tractors and solar equipment were on display. Many other “green” energy ideas were also on display along with ways to recycle.
I made my way to the food and wine pavilion which was held on two floors. I could not believe my eyes when I walked into the huge space. Wine, cheese, bread, pastries, many sit down places to eat. Sausage, meat, caviar, and even Russian vodka were all on display. I don’t think I have ever had that much wine in my entire life! I spoke to a few vineyard owners to see if their wine was available in the States, and sadly to say French export law is difficult and many wines can’t be purchased in the USA. In fact one owner told me the good wine stays in France. I truly believed him.
I probably spent about five hours in attendance with about half the population of France that day, as it was packed to the rafters. I really picked the wrong day to go as I had no idea this show was that popular. Next time I’ll try for a weekday. Stuffed and a bit buzzed, I made my way back to the metro and to my hotel to drop off what I purchased. I rested a bit and made my way to a bistro for some dinner, late in the evening.
Stay tuned for my final entry!
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