Pont Louis Philippe looking back at Ile de la Cité
Events and Trade Shows

A February Saturday in Paris

Pont Louis Philippe looking back at Ile de la Cité
Pont Louis Philippe looking back at Ile de la Cité at around 5:30 p.m. as the sun shines through the clouds

Products produced on the farm, lunch, smoke a cigar and the movies are the activities we schedule for a Paris Saturday in February. Throw in some chocolate and port wine spontaneously and the day is set!

The platform is packed at Metro Concorde. We find a standing place in the back of the car and head with other Salon d’Agriculture enthusiasts toward the metro stop Porte de Versailles. Thinking we have left early Saturday (11 a.m.), we find that everyone else thinks the same thing. We are headed to enjoy a fair that opened officially for the first time in 1870 and moved officially to Porte de Versailles in 1925.

When we attend this annual event, we set a goal. This year it is food. Last year, it was the cows. A section on the Salon d’Agriculture Web site is about regional chef recipes. We try to find the food, which is always located in Pavilion 7.1 or 7.2 (first or second floor). Whoops! the crowd! and the floor plan is unclear without specific stand numbers to find these chefs.

 

Salon d'Agriculture a honey stand from the south of FranceLanguedoc-Roussillon is a favorite region for us. In the section of the fair “Sud de France” (South of France), the band is playing, the crowds are shuffling, the noise is at high decibels; it’s a family and fun atmosphere. Normally searching out Le Concours Général Agricole (medal winners), we succumb to hunger and head to the stand with the bar stools. On the menu is our preferred fowl, duck, at the Maison Esquines stand. Their menu items include a glass of wine. We order the salad and foie gras with a muscat and the cassoulet with a glass of red. We have post-fair plans, so regional food goodies from Maison Esquines are not going home with us today.Salon d'Agriculture Maison Esquines stand in Pavillion 7

Satisfied we move on to the other parts of France at the fair. Frenchmen who live “outre-mer” (overseas) refer to the hexagon (France) as the métropole. We taste test the rum punch from Ile de la Réunion (Réunion Island) and try a syrup from Tahiti (preparing a future voyage). People are sitting on the floor around the salon eating their sandwiches. Imagine, if they had only known, that for fifty cents more they could have had a seat and a glass of wine!

Still early in the day, we head to the Odéon area to buy tickets for our movie in VO-version originale (original version). To pass the time, we find a seat at the Pub Saint-Germain in the Cour du Commerce Saint André, drink a red port wine and eat our chocolate from Maison Georges Larnicol under heat lamps. We watch as people go into a chocolate shop and restaurant, Un Dimanche à Paris, opposite us in the passage. Every restaurant menu item is made with chocolate.

Finished, we are curious about this chocolate business. It’s hard to avoid a chocolate shop! We begin to discover the shop, watch as ingredients for confections are prepared behind the glass and find out that there is a dégustation between 3 and 5 p.m. We check our watches and “zut, alors!”, it is time to dash across the street for the film! We zoom out with a good reason to return!

Salon d’Agriculture (Web site can be translated into English)

Maison Esquines
126 Avenue des Corbieres
11700 Douzens France
Douzens (750 inhabitants) near the Aude region, 20 km from Carcassone.

Maison Georges Larnicol
132, boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris

Pub Saint Germain
17 Rue de l’Ancienne Comédie, 75006 Paris

Un Dimanche à Paris
4-6-8 Cour du Commerce Saint André 75006 Paris
Metro: Odéon

This Web site and and its blog articles are for travelers to Paris who are looking for advice from someone who lives in Paris. These tips are "for Parisians at heart". Many people would like to visit, some can and some cannot - so I will help you enjoy a glimpse of the city and its surroundings. This project has been ongoing since 2002. Prior to living in Paris (since 1992) my European history a few decades ago with three years in Wiesbaden, Germany. My next foray onto the Continent was after graduation from the University of Florida (where I met Erik): traveling around Europe and UK with my friend, Margie, hitchhiking around and working in Ireland. After living and working as a journalist in Sweden for four years, traveling on boats, the Trans-Siberian Railway, local trains and planes took Erik and I around the world. In 1990 for American Airlines I began working as a flight attendant, based in Chicago. We moved to Paris, France in 1992 where I commuted between Paris and Chicago for my flight attendant/stewardess job. Finally my inner voice said "Stop!" and I left American Airlines after 20 years. Now that is over and I am back working as a journalist and photographer full time on Colleensparis.com - My videos are posted on YouTube on the colleensparis youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/colleensparis and I am active in Toastmasters. Enjoy!