Sheep in the Big City // Salon de l’Agriculture

Picture this for a moment. You’re in the metro and you see some posters for an event called the Salon International de l’Agriculture (International Agricultural Show). What is your general concept of what this show entails?

If you are like me, a few things come to mind: farmers, pitchforks, plows, soil, crops, barns. Basically, a whole world of things that are very far removed from me. This is why for two years, I wrote off the advertisements as an event that wasn’t for someone like me. Certainly not for a someone who struggles to take care of the occasional house plant that has the misfortune of falling under my guardianship. I assumed it was a nice convention for farmers to put aside their road barricades (as seen in articles like this one) and meet up peacefully to discuss the hottest tractor of the year.

I’m here to do my civic duty of telling you this is NOT what the Salon is all about! Thanks to a post by Expat Edna, and then a huge food post highlighting the event by David Lebovitz, I realized last year that I had it all wrong. I needed to go check it out and -- and if you’re in Paris, you need to as well. It starts on Saturday, February 27, 2016 - so here’s a little of what you can expect.

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Coming This Weekend to Paris: Nuit Blanche 2014

One thing that has always impressed me about Paris is the focus on cultural events. It seems that everyone is well-versed on the latest expositions going on in the city’s museums and other cultural events. People love to talk about what’s on, what they went to, and what’s on the list to visit. I got some insight in how this interest in the arts becomes ingrained when I started tutoring English. I took my elementary-aged student to Centre Pompidou and she started telling me about one of her favorite artists, Robert Delaunay. I was blown away by how she could remember his name and give some reasons why she liked his paintings. Part of the school curriculum incorporates the arts, and the appreciation for people who create and bring beauty into the world is certainly celebrated here.

Given this, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that one of the events Paris puts on during the year is one to celebrate the arts...all night long. Nuit Blanche takes place the first Saturday in October. The 13th annual Nuit Blanche is set for October 4, 2014 so get ready for a night of art, dance, music, theater, and more!

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A White Night?

Bon lundi!

“Nuit blanche” in French literally translates to “white night” but it figuratively means to pull an all-nighter. And “Nuit Blanche” is also the name of an annual event in Paris that occurs on the first Saturday of October. Maybe you can guess why it’s given that name. It’s an event that takes place all night, from 7pm to 7am the next morning.

Mark your calendar for this Saturday, October 4th, if you’re in town - I’ll fill you in on more about what the event entails this week. For now, I’ll leave you with this picture for a taste of what you might find during Nuit Blanche. I didn't stay awake all night for a proper Nuit Blanche last year, but I did manage to pass the 3am mark, when this photo was taken!

Any guesses to where this is? Hint: It's in one of Paris' churches...(yes, at 3am!)

This Weekend in Paris: Journées du Patrimoine (European Heritage Days)

Bon lundi!

Have you ever walked around Paris and imagined what decadent interiors lie behind the walls of the buildings? I had always wondered this about Paris’ town hall, Hôtel de Ville. Until the weekend came when I no longer had to imagine the grandeur behind the normally closed-to-public doors and got the opportunity to go inside, for free.

That same special weekend is upon us (September 20-21, 2014): Journées du Patrimoine.

For one weekend, many museums, historical buildings, and points of interest open their doors to the general public and often do so free of charge. This weekend is part of the European Heritage Days. The idea to make certain buildings and monuments accessible to the public originated in France, and now it is a weekend observed throughout Europe. This means if you are not in Paris but elsewhere in France or Europe, see if there are any happenings going on where you are. It's a wonderful weekend of getting to see places that are part of the fabric of European heritage and history, open to all.

If you are lucky enough to be in Paris, there are countless sights to choose from so consult the official website ahead of time and make a plan of attack! 

Many sights and monuments that are already normally open to the public participate and offer free entry (such as Sainte-Chapelle or the towers of Notre-Dame). My personal preference would be to visit buildings only open to the public this one weekend out of the year. And I would start with the beautiful Hôtel de Ville:

Hôtel de Ville was so magnificent inside I want to go again this year!

More to follow on this, but for some immediate inspiration check out my past posts on two sights I saw last year, Hôtel de Ville and Musée des Arts Forains. Stay tuned! 

Le Salon des Vins des Vignerons Indépendants is Coming!

Bon lundi!

Imagine a huge venue filled with about 1,000 stands featuring independent wine makers from all over France. Not just featuring, but staffed by the wine makers themselves. Offering a chance taste their products, as well as talk about each wine in more detail.

Insert my favorite semi-annual event here. Coming to Paris from Thursday, November 28 - Monday, December 2 is Le Salon des Vins des Vignerons Indépendants. For 6 euros, you get entrance and a wine glass for the free tastings. Not only do I love the fact that I don't have to blindly guess which wine I might like at a grocery store, but I can meet people who own or work at smaller vineyards and support them rather than big corporations. 

Bring a cart or caddy (rolling suitcases are also popular) and get ready for a wonderful event. I will be visiting Domaine Poulet et Fils (stand T-37) for some crémant (a sparkling wine) and Domaine de Cerbier (stand H-71) for red wine from the Corbières appellation, along with seeking out some potential new favorites. 

Barrels of wine at Château Desmirail (Margaux appellation of Bordeaux)

Le Salon des Vins des Vignerons Indépendants

Porte de Versailles, Pavilion 7

Thursday-Sunday (11/28-12/1) from 10:00am-8:00pm; Monday (12/2) from 10:00am-6:00pm