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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Simply Sara Eats: With the Little Bro

My brother was born a foodie. Back before anyone was labeling themselves as such, he was one. While the rest of us “normal” elementary-school aged kids were requesting peanut butter and jelly, or perhaps the standard turkey sandwich, David was asking my mom to make him chicken cutlet sandwiches every day for lunch with a side of French dressing for dipping. He loved Idaho potatoes, boiled or mashed, and could taste if those spuds didn’t hail from the Gem State. Not only did he enjoy food like most boys do, but he had strong opinions as to what he was chowing down on when it came to mealtime.

Fast forward through school and college. My little brother is no longer little, yet at his core, he’s still that chicken cutlet and Idaho potato-loving gourmand. He lives in Manhattan and has extensive lists of favorite restaurants and ones to try on the horizon. So it should come as no surprise that when he came to visit with his fiancée one last time while we were living in Paris, the food scene was at the top of the to-do list.

To be clear, he didn’t merely say he wanted to try some French food, or eat croissants every morning, like most guests do. He wrote to me expressing the desire to go “belly to the wall.”

If you’re like me, you might not fully grasp the expression. Did he want to eat so much that his belly would extend to the wall? (A huge feat, if you saw my skinny brother.) I was unclear, but I got the jist. We were going to go all out for one last hurrah in Paris.

We had three full days to do it up, and if I say so myself, I think we accomplished our mission. If you’re like David and want some ideas of how to coordinate a foodie extravaganza in Paris, here are some of the places we hit during his visit:

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Exploring France's Hidden Gem: Franche-Comté

Today I'm excited to introduce you to Elena of Elena's Travelgram! I really enjoy reading her insight on living in France as an Ukrainian expat on her blog. Here's her expert advice on what to see in her slice of France:

When you think of visiting France, which places come to your mind first?

Bet #1 is Paris! With Lyon, Nice, Marseille, and the Loire Valley coming shortly afterwards. Next you may be daydreaming of gorgeous Provence lavender fields and the rocky allure of the Normandy coast. 

Wine-lovers won’t miss a trip out and around Bordeaux wine routes and charming Alsatian villages in search for the best white wines. 

Corsica recently became a hype summer destination, though it still has a lot of amazing, absolutely deserted beaches, hidden in lovely bays. 

Blissful Biarritz is another fantastic beach destination overlooking the Atlantic and, of course, you’ll discover even more amazing wine routes around Burgundy, along with amazing local cuisine and cheese.

Ran out of ideas for your next trip to France? 

Well, how about visiting Franche-Comté

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Day trip from Paris: Chartres, France, Part II

10 Things to do in Chartres besides the Cathedral

Let’s be clear. If you are going to Chartres, you are making the trip to visit its incredible cathedral. It truly is something special and deserving of your time and focus while in town. It’s perfectly acceptable to treat Chartres as a stop to see the Cathedral and then move on. But should you choose to hang around longer, there is plenty more to do.

I spent the weekend (a full day and a half) in Chartres. With more than enough time to see the Cathedral, I had plenty of time to explore. Let’s follow my route around town so I can show you what else the city has to offer:

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Simply Sara Eats: at 5 Paris Favorites with Visitors

In the "Simply Sara Eats " series, I recount the my favorite food and drink discoveries.

Hosting friends and family from the US in Paris presents me with a quandary every time. Do I take the opportunity to try new restaurants or do I gravitate towards places I know are solid choices to get a proper food experience in France? While I occasionally try out a new place or two, I inevitably can't hold back my excitement to share some of my favorite bonnes adresses. My aunt and cousin were here in the beginning of July and as I reflected back on their trip, I recounted some of my favored Paris haunts.

Here are five food experiences I love to share with any guest visiting Pars: 

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