It’s the favourite haunt of any Président de la République wanting to make a stand of solidarity with the farmers and capitalise on photo opportunities, the ideal family half-term activity for little Frédéric and Amélie, and a perfect way for a Brit to feel very French for a day. The 51st annual Salon de l’Agriculturein Paris was a colossal showcase of France’s prize livestock and culinary delicacies. Feeling like a challenge, I decided to tackle the event on a Saturday, most likely the busiest day.
The first hall I entered housed les Délices du Monde, a bustling hub of visitors revelling in a conveyor belt of dégustations taking them on a journey from Ardennes to Martinique and back again, savouring everything from fois gras and cheese to oysters and macaroons. The wonderful smells drew me from stand to stand and for lunch I settled on a delicious fois gras filled baguette with a glass of sweet wine for just 8 euros. The food was such a distraction that I left having taken barely any photos! Despite my lack of photographic evidence, It really is a must-see and there are plenty of free samples to nibble.
Wandering towards the largest hall with that unmistakable ‘countryside smell’ that seemed so out of place in central Paris, I was presented with a room full of the largest cows I have ever seen. There were dozens of breeds, all reared for specific cuts of beef or for producing milk. These were the body-builders of the cow world! Interestingly French cows do indeed speak French, as any Frenchman will tell you that they do not say "moo", instead they say "meuuu!"
Moving round to the sheep and goats on display, I was delighted to see the number of English breeds written on huge signs - even at the most French of occasions there was a piece of England!
I highly recommend Le Salon de l'Agriculture to any Foodie, animal enthusiast or anyone who happens to be in Paris at the time of the event as it really is a wonderful and very French spectacle, and is the only opportunity to see and taste produce from all French départements in one place.
Written by Laurence Clayton-Trotman, Community Manager.