The annual Salon de l’ agriculture held in Paris is the equivalent to the traditional A&P shows in NZ. This year it was the 50th anniversary of this event and ran from 23rd Feb until today 3rd March at the Porte de Versailles Exhibition centre. More than 695,000 people attended, and on Saturday (2nd March) a record 110,000 people visited. We were two of them. We hadn’t quite factored into our planning that it was the first day of the school holidays. It was a barely moving crush at times and I noted that the tantrums of tired cranky French children sound just like Kiwi ones. No translation needed.
It is quite a spectacle; there were several huge pavilions for the various species of farm animals, a three storied pavilion dedicated to the “tastes of France” region by region and yet another for plant and grain agriculture. It was quite fascinating watching and listening to the producers and growers, they are so passionate and animated when discussing their particular specialty. Food and its provenance is important to the French, the choice of meat, cheese, or wine for the day’s meal is a major decision and is not taken lightly. On weekends the queue at our local fromagerie (cheese shop) can extend out the door while there is a serious discussion about the right choice for the cheese to accompany that night’s dinner with the client at the head of the line. So the Salon de l’ agriculture was a tasting bonanza for everyone. Of course wine is agriculture too and in a week’s time a number of very nice bottles of red wine should be delivered chez Belton.