Wow, I’ve already reached the 10th installment of Paris Adventures! Sorry that the last one was kind of a dud, I was really tired the day I went and the week thereafter, so I didn’t really put much effort into that. I also wrote that one over a period of 5 days or so, so I didn’t realize I was repeating myself over and over and over.
ANYway. Last Sunday I went, per our chefs’ recommendation, to le Salon International de l’Agriculture, an exposition basically showing off animals and other animal products in competitions or tastings, so on and so forth.
I must say, I was kind of disappointed. I usually don’t have to pay an entrance fee for anything, but for this I did (I had a student discount, though), so I was expecting to be blown away. As soon as I got there though, it already wasn’t really what I was expecting. Perhaps it was naïve of me to expect a huge, market-style layout that was kind of messy and busy, but instead what I got was 6 very large exposition halls, each of which were very modern-looking and not at all farmland-sy.
You’ll see what I mean with the first exhibition: canines and felines. I saw my first ever dog competition:
Which, as much as I love dogs, seemed a little bit preposterous to me. It was really crowded, so I took this photo from behind the crowd and by lifting the camera overhead. Most of the time the owners were just standing next to their dogs trying to keep them calm, but I got a photo of them as they were parading the dogs around. The dog that won this contest was a sled-dog class dog, super cute, and super puffy.
There weren’t any feline contests, but Eukanuba was showing off these two breeds of cats – I only caught a glimpse of it but I quickly walked away because the cats looked really uncomfortable and unhappy being help like that.
I also saw a lot of dogs being prepped for competition. I have no idea what this dog is called, but its fur is so long it must be ridiculously frustrating to take care of. I remember when my husky was shedding and we had to comb him every day.
What’s weird was, at the very entrance of the hall there were not only shops selling dog clothing but a lot of knife shops and stuff. I guess it’s because part of the exhibition also had to do with hunting.
That was it for the canine/feline exhibition, and I’m kind of disappointed to say that that was probably the most interesting part of the exhibition, because I didn’t get to see any more animals in action. The next hall I visited was Hall 6, the equestrian hall.
And I was really excited for this, because my last name, Ma （馬）literally means horse in Chinese. It’s also the Year of the Horse.
I was kind of disappointed though. The entrance was, again, filled with shops not really selling anything of importance in particular. A bit further towards the back there were some horses
The only real qualm I had with this was that none of the horses really looked that happy to be cooped up. Couple that with the fact that everybody was reaching out to touch the horses (some kids were banging at the bars), and it made things pretty unpleasant. Personal preference.
I did, thankfully, as I was leaving, get to see some of the horses actually get to move, and they were beautiful 800-1000kg animals.
Then it was on to the next section: services and jobs in agriculture.
I honestly expected more from this section, because I think this is what the chefs wanted us to come see. Apparently one of the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France did a demonstration of how to butcher an entire goat here, but when I went there really wasn’t much going on. Just a lot of shops again, and thankfully some animals. They were all cooped up in cages/pens as well, though.
Some of these animals had a red, white and blue sticker on them, signifying that they were of high-quality or had won some kind of contest, but I think in general I just don’t really like that whole concept. The thing is, even though there were animals that had won prizes and everything, they were still locked up for people to see and poke at and everything. Call me old-fashioned or a prude or whatever, but I was kind of annoyed by how disrespectful that was.
There wasn’t really much to do with the services and jobs in agriculture in this hall, unfortunately – I think I missed out on the dates/times that people would be doing actually demonstrations, so too bad for me..
Next up was hall 7, which was the largest one and had 3 different floors. The ground floor, 7.1, was filled with porks, bovines, ovines (sheeps), and caprins (goats). 7.2 and 7.3 were both dedicated to regions of France and their overseas territories.
I got to see a lot of pigs, which were actually very well cleaned for the exposition.
And something else that I thought was pretty cool: getting milk from some sheep.
Basically, how the contraption worked was a person would let 6 sheep into the milking place, where there were 6 bowls of food. As they stuck their heads in to eat, a metal bar would trap their heads in place and while they were doing that someone from behind would attach suckers to their udders. The whole process would be done in about 3 minutes, and after that they were put into another area and the next 6 were let in. Very efficient and not at all rustic-feeling. I guess agriculture’s just not the same as we all think it is!
But I realized that cattles aren’t very intelligent animals at all (or they’re just numb). I was looking at them and they had no reaction whatsoever to what I was doing.
I then went up the 2nd and 3rd floors, and tey were basically just shops upon shops upon shops (well, little stands), selling food and drinks. I tried some ice cream from Madagascar (their vanilla is really good), some lemonade, some cheeses, some sausages, but the whole area was kind of unpleasant for me. Way too commercialized, way too crowded. I didn’t mind it for le Marché de Noël (Christmas Market) because it was advertised as a market with shops, but I didn’t really like how people were just trying to sell stuff to you.
I was afraid to take my phone out too much because it was so crowded, and if I dropped it it would be gone forever.
I then moved on to the next section: 3 and 2, which were connected sections for bovine and vegetables. I saw more bovine, of course, but I won’t bore you with pictures of those. The section had a huge booth from Charral (commercialized meat company) and Carrefour, a supermarket.
Section 2 also didn’t have really anything that I found interesting. The coolest thing was probably this:
Which was pretty neat. In this section they also had more shops, selling knives as well, but also selling even weirder goods like beanbag pillow. I almost got one because they were really comfy, but then I thought – why would I buy a beanbag at an agricultural exposition?
As I left, kind of disappointed, I saw something that was actually pretty cool.
For me, the exposition didn’t really meet my expectations. For some reason I was hoping for something a bit more serious about the actual products and an explanation of how the whole food industry worked from farm to plate. Instead I got a lot of shops trying to stuff things into my face and sell them to me.
Pity that my 10th (EDIT: Recorded) Paris adventure didn’t meet my expectations.