Actually, it was the Foire de Paris time. That’s Fair of Paris. It’s held at a HUGE exposition park called Porte de Versailles. Do not confuse this with the city or Palais of Versailles. This is right inside Paris.
Do you know how you know if it’s inside Paris? It’s within the Boulevard Peripherique. That’s the freeway that circles about Paris. I guess the only exceptions are the Bois de Boulogne – a huge park just to the west of the Peripherique and the Parc Vincennes – another huge park to the east. Huge? They are both more than 2.5 times the size of Central Park in NYC. The road isn’t actually the location of the old Paris walls. The city kept expanding and so boundaries were moved out over the years. (Porte Saint Denis is in the 4th arrondisment – with the 10th arrondisment on the other side.) So the word Porte means Door. There are many such names around the Peripherique– indicating where entrances used to be to the City. I live by Porte Maillot. Porte de Versailles is between Porte de Sevres and Porte de la Plaine… Enough geography.
Back to the Foire !
Ever been to a Home Show ? A Garden show? A Home AND Garden show? To a State Fair? Or just a street fair or bazaar? That’s the Foire de Paris. All of those things combined on a gigantic scale.
If I ever want to furnish an apartment or renovate a home or add a garden – I would wait until after this event. I’d go here and spend hours with each of those specialists. The range of furnishings – the couches, the décor, the bath fixings (I so prefer European showers to American ones), the kitchens, the appliances. Overwhelming. And then there are the food trucks! And wine trucks! (It is France, after all.) (That’s a photo of an aquarium coffee table…)
I liked the Fetes Hall the most. I didn’t know what to expect with the Party Hall. But it was this incredible and, yup, huge, gathering of vendors – clothes, jewelry, scarves, knick-knacks, food. From EVERYWHERE!
I think Americans are sometimes geographically limited in their thinking. I recall when I went to New Zealand and was amazed by so many people talking about their trips to Fiji and Bali and Indonesia. Until I remembered that all those places are a hop, skip and jump from them. I was so North American-centric.
Here we had vendors from Syria, Tunisia, the Ukraine, Nepal, China, Senegal – Asia and Europe and Africa were all there. AND amazingly, at least two vendors from Canada! I bought a ring from the Canadians who told me they come to this every year. She wasn’t very fluent in her French (her co-worker was) and I heard her speaking English to another customer. So I just spoke English. They were from Toronto. In the midst of our conversation, she complimented me – living in Paris and having such a good command of English. I laughed and told her I better! I was from California.
8 scarves, one ring, one pendant and two crystals later, I took the Tram to the metro to home. 4 hours. Over 5 miles. It was a day.
But apparently I missed the best part! The Salle Lepine. Now that’s not a title to get excited about, so I can be forgiven. But it’s the place where the inventors show their inventions! I bet it was one of the most interesting places. I am just not sure it is worth another 14 euro entrance fee.