How to win friends …

French President Francois Hollande today spent about ten hours visiting the Salon de l’Agriculture – not in any sense a vote collecting exercise.  He is apparently not very popular with country people in France, but then he’s not really got a lot of  fans in any section of the population.

A few years ago we too visited this exhibition, which demonstrates the wide range of agriculture in France.  The weather was very cold and snowy in Paris then as now, so it was quite comforting to spend the day in the warmth.  Once you have paid your admission fee, you can actually eat and drink for free from all the samples that are waved in front of you.  There were all the different breeds of French cattle and sheep and pigs and also some foreign guests.  I had to go to greet the Highland cattle on display.  I never knew how many different varieties  of goat there are.  Visitors are not permitted to feed the animals on display, which may have accounted for the very unpleasant expression on the face of a rather large mule.  I’m sure he felt he deserved a carrot for standing there for so long with all these people streaming past him.

Different halls contained the produce of France’s overseas territories, the poultry and rabbits bred in farm yards, hunting dogs, horses and donkeys.  The whole exhibition covers a vast area but the cheese, wine, sausage and other samples keep the visitor going, especially the seafood nibbles from the Caribbean. From the Channel, Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts, the Alps and Pyrenees to the pastures of Normandy and other less well-known regions – I even discovered there is a Berry donkey – it was an impressive display of the wealth and variety of France’s produce.

Hollande and friend
Hollande anoints his successor, who quite frankly can’t do a worse job than he is doing.

9 thoughts on “How to win friends …”

  1. Yes, LW, we had really paid for all our “free” samples in advance.

    Christopher, you’ll find a photo to your liking here, I think.

    Janus, horses were not banned when we were there and I’m sure they’re present in force this year too. I have been very careful with meat over the past two weeks here – chicken, rabbit, pork and lamb as well as seafood. Yesterday at lunch my French friend ordered a beef dish and I almost said “Are you sure about that?” However I have learned that I must buy my horse meat from a recognised “boucherie chevaline” and not from any of the big supermarket chains, whose meat may come from Poland or Romania.

  2. I love agricultural shows, I intend to attend the Royal Welsh this summer, a brilliant day out.
    Feb is a bit of a weird time of year to hold it though, but then the frog always were contrary.
    You do not mention how many bars were in the show?

  3. I don’t remember any bars as such, Christina, just lots of trays with little glasses of various beverages.

  4. Well free is only better!
    The Royal Welsh is quite ludicrous re the quantity of bars and that is without counting all the hospitality tents of the various animal associations. The sheepshaggers voluminous tent must have about 100′ bar all to itself for members only. It is extremely difficult to find the way out after the second bottle or so!

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