yesterday we stepped out of the quaint, old, grounded center of paris and headed to the outskirts of the city to the modern and sky rising business area. today we left the quaint, old, grounded center of paris, we left the touristy sights far far behind us and headed somewhere where probably very few americans ever set foot. the selon de l'agriculture. take your typical county fair and add a whole lot of french class and about every other person in france and that is what our experience was today. it was crowded, it was exhausting, but it was so fun. you'll see why.
animals were everywhere. and yet the pavilions where the exposition was were still surprisingly clean. this was definitely not your typical down home country fair.
in between the animals were all kinds of fun information booths and goods to be seen. want to guess how many eggs are in the giant sphere? go for it. want to take a quiz and win a free prize. do it! i did it. although, these things are a bit harder when in french.
i loved being surrounded by darling french children. they really are too cute. these two little boys and i watched a little chick hatch out of its egg. wild.
an observation: animals look totally different here. that may be hard to believe but it is true. i think they are furrier, or perhaps they, like the people, are just all around classier. but really. if you sat a french sheep right next to one raised on an american farm, there would be obvious differences. i couldn't get over how pretty some of the cows were.
the pigs were fun too. and they made me think of my dearest friend mindy and her pig-raisin' days.
some of the cows and horses were out of this world huge. i'm not sure if this picture even remotely does it justice but it was out of control.
there were a few different 'pavilions', all huge, with different themes that just had never-ending booths and displays. there were SO many things to see. we saw all kinds of animals from every region of france. every kind of vegetable, fruit, grain and flower. travel agencies. bread. lots and lots and lots of wine (don't worry we didn't sample any of that). we were there from 11,30 til around 15,30, but we could have been there for a few days and not seen everything.
there was even farm equipment to pose with!
i discovered a new delight today that is in the running as being just as good as nutella. it is a taste and texture like nothing else i have ever experienced. i think that it is caramelized milk, a.k.a. super smooth, milky carmel that i really could eat all day. and thanks to the fact that i purchased my own pot, i have. hooray milquidou.
some of the cows were actually pretty cute. i liked the ones with curly whirly hair.
in the vegetable section we tried the strangest little tomato strawberry cocktail whipped up right before our eyes. i never would have thought tomato and strawberry would work together, but it made for a tasty little smoothie-ish drink.
the best part of it all had to be the samples. free samples EVERYWHERE. mainly, mostly delicious cheese. goat cheese. sheep cheese. cow cheese. blue cheese. every kind, every color, every shape. some good, some less good. we also tried all kinds of saucisson, flower flavored candies, breads, yaourts...
one booth even stir-fried up some lamb for us, right before our eyes!
and the eyes of the sheep on display right next to him. yikes.
free sample loving.
the second best free sample: apples. lots of apples. these apples were a little bit carbonated. and the old fashioned corers reminded me of party's with miche. i was in heaven. also, today i brought back the messy bun. check that out.
there was a large section for all good things from around the world. booths for canada, brazil, sweden, spain etc. etc. i loved all the color in the french-polenisia and tahitian booths.
today i also witnessed a french horse getting a french braid. neat.
i also saw something that i NEVER thought i would see here. wildlife. as in wildlife tees, on sale. here. although i saw no one remotely near this booth, they were there. and i was really excited about it.
and our gluten free girl.
the samples were divine, and the men working the booths were equally great. these two literally said mademoiselle take a picture of me, and then posed/lit their pan on fire. love that. i also flirted with another great chef named max. he was telling us about all the goods he had to offer, "this is liver, this is vegetable mix, this is regular sausage" and then he pointed to himself and said "this is max" i laughed and said i liked max, so naturally he asked for my name. as we were leaving he called out, "make sure you come back, because i like madeline" nothing like flirting with french agriculture expo men.
after the hours spent at the agriculture exposition, we decided we needed to sit down and actually digest all the samples we ate, so we headed to the eiffel tower in hopes of running into one of the girls in our group for her birthday. jamie and i had a classy little photoshoot while allison was a little embarrassed and emily so kindly held out coats.
i love living in france. we didn't run into our friends, but we did see some particularly good looking 'mecs' or guys as we people watched for a good hour.
we had kebabs for dinner, talked about crazy dreams, and made great plans for future adventures. by this point of the day my messy bun was out of control. this is an attempt to capture the crazy curls that the french air causes.
when we finally parted ways with james and allison, they were sad to see us go.
and i came home and had an urge to give myself a makeover. so i did.
and then i had emily take more picture of me.
(she says she really doesn't mind)
we call it the africa butterfly.