by Jane Rosenstein and Didier Lambert
(Porte de Versailles, Paris, France) -This year the Foire de Paris, created 112 years ago, held from April 29 – May 8,2016 at the Porte de Versailles Convention Center was an event for people to come to shop, learn and enjoy entertainment. It was a profitable event as visitors spent 2.5 million Euros each day. Eight visitors out of ten purchased goods. It is estimated that 93% of the visitors came to see new items. This year 518,244 attendees attended to purchase items that they purchased at previous Foires de Paris but could not find in their regions in France, to get bargains at see new innovations, buy jewelry, beauty and food products, wine and other alcoholic beverages and enjoy musical groups. The focus on young entrepreneurs featured 73 young start up companies.
Exploria whose slogan is ¨Explore the Future¨ presented an interactive robot named Sheldon who welcomed visitors. An space of 400 square meters was devoted to robots: 3 humanoids, 2 drones and 1 exoquette. Visitors marveled while being served drinks at the first bar hosted by robots. A game ¨Be the Robot¨ where players could control the robots’ movements was fun.
The Basque region presented their sport pelotte Basque ,played with a ball, for the first time at Foire de Paris There was initiation and tennis pelotte with chistera, bare hands and with leather balls.. The sport was sponsored by Ligue de l’Ile de France and the Féderation Française de Pelotte Basque.
An electric car that can be driven by those born before 1988 without a driver’s license was on display. It is for trips around the city and does not have high speed for highway driving.
The show featured three main areas of interest: household items, shopping and gastronomy.
One special area composed of 150 exhibitors was the ¨Do It Yourself or DIY¨area. These stands featured colors, advice and things to achieve household designing projects, sewing, cooking, knitting and gardening.
A special ironing table that does ironing without an iron made by a company Clean Vap was on display and people were fascinated as the demonstrators showed how to press garments without irons.
An exhibitor with a convincing showman’s style sold many many Magic Mops that have the unique feature of wringing out the water. He spilled liquids on the floor and intrigued the audience crowding the aisle to watch as he showed how the Magic Mop was effective in absorbing liquids and foods including ketchup and then pumped and twisted the special handle to wring out the liquids. The crowd heard that it costs 10 Euros at the show for the mop and 5 Euros for the refill head and about 19 Euros just for the Magic Mop plus shipping if ordered on the internet. He sold many with handles in different colors such as rose, yellow, green and blue. He was a good salesman and and presented only ten Magic Mops for sale. He asked the interested buyers to raise their hands. Of course more were available. Some customers had bought the mop in previous years. Those buyers, we spoke to were happy with their Magic Mops.
On May 6 there was a conference on architecture which included the energy efficiency and on May 7, a conference from the regional consul of the Ile de France was presented with the theme of how to choose and work with an architect.
During the Foire, there was music and dancing in the aisles. Over fifty musical acts from Guadalupe, Martinique, Reunion, Polynesia Haiti and Guayan were performed
There were two special night events when the admission price was reduced to 5 Euros.
May 3 was a night for shopping and also musical entertainment. With the musical theme for the Foire de Paris this year Festival Tropiques en Fête this night of Carnival Tropical featured an orchestra conducted by Thierry Fanfant with zouk music. ¨Before Kassav¨ a group directed by Chiré Douvan with well known musical talents performed.
May 6 was another special night with the same reduced price admissions. The group soirée Bodega from the Basque region performed. Also the shopping continued. There was also dancing in several aisles.
May 8 featured the competition of Barmen jugglers by a company Fly Bottle. It was the final competition of the fly battle rookies. Other competitions by Fly battle included the competition of the Fly battles Pro.
Gourmet food and beverages were specialties Many unusual beverages including fruit cocktails with alcohol such as the unique Fine Cocktails a start up company started by Clarisse and Carrine which produces four varieties lemon, ginger and vodka, raspberry, lemongrass and vodka, lychee, ginger and gin and mango, mint and Irish whisky. The bottles are 200 ml. which is easy to prepare- just serve over ice.
Punch from Guadalupe served at a stand from Guadalupe was delicious especially the spiced punch.
Specialties from France like boudin, ham, sausages, French cheeses as well as the specialties from the Antilles like the accras were delicious. There was a special prize for Créole cooking as well as cooking demonstrations of Créole cooking. The Basque specialties included Bayonne ham, cheese and cakes. Also they presented their wines.
Foire de Paris 2016 was a unique, innovative, educational and enjoyable event. The next foire is the Foire d’Automne on October 21, 2016.
Jane Rosenstein is a U.S. citizen living in Paris, France. She is a professional translator/interpreter. She is the owner of The International Connection which does international marketing consultation including sales of wine, interpretation, and translation. She enjoys the cultural life that living in Paris offers and has talents in organizing events. She speaks English, French, and Spanish.
She has a B.S. degree in mathematics from University of Pittsburgh and an M.B.A. degree from Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA.