Saturday, April 19, 2008

Fair at Beaucroissant

I spent the afternoon with Linda (a local nurse who has become a personal friend) at the Beaucroissant Fair, in a rural setting to the north of St-Marcellin.

It's a vast and ancient event, which takes place twice a year. The April session lasts for two days. By tomorrow evening, they're expecting a quarter of a million visitors.

As for the September session, it dates back to the year 1219, and is expected to attract about a million visitors.

The April session specializes in farm animals, but there's a little bit of everything at the Beaucroissant Fair. There are many presentations of tractors and farm machinery, while other stands propose kitchen stoves and cooking equipment.

The only thing I bought at the fair today was an ice cream. But I got expert advice on interesting topics such as breeding peacocks, rearing llamas and installing wood-burning ovens. To be honest, in such an environment, I would be capable of returning home with boxes of geese, rabbits, etc. As I said to Linda: "If you see me about to purchase an animal, please stop me."

In general, the people who flock to this famous fair would appear to be country folk who need to purchase goods of a practical nature. You can tell at a glance, from their typical appearance, that most visitors to the fair are not refined urban residents. On the other hand, there's a standing joke about the fact that one should never buy a horse or a cow at Beaucroissant, because you might get home and discover that the beast has only three legs... or maybe five!

Many visitors, of course, are young people from the surrounding villages who come here for the simple thrill of the fair.

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