The summer atmosphere haves arrived in Bordeaux! The month of June has already been filled with events in every corner of Bordeaux that brings the city to life. During the next couple of weeks, I’ll be posting updates on the festivities around the area.
We started out with the Foire internationale de Bordeaux (International Fair of Bordeaux), which took place between May 28 and June 5. A friend and I decided to go on the last day of the fair without knowing what the whole thing was about. All we wanted to see initially was the Fabuleuse Egypt exhibition, and little did we know that we were in for a mini World Expo.
Upon arriving at Parc d’Exposition, we saw rows and rows of booths and kiosks from countries all around the world – many countries had more than one booth – selling their specialties, ranging anywhere from food to clothing to musical instruments to crafts. These countries included but were not limited to Madagascar, Tahiti, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, China, Thailand, Senegal, Italy, Russia, Canada, Egypt, and Peru. At various points during the day, there were also dance performances from the islands in the French Overseas Departments and Territories, such as Martinique, La Réunion, and Guadeloupe. Never have I wanted to visit Martinique so much!
An anticipated short visit turned into a 4-hour outing as my friend and I roamed around the exposition grounds, surrounded by a million different colours and attracted by the unique items on sale. We wandered from booth to booth, cozily packed together, and saw quite a lot of fun and unusual stuff that you wouldn’t expect to see in Bordeaux.
A piece of ornament from an African country, either Senegal or Madagascar, I can’t remember exactly.
More ornaments and wooden sculptures from Africa. Some of these have quite funny shapes and were rather amusing to look at.
Booth from Italy selling gigantic hunks of meat and cheese, the perfect combination for a hungry visitor. Of course, one wouldn’t miss the enormous sausages hanging in the back.
A closer look at the Italian cheese, sitting there just tempting you to grab a chunk of it and run. There were actually samples of the cheese for tasting and boy, was it delicious! Not too strong to the point where it’d taste absolutely bitter, but poignant enough to not taste like plain processed cheese. I think the saltiness was perhaps what made it more special.
Anybody want some nice long leather coats for the upcoming winter?
There was no sign on this shop to say what country it was from, but I suspect that it was somewhere oriental and perhaps China (though China did have another stall). Lots of little glass statuettes and mini figurines here on sale.
From the same shop as above, we see here a range of different items on display, including combs, key rings, and wooden flutes. I bought a wooden flute for 1 Euro because I thought heck, it was cheap, and one can never have too many flutes to try out! One thing I actually really want is a pan flute because the sound of pan flutes is absolutely, stunningly beautiful. One day I’ll have to find one of those.
Japanese booth selling katanas. I was wondering whether these were real, and I had the impression that they’d be much more expensive if they were indeed real. I tried to take off the sheath from one of them, but it ended up being rather heavy, so I gave up, not wanting to accidentally injure myself…
Drums from Senegal come in different sizes, and upon closer observation, there is a uniquely different design on each drum body.
Buddhist statues on sale at a booth from Thailand…
…and at the same booth, scarves in the colours of the rainbow are piled up neatly for customers.
If I remember correctly, this is a Vietnamese booth. I liked this one a lot because there were quite a few spiffy items spanned across several kiosks. I love the spectrum of colours here!
These magnetic stones were found in the China booth, but I had no idea that they were in any way “Chinese”…
Samosas from one of the French DOM-TOM (départements d’outre-mer and territoires d’outre-mer). Slightly expensive, yes, but the smell was irresistible, especially since it was lunch time when I walked by and my stomach was growling. So I tried two types, the fish and the crab. While the fish samosa was quite normal and uninteresting, the crab samosa was surprisingly delicious!
Russian booth selling these little dolls among other cute accessories. The Russians had one of the coolest booths of the entire expo, in my opinion, as they sold binoculars, military outfits, and hats made of fox fur (or so they said). The hat was actually very, very nice, but it was on the pricey side and friend and I couldn’t be sure that it was authentic fox fur…so we let it go reluctantly. Still a beauty, though.
So that was the end of the Foire Internationale. Coming up: Bordeaux Fête le Fleuve (River Festival) and Fête de la musique (music festival)! Of course, the famous summer sales in France are coming up in a week or so, super! All in all, I’m anticipating more crowds, performances, fireworks, and just a lot of fun during my first summer in this fabulous city! À plus!