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Why the France Show (what used to be called the Vive La France Show) should be scrapped.

By No author

Over the years, this show has become more and more out dated and a clear example of poor taste. Yes people were flocking there thanks to the free ticket offer. But what a disappointment! If you think this is the best of France, think again. The whole show screamed of French stereotype and had nothing to do with reality. France has moved on and this was no reflection of what France is now.

When this show started a few years ago, it was truly inspirational. It was a little cheesy of course but most of the companies represented offered good quality products and above all, a true taste of what France was all about. There used to be fashion shows sponsored by some of the top French companies such as L’Oreal. Coffee as well as Ricard was being dished out for sampling. The entertainment was not simply made of girls dancing French Cancan and a few guys in berets pretending to be French.


Accordionist pretending to be French


All the regions of France were represented and along with them came French producers who showed what these regions offered both culturally and financially. It made you want to go there. What a feast for the eyes and for the tummy!

Slowly but surely, the yummy produce has disappeared from Vive La France alias the France Show only to be replaced by a mishmash of uninteresting products with the exception perhaps of a few exhibitors. Alas, all we are left with now is a small gathering of stalls, some desperately trying to sell off their poor quality cheese, and I do use the term “cheese” lightly - as a French person, it pains me to even describe it as such, resembling, as it did, something closer to plastic.  A handful of stalls were more representative i.e the delicious  crepes  we ate on site and the tasty saucissons I decided to take back home.


Gourmet Med
Italian Patisseries at the France show

Yes of course, you could go and have a look at properties you are no longer in a position to afford thanks to the pound having tumbled down faster than you can say go. Despite all that, the few estate agents who decided to venture to London to show properties on their books remained positive and were opened to anything. Their numbers this year had reduced sharply since the last show and the pre-credit crunch era.

To the organisers: please refrain yourselves from organising another show in that format. It is no longer what people want.


10/10/2009 - ratherjune said :

We visited the show several times and thoughly enjoyed it. We now live in France - 'France has moved on!!!' interesting expression!!!!

20/01/2009 - wordlover9 said :

I went to the first couple of shows and enjoyed them on a superficial "I'm not in France so this is the next best thing" level, but even back then I felt there was something cliched about it all. My advice is save up some money and head over the Channel for a few days to experience this great country first hand.

14/01/2009 - knpearce said :

Couldn't agree more. I'm a real francophile and decided to go last year having first visited when the Vive la france exhibition initially began many years ago. It was a real disappointment, taking up only a small fraction of the floor space of the initial show. I remember Galeries Lafyette fashion shows at the first show and other big names. If you didn't want to but property there was very little to see. Didn't visit this year and won't until the format drastically changes.

14/01/2009 - magnificent_moosettina said :

Shouldn't a French Show be a "little cheesy"? Sorry l'humeur brittanique

14/01/2009 - cartierbresson said :

I thought that it was great ! Filter coffee on offer, eating off paper plates, a cacophony of competing voices, the chance to buy vacuum cleaners, hair slides, botex, leather purses etc., numerous chances to buy coats, cosmetics, english furniture, and to eat those classics of French Cuisine - falafels and english sausages ! It was also much appreciated that it was a much smaller exhibition, so that one did not have to 'waste' a whole day taking it all in - an hour sufficed.

14/01/2009 - daniele.calderon said :

Je suis tout à fait d'accord. J'ai acheté une galette des rois pour mes étudiants. Elle était très chère - 15 £ - et n'avait même pas de fève à l'intérieur contrairement à ce que l'on m'a assuré. Le Cancan est peut-être dépassé mais il est toujours aussi populaire.
Je ne suis pas certaine d'y retourner l'année prochaine.
Quel dommage !

14/01/2009 - family.gibb said :

I think you - the wrier has a grudge against the organiser, or you have had an argument with some of the people running the show.
I was still away this week end but my friend & I went to the show last year & fully enjoyed the 2 hours spent there : Novelli's demonstration & the other chef's one, the crepes, the experience on the visit on the boat, chatting to various French people.
If you are so critical, people wont be going to the show, there wont even be one & that will be the end of the French experience in London.
All the stereotypes of French culture are what English people like & look for.We dont want uniformity. Nevermind the technology,promotion of industries. There are different fairs for that.

14/01/2009 - joannall said :

I fully endorse all the above comments. Also the poor people who were trying to compete with the noise of the Cancan whilst they were giving their presentations. Where were the lovely regional stands and food, telling us about the less well know areas? Is it too expensive for them to have a stand there? It is extremely sad as it used to be fantastic.

14/01/2009 - joanna.taylor said :

here, here, we don't go to a French show to buy English food and drink! Who ever thought of that?! Novelli was excellent though and the Moulin Rouge show was good. I would have like a greater variety of French books, cds and dvds to buy and some more cultural stands.

14/01/2009 - jbluck said :

We too were disappointed. And what were they doing, having a stall that was promoting English sausages?? I didn't go to the show to see promotions such as these!

13/01/2009 - j.chneour said :

Hear! Hear! I couldn't agree more. Last year's show was pathetic. I decided then I'd never go again. A complete waste of time.

13/01/2009 - vmangin29 said :

We went to the show for the first time this year and I generally agree with what you are saying.

The majority of stalls were indeed very uninspiring and I was hoping for more regional french produce. From your own description it sounds not so much like the show format has dated and more like they aren't getting the right companies in to show their products. Certainly from your description it sounds like it's got a lot worse. When we went there was no chocolatier and too many vacuuming products.

I did enjoy the cooking demonstration where Jean-Christophe Novelli was told off by the winner of a Telegraph competition for using a granite work surface, trailing his sleeves in the bowl and double dipping his finger when tasting (amongst other things).


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