The posters were everywhere. Blown up on bus stops. Tacked to community bulletin boards. Stretching across Nogent’s main street at its busiest intersection.
Put on by l’association des Chats de France, the Baltard Feline Show is one of the largest cat expositions in France: 300 breeders showing 700 individual purebred cats representing 40 different breeds.
This weekend, in my town, I could gaze upon hundreds of cats all for the low low price of eight euros.
I was sold!
Too embarrassed to admit the truth to my host family,* I told them I was “going out around Nogent” for a couple hours before lunch on Saturday and made a beeline for Nogent’s Pavillon Baltard.
The Pavillon Baltard is itself a piece of Parisian history uprooted and transplanted to Nogent. The building is one of the original structures constructed between 1850 and 1870 by Victor Baltard for les Halles centrales de Paris. In 1969 the market was transferred to Rungis and all but one of the 12 original pavillons were destroyed. The one that survived was then dismantled and subsequently reconstructed in Nogent in 1976 and has been classified an historic monument since 1982. Today the Pavillon Baltard is used as an event space housing everything from private galas, to concerts, to festivals, to pétanque competitions, to cat shows.
The Salon du Chat was immense.
Rows of tables topped with cages and carriers and cats filled the central space on the ground floor; vendors selling things for cats (food, toys, brushes, beds, etc.) and for humans (cat-themed jewelry, mugs, lamps, aprons, etc.) lined the walls; the judges were judging up on the wrap-around balcony; and gleaming at the end of the central aisle were the prizes.
The cats, of course, were the stars of the show. The most common breeds represented seemed to be the Persian and the Maine Coon, but I also saw British Folds, Chartreux, Siamese, Burmese, Bengals, Sphynxes, and many many more.
And kittens. Lots and lots of kittens, many of whom were on sale for prices ranging from 300 to 1000 euros.
I spent an hour and a half wandering the aisles, watching the judging, clicking my tounge at the kitties, snapping photos, and overall grinning from ear to ear like an idiot. It was a (future) cat lady’s dream.
And now, without further ado, the cats!
(Click on an image for larger versions in slideshow format.)
*They found out Sunday because Béné saw the poster from the show hanging on my wall and ratted me out.