Happy February 1st. February is a great month to be in Paris. You’ll want to mark February 18th on your calendar as the beginning of Chinese New Year’s 15 day celebration. You can visit either of the two Asian districts of Paris: Belleville (19th & 20th arr.) or Porte d’Italie/Porte d’Ivry in the 13th arrondissement. Stop off at the Tricotin Restaurant, 15 Ave de Choisey for a casual family style meal in the Asian shopping complex which includes Paris Store. Metro: Porte d’Italie. This Chinese year is the Year of the Pig. Some of my best friends are pigs. They say that if a ‘Year of the Pig’ friend is angry with you, the best thing you can do is start throwing food at them. I would highly recommend the Tricotan Restaurant for throwing food because you can throw an awful lot of food at your friend before you’ll ever go broke. Angelique (who first introduced me to Tricotin) is a Sheep (or Mountain Goat) like me. Sheep normally get along with Pigs. My two favorite dishes at the Tricotin are ‘pleya’ which is a beef salad flavored with coriander and Luk Lok, cubed beef served with a lemon pepper sauce for dunking. The reason I loke Luk Lok is because it’s just fun to say – say it ten times fast and you’ll see what I mean. This is also a good dish if you plan on going vegetarian for the next forty days after Mardi Gras (which I won’t)
February 18th is also the celebration marking the end of wintertime overindulgence i.e. Christmas, New Years, and general ‘pigging out’ and the beginning of Lent i.e. dieting to fit into your summer swim suit. The festival of St. Fargeau is a Parisian parade/fair that dates back to the Middle Ages. A Limousine cow (as opposed to the Chinese dragon) leads the parade. She’s called Pimprenelle Saint-Fargeau II. In Lenten terms, a fatted cow is supposed to represent your last chance to indulge in a juicy steak before you go on your all-veggie diet for the forty days. In the old days this was done for religious reasons as a sign of sacrifice – nowadays it’s for the sake of being able to fit into the expensive jeans you bought last year that don’t look quite so good this year.
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This is a parade not only for observers but participants as well. The theme this year will be “The Five Continents”. You are encourage to use that theme when you’re planning your costume for the event. It begins on rue Le Vau in the 20th arrondissement and ends up at the Hotel de Ville or Paris Town Hall in the 4th Metro: Hotel de Ville. For more details, you can visit the official website of The Paris Carnival Company called ‘Les Fumantes de Pantruche’. www.carnaval-pantruche.org, Tel 01 45 43 58 28
February 18th. Assembles at 1:30 pm.
Depart at 3 pm. Rue Le Vau (20eme).
The parade will follow the following route: Rue le Vau, Rue Belgrand, Place Gambetta, Avenue Gambetta to Menilmontant, Boulevard de Menilmontant, Boulevard de Belleville, Rue du Faubourg du Temple, Place de la Republique, Rue du Temple, Rue de Turbigo, Rue Beauboug, Rue du Renard, Rue de la Coutellerie and arrive around 7 pm at Avenue Victoria across from the Paris City Hall.
Google Map Site for Tricotin Restaurant (copy and paste!)