FALL FOR FRANCE: Those enamored with all things French will find an abundance of attractions at next weekend’s Taste of France event. And there should be no shortage of Francophiles. Having relocated the Saturday and Sunday extravaganza to Bryant Park, organizers are expecting 100,000 attendees — a serious leap compared to the 5,000 that turned out last year. If immune to the wafts of lavender that will be distilled or the scent of fresh-baked baguettes that will be given out for the gigantic picnic, passersby will be sure to see the hot air balloon and Safran aircraft engines that will be on display. (Air France is the lead sponsor.)
To kick off the festivities, Laurent Fabius, the French minister of foreign affairs, and Guillaume Garot, the French minister for the food industry, will unfurl what is said to be two of the largest French and American flags in the world with the help of 100 French and American students. Cooking demos will be done by such standout chefs as Daniel Boulud, Phillippe Bertineau and Laurent Manrique. Bestselling author Marc Levy will sign books, Michel Mane will distill lavender for perfume, and the Metropolitan Opera’s Peter Gelb will speak before a musical performance Sept. 29.
In addition to French lessons and a French bulldog show, Les Metalliers Champenois, which restored the Statue of Liberty’s torch, will be among the artisans showing off their skills. French-made goods will be sold in an open air market and on-site beauty and hair touch ups will be provided by L’Oreal. Select guests will be able to check out Dassault Systèmes’ 3D interactive film projection of the construction of Paris through the years.