Halloween in Paris isn't as popular as it is in the United States. You won't see stores outfitted with skeletons hanging in windows and you won't see people parading around town in costumes. The closest thing you can get to a haunted house is taking a tour of the catacombs at night. Paris does however, have the next best thing, with a celebration of all things sweet at the Salon du Chocolat, a patisserie party that goes on for five days in a convention sized, two story arena.
Before you get into the grand pavilion, you smell it. Butter and sugar fill the air and as soon as you step foot inside, it's in your lungs, and soon enough, in your belly.
It's sensory overload.
Nearly every booth is handing out samples of their chocolate, claiming to be the best in France.
Some booths were straight up selling slabs that you can buy by weight - the chocolate's weight, not your's, thank goodness.
There's chocolate covered marshmallows, perfect little squares, and beautifully jars full of anything your sweet tooth craves.
Then there are the chocolate formations of flowers, bouquets, shoes and (non-edible) jewelry.
And what's a chocolate festival unless you have it literally flowing down walls and into giant goblets.
You do get some alternatives to chocolate with the ever present French macarons and amandes.
I even enjoyed a foie gras, chocolate and fig sandwich. So very French with rich on rich and the right amount of sweetness.
As if all this chocolate shopping and eating wasn't enough, the big draw is the chocolate inspired fashion show. Oh yes they do.
This has to rival fashion week. I was nearly trampled by people trying to get pictures of the sweet creations.
It was the most overtly animated I had ever seen the French - both on the stage and off. The latest tunes were playing while people oooed and ahhhhed as women emerged with wings, feathers, and burst out of big cocoa beans.
The models strutted their stuff as if they knew they had the most plum assignment in town.
Everyone was entertained, including moi, and I thought, man, the French really do know how to celebrate Halloween.