Talking About Death for Better Living – The Salon de la Mort (Part 1)

Flowers in the Parc des Buttes Chaumont - April 6, 2011

Hey, kids.

That review of David Downie’s PARIS, Paris: Journey Into the City of Light is coming very, very, very soon, but this is a bit of a “news flash” item that I kind of got myself into posting. You know how you get yourself into stuff and then wonder how it was that you did, and then it also comes with some strings that you didn’t imagine it having?

Well, yeah. I managed to do that, but it is about something interesting.

Read more to find out about what!

Salon de la Mort

Here’s the story, morning glory.

So, some of you know Paul, my other half and correspondent for not only his own blog, Paris Inspired, but also for Bonjour Paris. Paul often receives invitations as said correspondent.

Some time ago, he received an invitation for a vernissage (opening) for something called the Salon de la Mort — the Death Fair/Expo.

*pause*

I had to stop there just to laugh my ass off a little because this is really kind of, well, funny, in that “dark comedy” kind of way.

A Death Fair? Really?

Apparently so.

More backstory: Paul and I started blogs for a few reasons, one of which is to practice our craft (writing). We also try to use the blogs as an excuse and/or motivation to get out and do more things in the city. Some of you may remember the post I wrote ages ago where I explain that because Paul has lived here for more than 20 years, he treats Paris as his longtime wife. I should probably make that past tense — he treated Paris as his longtime wife. These writing gigs have given Paul the opportunity to go to events as a journalist of sorts, and see and do things he might normally not. It’s been working! Paul is renewing his interest in Paris and getting out to see and do more things.

Well, while I have been able to join Paul in some of these endeavors, what had started to happen is that Paul was getting a lot of solitary invites to events, and going out on his own to report on them. This seemed sort of counterintuitive to me. I mean, I was kind of hoping and thinking that blogging about things in Paris might get us out doing things together. That was part of the “mission,” I thought. So when he explained that he would be going to the Salon de la Mort and that it was going to be in the Carrousel du Louvre, I was all “Heyyyyy, I have wanted to go to the Carrousel du Louvre for a long time now and have not had occasion to do so!”

I asked Paul to see if I could tag along on his assignment.

In order to do so, Paul had to email the contact person, and let her (I think it was a “her”) know that I, too, have a blog and would like to attend with Paul.  Paul informed me last night that it was a “GO,” but, oh yeah, it sounded like I should indeed post something about the event on my blog, too.

The event is time-sensitive — it’s happening this weekend. Et voilà. You have this post.

Salon de la Mort

Here are the deets, peeps. (That was slang for “Here is the information about the salon, my friends.”)

WHAT IS IT?

Here is a description of the expo from the site Memorie des Vies, translated via Google Translate, and revised by me (hopefully retaining the meaning of the original. Translator, I am not).

After the automotive, marriage, boating, and student fairs… this is a “Living Death” Expo.  The goal is to bring together 200 exhibitors, from the classic funeral providers such as mortuaries to funeral caterers who can create after-funeral buffets.

“Death affects us all, but it’s an event about which we do not talk. I want to make this show happen so that finally we can discuss our own death, about our future, and about being prepared for the eventuality of death,” says the organizer of the event.

WHY HAVE THE EVENT?

Also from the Memorie des Vies article:

[Having a fair such as this] allows for meetings and exchanges that a person normally would not receive. A fair concerning “Living Death” can begin to break down taboos by creating a dialogue between exhibitors, speakers, and visitors. Press and media can amplify the message.

It makes sense to me to have this kind of event.

I just finished watching all five seasons of the HBO series “Six Feet Under” the night before last, and it feels really appropriate having done so to visit this kind of fair, actually. As we all know, the only certainty in life is death, and I think it is probably true to say that the majority of us are woefully under-prepared for that eventuality. Dying without some kind of Living Will or other provisions can, at the least, leave family and friends in the lurch, paying for death services and being at odds about what to do, about what the person (you!) would have wanted in noting his or her (your!) exit from this planet.

For more information, read the entirety of the Memorie des Vies article (using Google Translate, if necessary — it is built into the Chrome browser that I use, thankfully).

WHERE , WHEN and HOW MUCH?

Here’s all you need to know. Information is from the La Gazette des Salons website.

Duration: 3 days

Opening Date: Friday, April 8, 2011

Closing date: Sunday, April 10, 2011

Hours:

  • Friday 8 and Saturday, April 9, from 10:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, April 10, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Admission prices:

  • 10 euros full fare
  • EUR 5 half-price

Location:

Carrousel du Louvre, 99, Rue de Rivoli , 75001 Paris
(the website for the Carrousel du Louvre explaining access is linked)

Organizers: Senior Entreprise

Phone: 01 53 75 00 17

Website: www.salondelamort.com

There is a lot more information (in French) on the Salon de la Mort website, including videos about why the event exists and the schedule of programs/talks being given during the expo.

The salon also has a Facebook Fan Page (who doesn’t these days?) here.

There you go. A Death Fair. Hopefully a reportage will follow, depending on what I learn there.

Hasta la pasta, amigas (y amigos).

Your,

Paris Karin

(an alien parisienne)

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20 thoughts on “Talking About Death for Better Living – The Salon de la Mort (Part 1)

  1. Wow. Y’all certainly get invited to some interesting things! Have fun at the Death Fair! (It’s kind of funny to say that). 🙂

    • Woot, woot! It’s HILARIOUS to say that! This is really kinda up my alley, so I am pretty happy to be attending. 🙂

  2. hmmm….that’s just plain weird …yet interesting non the less.

    • Gloriously weird, no? Man, I have a dark bone in my body, lol. 😀 I hope to get some interesting information and photos. I’m leaving in about 15 mn…

  3. Carole

    Isn’t there a song about this: “Let’s talk about death, baby, let’s talk about you and me, let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be, let’s talk about death.” Oops! It’s talk about sex, which (hopefuly) ends in la petite mort, and not death which is The Big Sleep! 😉

    • Carole, you always crack me up. 😀 Here’s a funny tie-in. When Paul first said he was going to this event, I thought he said it was a “Salon de l’Amour” — an expo about love & sex, hahahaha! Nooooo, it is a “Salon de LA MORT.” Slightly different pronunciation, but to my untrained ear? Pretty much the same. Yeah, I think I would rather experience more “les petits morts” and not “la grande mort.” Yuh-huh. Yup. Although now I know about the various different kinds of cool urns my ashes can be put into! More on that later… it was a trip!

  4. Fascinating! I guess avoidance of the subject of death is not just for Americans. Being fans of black humor and also extremely practical, death is not a taboo subject for me and the Mr. but I know plenty of Americans who simply will not talk about it. It’s the same with earthquakes in LA – nobody wants talk about Japan right now, they just act like it didn’t happen.

    So, were there a lot of goths and vampires there? That look seems to have bitten the dust (pun! ha ha)

    • Susan. Seriously. I am SO looking forward to your being here because after this comment (and the ones about BSG and a couple others, too) I think we are going to get along FAMOUSLY. It was interesting to hear from some of the showcase people at the salon express how taboo the subject of death is in France. They perceived Americans as being much more open about it, but then I, like you, know of plenty of people who want to avoid the entire subject! Not me — wayyyy to amused by dark topics to want to avoid it, and I had a kick-ass time at the salon, too. I have to do the book review, but then plan to write about all the things we saw. It was fantastic! Very morbid, hahaha.

      Not lots of goths (lol @ the pun!), but I did wear a fun t-shirt that fit in with the theme. I’ll post a photo later. 🙂

      Can’t wait until you get here! 😀

      • 😉 The feeling is mutual! Looking forward to that t-shirt photo!

      • I just posted the book review, so the Death Review (lol) is next. 🙂

        Are you here yet? Are you here yet? 😉

  5. Hi there, maybe you might be interested in an interview with one of the Salon de la Mort organisers? http://hotelswelove.com/2011/04/07/death-it%E2%80%99s-not-as-bad-as-you-think/

    • Thank you, Hotelswelove. I have to say that your username seems spamtastic, but I looked at the information you posted at the link there & it was really nice/informative! Thanks for stopping by to link in here. 🙂

  6. Oh, can’t wait to hear what it was like!

  7. ken

    This is actually something that became very important in the last couple of years as it became part of political discourse (funding time to talk to doctors about preparig for death became “death-panels” to be attacked by those who cater to the lowest mental denominator). Somehow, something so simple has become very complicated in tat even your own wishes CAN be overridden if one does not take proper stes.

    And now there are so many choises from a “green” burrial to having your ashes launched into space and when the hardest thing for the family to figure out used to be which bank you’ve hidden your riches in, now, it is the pass words to your on-line accounts and all that is stashed away in virtual reality. One can really appreciate a place that not only teaches one how to talk about the unthinkable, but also give us a check list for those things we don’t even know existed.

  8. Lovely tulips in the Buttes Chaumont. Must get there soon.

    • Hi Opal! Yes, you do! The Horse Chestnut tree blossoms are going crazy now, I just discovered today. AH-CHOO! 😉 The Rosa Bonheur is open from Wed-Sun, noon onward. It would be terrific to meet up with you there to sit and enjoy the springtime!

  9. Pingback: Talking About Death for Better Living – The Salon de la Mort (Part 2) « An Alien Parisienne

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