Lyne Chartier

Lyne Chartier

Experience Paris, without leaving Nelson

The West Kootenays Francophone Association (AFKO) is hosting its first French Extra Market on Saturday

The French culture will be yours to experience this Saturday.

The West Kootenays Francophone Association (AFKO) is hosting its first French Extra Market on March 2 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the old Anglican Church Hall on the corner of Ward and Carbonate streets.

But don’t expect to see Bonhomme or a sugar shack — this isn’t the typical celebration of the French culture in Quebec. Instead, the Francophone Association is taking us to Paris.

AFKO staff and friends have been busy building props to transform the church hall into a Parisian street market, which will be packed with more than 20 artisans, artists and food vendors selling their wares.

There will be a licensed area to sip French wine, while eating a croissant or jambon beurre.

“We invited many local businesses to take part, but said they should make something that’s not on their regular menu,” said AFKO’s Director Lyne Chartier. “We want to have something special at our market that you can’t usually find in Nelson.”

To add some variety to the event, Chartier said they have also invited a beauty salon, which will be doing French manicures. There will also be live buskers and activities for children.

“We want to have something for everyone,” Chartier said. “We’re really hoping it won’t just be our francophone community that comes out, but also the English-speaking people and families in Nelson who want to experience something different.”

The French Extra Market is a part of the Canadian-wide week “Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie” held in March every year. The local event is sponsored by Grounded Cafe and Itza Pizza. Admission to the French Extra Market is by donation.

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The West Kootenays Francophone Association will also be hosting a special evening of art improv following the market, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Everyone is welcome to come and judge the performances of three teams comprised of three artists going head to head in a battle of paint brushes.

It is an opportunity to support local artists performing live and buy the artwork at the auction. Admission for this event is $5 per person or $15 for families. Keep a few toonies to enjoy some goodies at the French bistro, open till the end of the evening.