PARIS — They say that Paris is the city of love, or “l’amour”, but you might not have guessed that this past weekend. New Start, France’s first divorce fair, drew more than 4,000 people with exhibits and seminars offering everything fromlegal adviceto tips on how to meet new partners.
New Start is the latest in a recent trend in divorce fairs across Europe. Austria held one in 2007, and there was one in Brighton, England called The Starting Over Show this past March. New Start, which took place at a northwestern Paris conference hall, comes in the wake of the divorce of French president Nicolas Sarkozy.
“We [Paris] have long had the Marriage Fair, and I thought, ‘why not a fair for people going through separations?'” Brigitte Gaumet, the organizer of the event, toldThe Associated Press. “Lots of people going through divorces — and also people getting separated or who are widowed — are looking for information on how to bounce back and how to reconstruct.”
Gaumet added that the Sarkozy’s divorce — and his remarriage to supermodel Carla Bruni — has “crystallized that divorce has lost its stigma and is really a commonplace thing”.
Most of the fair’s attendees reportedly were women. Some of the event’s seminars included “Plastic Surgery’s Role in Re-Conquering Your Image”, “How to Re-Seduce Your Partner Using the Gestalt Method”, and “Separation: What does alawyerdo?” Meanwhile, there were more than 60 exhibits offering weight-loss tips, fortune readings, self-esteem coaching, and makeovers. The booths offering legal advice proved most popular.
According to France’s National Institute of Demographic Studies, the nation’s divorce rate is close to 50%. There were more than 130,000 French divorces in 2007, well over two-and-a-half times the numbers in similarstatisticsduring the late 1970s.