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March 06, 2014

The Saut Hermès at the Grand Palais in Paris

By Maud Doyle | Events

The Saut Hermès at the Grand Palais in Paris
© Frédéric Chéhu

The Saut Hermès, a horse-jumping competition held beneath the vast glass nave of the Grand Palais in Paris from March 14 to March 16, blends tradition and sport. Hermès began its illustrious, scarf-wrapped reign over luxury 63 years prior to the Grand Palais’s completion in 1900 for the World’s Fair, creating the finest in leather equestrian goods. But the label’s annual return to its origins is a thoroughly modern nine-round Grand Prix event that attracts the world’s 35 best show jumpers, as well as the Talents Hermès class, which features 20 riders under the age of 25.

The competition is graded CSI 5*—the most difficult level of international jumping (some jumps reach more than five feet)—by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) and the Fédération Française d’Equitation (FFE). Now in its fifth year, the spectacular is hoped to, according to organizers, “revive and develop the tradition of equestrian competitions in the heart of Paris” and happens shortly before next month’s FEI World Cup in Lyon. Along with the contest, French horse trainer Bartabas will present a show called Metamorphosis, inspired by China and performed by riders from his Versailles Academy of Equestrian Arts.

It is fitting that Hermès holds the affair at the Grand Palais. The first Paris Air Show (Salon de la Locomotion Aérienne), held at the glass-and-steel pavilion in 1909, hosted transportation fantasies of the future, with zeppelins, airplanes and hot-air balloons. Saut Hermès celebrates a transportation tradition of the past, showcasing the right measure of skill, sophistication and fantasy to be transportive in its own right. 21 Av. Franklin Delano Roosevelt; for tickets, visit sauthermes.com.