OVER THE LAST SIX YEARS, THE SAUT HERMÈS HAS BROUGHT SHOW-JUMPING BACK TO THE CENTRE OF PARIS AND CREATED A TOP-LEVEL SPORTS EVENT.
By Therese Alhaug. Photo Malene Nilssen
We are at the Saut Hermès at Grand Palais. You hear the horse snort while the sound of rhythmic drumming hooves against the sandy ground create acoustics in the large majestic hall; And then the jump. Silence descends. The audience holds its breath as the horse and rider jump and sail graciously through the air. Through the glass dome, the sun shines in and throws its shine on the equipages in the majestic Grand Palais
Along Champs-Élysées Boulevard towers the venerable Grand Palais. A magnificent neoclassical structure, that with its characteristically curved glass roof, forms a highly visible structure in the Parisian landscape. Here, in the heart of Paris, the annual and prestigious horse jumping show Saut Hermès takes place. Every spring Saut Hermès invites the elite to a five-star jumping event. This show, which was arranged for the first time in 2010, has already become a tradition for Paris and its citizens. The scenery and luscious props are breathtaking. In historic surroundings, this is a cultural event that offers a world-class horse-jumping event served up on a gold platter.
“Success hangs on so little. On a breath of air, and that is what makes it so beautiful.”
It is easy to become impressed by this massive and impressive building that almost appears surreal compared to what we are used to see at equestrian event arenas. This is an arena that knows how to cast glory and honor on the majestic horse, which is itself, the symbol behind
The tribune walls are decorated in brilliant colors. Giant strips of paper in spring colors flow down from the roof. A majestic and almost religious atmosphere rests under the large glass domes of the Grand Palais. Architectural cast iron decorations in art nouveau style are accompanied by green iron beams. The structure stretches undeniably high up to an enormous glass roof that allows the sun to shine over the entire hall. If it wasn´t for the sound of snorting horses, you would imagine being in a cathedral.
Historical Grand Palais
Grand Palais was erected for the World Exhibition in 1900 as a showcase hall for art, equestrian sport, automotive and aerial shows. Already from 1901 to 1957 equestrian competitions took place here for both horse-drawn carriages and jumping. Thereafter equestrian shows disappeared for 60 whole years. In 2010 Hermès saw to it that the arena again was used for horse and equestrian sports by inviting the equestrian elite to participate in the Saut Hermès Show for the very first time. The historic Grand Palais has furnished equestrian art with a worthy showcase in the heart of one of Europe´s metropolises. The sponsor of the grand event is Paris’s pride, the venerable Hermès brand.
More than silk scarves
While most people associate fancy leather handbags and lush silk scarves with the Hermès brand, most horse lovers are particularly fond of the finely polished handcraft behind the Hermès leather collection. In fact, the horse was the foundation for the establishment of this great company, when Thierry Hermès started his first delivery of harnesses for the many horse carriages that pranced up and down Champs-Élysées. In time, the production of handcrafted leather, at Faubourg Saint Honoré 25, moved from harnesses to high-quality riding saddles made to measure to fit the individual rider and his horse.
The riding arena in the Grand Palais is an esthetic experience that thanks to its intimate tribune arrangement allows the public to come close to the riding course, to the riders and to the horses. In a comparatively narrow arena, the main classes, Grand Prix Hermès and Saut Hermès, offer massive hurdles with many difficult distances between the combinations.
Apart from the elite riders Saut Hermès welcomes the sport´s young and aspiring equipages to Paris. «The talent Hermès» give riders under the age of 25 the opportunity to compete in this splendid arena under the mentorship from senior riders. This is a unique and different mentoring concept that brings the horse sport a step forward.
Box: ABOUT HERMÈS
The French fashion house of Hermès was established in 1837 and is renowned for their uncompromising high-quality handcrafts. They make clothes, perfumes, and leather goods such as harnesses, belts and handbags. Hermès is known for, among other things, for the Kelly handbag and the Birkin handbag. The origins to Hermès started with the handcrafting and production of harnesses for horses that drew carriages up and down Champs-Élysées Boulevard. The old horse carriages have therefore the honor of adorning the Hermès logo. Today saddle production for the horse sport has taken over most of the harness production. In addition, they make a well-designed collection of leather goods, clothing, and equipment for horse and rider. Paris is the headquarters for Hermès.