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Le Saut Hermès at the Grand Palais

The spirit of sport

While Paris prepares to host next month’s World Cup finals and the 2024 Olympic Games, the greatest champions on the international equestrian scene go head-to-head on 16th, 17th and 18th March 2018 under the glass roof of the Grand Palais.

© Frédéric Chehu

© Matthieu Raffard

“Let’s play!”: this ninth Saut Hermès at the Grand Palais is a celebration of the horse and of the sport, imbued with a strong spirit of the game. Over here you see a rocking horse, over there a giant chess piece; and close by are the arcades of the Paris store at 24 Faubourg Saint-Honoré in miniature… all set out in the arena. A playful nature is helpful to imagine them as jumps at the Saut Hermès at the Grand Palais, a competition that, since 2010, has drawn the world’s finest riders and enables them to gain points for the international rankings.
This year, the Saut Hermès at the Grand Palais welcomes the Spanish course designer Santiago Varela Ullastres, along with his French counterpart Grégory Bodo. This new master of ceremonies will deal a new hand for each class, creating a course that offers “the greatest harmony between man and horse that this sport demands”.
For the second year running, the equestrian games will continue after dark. Under the stars, emotions run even deeper during the Prix du 24 Faubourg, a test of speed in which the athletes compete against the ticking clock. After this highlight, the atmosphere changes. Time slows down, the lights are dimmed, and the arena hosts another game, this one featuring the set and actors of Récréation, an original choreography conceived by Bartabas, founder and artistic director of the Versailles Academy of Equestrian Arts. There is no human presence in the arena; 70 young Welsh ponies play the leading roles. In total freedom, they communicate through their bodies, respond to each other, and play. Daytime performances of Récréation also take place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
From dream to reality, from the real to the virtual… At the Saut Hermès at the Grand Palais, horses are not only celebrated in the arena, but also in the stands, in the walkways of the Grand Palais, and in another dimension too: in everyone’s hands, on their smartphones. To celebrate the theme of the year, “Let’s play!”, Hermès invites the public to try their hand at H-pitchhh, the horseshoe pitching game. With a life-size movement, throw the horseshoe over the stake. Be warned, it takes dexterity and luck. It’s time to test yours and play now!