The Fête des Vendanges: In the shadow of Sacré-Coeur, there is a pretty, working vineyard called the Clos de Montmartre. Here, where let’s face it you’d least expect it, grapes are nurtured in the heart of the city and every year harvested and made into wine which is celebrated at a very special Paris wine festival in Montmartre…
Since 1934, the residents of Montmartre have celebrated the grape harvest of Paris though the history of vineyards goes back much further to the times of the Romans who planted miles of vines and built a temple to Bacchus, the god of wine, right in the centre of what is now modern Paris.
A very unique wine festival in Paris
In the busy streets of Montmartre in the 18th Arrondissement each October, a five day programme of events takes place at this cheerful, friendly festival which honours the new vintage of the vineyards on the hill.
Every October there’s a festival with music, workshops, tastings, a flea market, bands, parades, fireworks and much more including a quirky Cérémony des Non-Demandés en Mariage – an eccentric ritual that involves not getting married to your partner. This is followed by the open-air Bal des Non-Mariés at Place des Abbesses, where singletons celebrate not being married.
Wine makers and gastronomic brotherhoods come to this event from all over France and neighbouring countries to showcase their products and there are three days of tastings to enjoy.
Each year the festival recruits an A-list marraine and parrain (godmother and godfather), invited to lead the festivities by the mayors of Paris and Montmartre. The first godmother was the famous Mistinguett of music hall fame.
An auction takes place for the prestigious wines of Clos Montmartre with profits donated to social works in the district. Not well known for its high quality, Just 1500 bottles are produced each year and it’s the rarity of it that pushes the price up. It certainly makes for a fun souvenir and the bottles with labels designed by local artists, have become quite collectable.
This festival is becoming more and more popular and if you’re in Paris when this one is on – it’s a must see for a taste of the authentic, traditional Paris celebrated by the locals.
Details here: fetedesvendangesdemontmartre.com admission free.
Nearest Metro: Abbesses