• Paris Celebrates the Montmartre Grape Harvest

    by  • October 2, 2014 • Festivals, Food & Drink, Paris

    The “Fête des Vendanges” is happening in the heart of Paris next week

    It comes as a surprise to many people, even those who know Paris quite well, that some small vineyards still exist within the city of Paris. Probably the most centrally located of these is the Clos de Montmartre. Montmartre was historically a wine producing area and a small area of vineyards still remains there. The “Fête des Vendanges” or wine harvest festival is a tradition which is very much alive and grows more popular each year. The festival will take place between October 8th and 12th this year. It is an eagerly awaited event which is all about tasting wine and fine food.

    The Montmartre vineyard dates back to Roman times. It occupies a site which is surrounded by houses, away from the main tourist trail. The annual festival celebrates the new Cuvée Montmartre vintage and has been organized by the inhabitants of the butte (hill) of Montmartre since 1934. The five days of festive celebrations will include exhibitions, a grand parade, concerts and fireworks set to music.

    Above all, the festival is about gastronomy and there will be plenty of stalls selling regional produce and wine tasting events in various locations in Montmartre. The colourful parade by the various wine and gastronomy societies in honour of Bacchus will take place on Saturday 11th October starting at 3pm from the 18th arrondissement town hall. The lively parade will be accompanied by brass bands and folklore groups. This is one of the highlights of the festival for many people and is followed by a spectacular firework display at the foot of the Sacré Coeur.

    There will be the opportunity to take a free guided tour of the Montmartre vineyard at various times during the festival. The Clos de Montmartre is a vintage wine made from gamay, sauvignon, pinot and riesling grapes. The festival committee organises an auction of wines from the vineyard and profits from the grape harvest and auctions are used for social work in the 18th arrondissement.

    For anyone visiting Paris next week a visit to the Fête des Vendanges is surely a “must”. It’s a wonderful opportunity to sample a truly Parisian event.