Photo by @mymontmartre
Pop open the Champagne, it’s the 90th edition of the Fête des Vendanges de Montmartre! And don’t just stop at the bubbles – keep all the French wine flowing.
The “vendanges” is the time of year in France when grapes are harvested for wine production. Beginning around the end of August and finishing around the beginning of October, the grape harvest is a very important time of year and an essential part of French culture. Many people from around the country take a break from their normal lives to participate in the vendanges, contributing to the creation of one of France’s ultimate delicacies.
To celebrate the end of the harvest season, and the culmination of a new year’s vintage, a large party is hosted by the town or village. One of the largest harvest celebrations to date is thrown by an area that is not particularly world-renowned for its wine production, but it is certainly known for its parties: Paris Montmartre.
Since 1934, the famous district in the north of Paris has hosted a grand fête (party) every year to celebrate the harvest of the modest 1,556 square meter (0.29 acre) plot of vines on a hill in the 18th arrondissement. The wine production, called the Clos de Montmartre, amounts to around 500 liters of wine per year, about 1,700 bottles.
While the harvest is the catalyst of this joyous event, over the years, the Fête des Vendanges de Montmartre has come to signify more than just a celebration of wine. In 2008, the Town Hall of the vineyard’s neighborhood decided to extend the festival to all the districts of the 18th arrondissement with the aim of showcasing a myriad of cultural elements from this dynamic area.
Local delicacies like mussels and snails to taste at the Fêtes des Vendanges de Montmartre
The week-long celebration in Montmartre features musical productions like dances and concerts, performances from the children’s choir, as well as athletic activities like night runs and sports competitions. On Friday, a grand parade makes its way through the hills of Montmartre, ending at the foot of the Sacre Coeur where vendors await to sample cultural delicacies like snails, mussels, and – of course – wine!
For the 90th edition of this exciting affair, the Fête des Vendanges de Montmartre pays tribute to the spirit of the “Olympism” in the run up to the Olympic and Paralympic Games hosted in Paris next year! Borrowing the Olympic motto, “Faster, higher, stronger – together,” the values of this year’s festival highlight respect for oneself and one’s body, as well as respect for others and for the environment. These values are particularly present in the DNA of the 18th arrondissement and its inhabitants, serving as a fitting theme for the spirit of the convivial event.
This year, the festival runs from October 11th to the 15th. If you’re in Paris this week, head up to the hills of the historic village at the foot of the Sacre Coeur to get a well-rounded taste of France’s cultural delicacies.