Thursday, 15 October 2009

Fête des Vendanges de Montmartre

After the sedate pleasures of the Orangerie last Saturday afternoon, Mum and I met up with my friend S in Montmartre for some more raucous fun. Last weekend was the Fête des Vendanges de Montmartre, or festival of the grape harvest. Those of you who know Montmartre will probably be surprised to know that it has a grape harvest, but it does. There are several small vineyards tucked away in unlikely corners of the village, and the fact that the actual grape production must be tiny doesn't seem to stop the locals having one massive party to celebrate.

The first thing that we saw was the parade. Not being particularly numerous themselves, the wine producers of Montmartre had supplemented their numbers with...

.. local associations (logical, even if the purpose of the associations wasn't), wine producers from other regions (logical),

...traditional agricultural groups from all over the country (fairly logical) ...

and what seemed to be a selection of other random groups who were happy to get dressed up, drink wine and walk the streets of Montmartre for an afternoon (nor very logical at all).

Non-wine related groups included these gorgeous Venetian carnivallers,

a donkey...

...and the Societé des Taste-Fesses, a society of bottom slappers who amusingly decided to target my mum.

After the parade, we wandered (in the flow of an enormous crowd) through the market. We were disappointed by the lack of free tastings but we did buy some delicious Breton Kouign Amman cake to munch on the way along. We filled a couple of hours with dinner in a restaurant that served mediocre food but had fantastic typically Parisian artwork on the walls, then headed out to the Sacre Coeur for the fireworks display. Unfortunately, the church is largely surrounded by trees, so you have to be right in front of it to see the display properly, but even the glimpses that we caught were pretty spectacular, so we will definitely be there in advance next year to reserve ourselves front-row places!

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