Sunday, 12 October 2014

A Happy Paris Day

Yesterday was one of those days that make me happy to be in Paris.

It didn't start off so well. I woke up to a grey morning at 7am with the aches and pains of a cold that has been nagging at me since Thursday and spent most of the morning doing housework ... slowly. By midday, however, with the hoovering and bathroom-cleaning out of the way, the next task on my list was to make chocolate brownies. Things were looking up, especially when the brownies came perfectly cooked and not at all burnt out of our notoriously unreliable oven.

By the time I left the flat in the early afternoon, the skies had brightened and so had my spirits. I met my group of expat copines at Anvers metro and we made our way up the Butte de Montmartre to the heart of the Fête des Vendanges.

I hadn't been to the Fête des Vendanges since that memorable occasion back in 2009 when my mother was smacked on the derrière by an official member of the French Society of Bottom Slappers. We didn't see the parade this time (that takes place this afternoon), but we spent more time just strolling among the stalls and trying out different wines. It's not an event where the producers expect to sell large quantities, so rather than offering free tastings with the expectation that you will buy a few bottles afterwards, many of the vendors just sell small glasses for two or three euros each. I didn't buy any bottles to bring home, but my friend did talk me into buying a vine for my windowsill - watch this space to see if Projet Potager one days morphs into Projet Vignoble (or, more realistically, whether I manage to keep the plant alive at all.)

There are also endless opportunities to sample cheese and sausage, and you can buy bigger portions of take-away food such as tartiflette, raclette sandwiches and even a foie gras toastie with caramelised onions. There was also an event called the Ecole du Gout where you could watch chefs preparing food and taste the results, but that was quite crowded and a lot of the time you couldn't really see what was going on.

Apart from one tightly-packed street, however, the rest of the fair was not too crowded at all. The sun was shining on the Butte and it was a beautiful place to enjoy a glass of wine in the open air and gaze out at the views. Montmartre is one of my favourite parts of Paris and I always come back from there a little bit more enamoured of the city I sometimes love to hate. 


  1. It's late for the vendanges, no? I thought it was in September. Maybe it depends on the région.

    Montmartre is awesome if you know where to go, i.e. avoid the tourist traps.

    1. You're right, Zhu - I'd never thought of that. Maybe they wait until all the harvesting everywhere is finished, then bring everyone together for the party?

  2. That does sound like a lovely day! You know I love a good wine fest!

    1. You should come to Paris next year! Not the most serious of wine festivals, but the atmosphere is good fun and the view is fantastic!