Saturday, October 25, 2014

Fete des Vendanges Montmartre

My first time visiting the annual October Fete des Vendanges Montmartre, Paris' 3rd largest festival. What was I waiting for?
A tiny vineyard up in the18th arrondissement on rue des Saules, Clos Montmartre, the only one in Paris producing wine since the 4th century.

The fete goes on goes on for 5 days with a presentation on the big weekend, a festive parade Saturday afternoon, a grand degustation (tasting) purveyors from all corners of France's hexagon sell sausages, charcuterie, oysters, honey, cheese and more for Friday through Sunday. Plus art exhibits, lectures, cooking classes, performances, contests, concerts.

All manner of confrerie (brotherhoods of local wine and dining societies) dress up in their velvet robes, banners, coats of arms, sing, dance, beat the drums. 

I managed to get inside the vineyard itself for the Ban des Vendages, where the maire of the 18th and other locals of note gather, sing, drum.
Of course there's a queen of the Montmartre harvest every year. Movie actress Sandrine Bonaire was honorary guest along with renown poet-singer Jacques Higelin.

The back of the head of poet-singer year I'll do better.

What to wear to this event? If only I'd known.

If you're not a member of a Confrerie and garbed in Medieval dress, come in black and red like singer Aristide Bruant as Toulouse-Lautrec painted him like members of Republique de Montmartre

Next year I'll know better.

After the Saturday morning ceremony the feasting begins.

"Les Parcours du Gout" (journey of taste) from 10 am till 11 pm Friday - Sunday, followed by evening fireworks on Saturday night at Sacre Coeur.

Masses of Merguese sausages grilling to feed the masses of people. The Montmartre Vendanges is comparable to the Munich Oktoberfest in Germany on a smaller scale.

Gorgeous hams from Corsica, Basque, you name it.
*Buy the ham, not the ham sandwich (sandwiche jambon) for 5-6 euros. Only ONE slice within and no beurre, no nuttin'. There are far better choices. I learned the hard way.

A wide variety of wines to be tasted in tents set up around the butte (hill) Montmartre. *Bringing your own glass is not a bad idea.

Reclette is standard fare at these outdoor affairs.

*Better save yourself for regional specialties like the truffled omelette from the Sud-Ouest(7 euros). I should year.

Or the freshly shucked oysters from Cancale, Brittany for a 10er. Wonderfully fresh and a major bargain in Paris.

Two plateaux around Sacre Coeur double-sided with French regional tasting. Quite an undertaking but so much fun. People picnic on the steps with goodies from the tasting. Who knew right in the heart of Paris? I wish I'd stayed for the evening fireworks. Next year.


  1. What a fun outing!
    Is it chilly there?
    looks it..Love your artwork Carol..
    When did you do the bottom one?
    I'll have a glass of that rouge..

  2. Your sketches sum the October Fete up nicely (and I remember the grape pickers, time flies, though).
    I have never been to the Munich Oktoberfest, but from what I have seen of it on TV, I'd rather be at the Montmartre one, no doubt about it.

  3. Oh to be in Paris...thank you for your charming reminders of why I love Paris so much!

  4. This looks like a lovely event! Thanks for sharing!

  5. France certainly can put on a great fete which ever region you're in. Your phot shoot was great loved seeing the Brotherhood in their regalia. I've now learned to follow which stalls the French choose to eat from, as over the years I've made many mistakes. Lovely to see your opening sketch & also the last one, which from the style I think is one you might have done awhile ago. ? Tomorrow we are off to 'La Fete de la Chataigne' as my region is full of Chestnut trees.

    1. I am So envious! I have flirted with the chestnut fete for far too long.
      I Must go!!! Lucky you.

  6. How transporting! And I have just learned the hard way not to read PB just before dinner!

  7. Carolyn8:48 PM

    You will have to go in search of one of those hats...would be very cute on you! I just read your last post of Delaunay, Kenzo and the licorice. Absolutely brilliant post!!! I continue to be amazed how your mind pulls all of the different elements/artists/events together! (I passed that candy stand everyday last month and never once stopped...wish I did:)

    1. I don't think I have ever passed the Odeon candy stand without a wistful look, rarely a buy... Such pretty colors. Someday i Will go to the Harobo museum in Uzes !!!

  8. Love the Lautrec garb!

  9. Thank you for your reportage! Tu es unique! I hope that from next week there will be a lot of things to do ant to see, because Paris I arrive! Helga

    1. Salon du Chocolate starts Wednesday!
      Get ready !!'

  10. Allie9:55 AM

    the Montmarte festivities brought back happy memories of our visit there. Really great,!!

  11. I forgot to say how your watercolours on this are superb - ça va sans dire ;-)

  12. Winewalker2:17 PM

    I want to know why do you get to have all the fun?


  13. I love your watercolors and your opening photos inside the vineyard looking out :)
    That mass of food on the circular grill looks very inviting right now!

  14. Anonymous5:46 PM

    I discovered your blog this morning and I absolutely love it. I spent my Sunday relaxed reading and enjoying your posts and beautiful photography.

  15. Beautiful sketches,Carol, and wonderful photos!
    Thank you for sharing this with us!
    What fabulous festivities in Montmartre!
    So partial to that place,especially the Sacre Coeur;hubby and I got engaged there fifty years ago!

  16. Thanks for this virtual tour Carol - I doubt I'll get to the vendanges in Paris anytime soon but this was just like being there!

  17. Fête des Vendanges de Montmartre5:41 AM

    Great, many thanks !
    See you next year for the fireworks.
    Best regards,

  18. Carol, I've have a grand time looking at this post. I had no idea that there was a vineyard in Paris. This fete looks like marvelous fun...particularly when the weather is also fine. Just a nip in the air to increase the visitors' appetites!

    Is it always held on the last October weekend? Maybe I could go next year. I'll be sure to pack my red cashmere scarf!

    Lovely, lovely watercolors. Your opening collage is so witty. The closing painting takes us right out to the countryside.


    1. It's the FIRST weekend in October Frances. These fetes are planned that way.
      Who knew?

  19. My husband and I honeymooned in Montmartre. Thanks for bringing back those memories. If you ever get a chance to go to Cancale or that area you can tour the oyster farms. Very interesting. I would have snapped those oysters up too especially at that price. Is there a good harvest this year of oysters?

  20. Hero Husband would have fitted like a glove .... he owns a beautiful dark blue cashmere coat and a long, red scarf.... and any number of hats.
    Should I not be dressed well enough, he could just ask me to wait at the raclette stall and I'd be a happy girl - GOSH - this post really, really gives me serious hunger pangs! And LOVELY paintings by Ms Gillott! :)

  21. Congratulations on even being able to get into the vineyard. Merguez is my number one comfort food in France

  22. I've hear the wine is terrible and the festival is fabulous! Sure looks like it to me -- this is something I would love!

    1. Jeanie, I don't know where you got your info from but I find it difficult to believe that the French wouldn't care for their booze.... especially not for the ONLY wine on Paris Intro Muro grounds... and no, I have no interests whatsoever and no connection with the event.
      But by any means, go and enjoy that spectacle for yourself - you can have raclette instead of wine :) (which is really an acquired taste too.... but for those who love it, it's heaven)

    2. The wine from Clos Montmartre is sold off at auction for charitie. But the other wines on offer, Bordeaux, Rose, Champagne are perfectly wonderful.
      Not to worry

  23. I love your works and words. What a great idea to give life to your travels and experiences. This one especially makes me hungry--food, wine, people..wonderful.


Love hearing from you