Tucked away on the northern side of the hill in Montmartre rests a secret vineyard established by a group of local artists in 1933. Wine has been continuously harvested since its installation and every year the Féte de vendanges celebrates this little piece of Montmartre history.
During the harvest, Montmartre bursts with life as the grapes are crushed and the wine from the previous vintage is opened for the first time. To celebrate, vintage clubs, winemakers, wine enthusiasts and individual characters take to the streets for Le Grand Défilé – the grand street parade.
The clubs parading during the celebration hail mainly from France but there are even groups from as far as Belgium and Ukraine marching the streets. The clubs celebrate their own passions such as dahlia flowers, wine from their home regions and various foods from around the country such as the charming Confrérie de la Fraise – The Brotherhood of the Strawberry.
Just look at these outfits! Strawberry enthusiasts dressed as their favourite berry while handing out strawberry sweets. Adorable.
One club was celebrating the sacred truffle, particularly poignant now that it’s autumn, while others celebrated humour and bonheur as seen with the hand-made sign depicting a full bottom wearing a jester’s hat.
Of course, music plays a large role throughout the parade with bands taking to the street to play their regional music along with dancers wearing traditional outfits. It’s loud and beautiful from start to finish.
One of my favourite groups were the Confrérie de la Gâlette de Sucre et du Gateau Mollet who all wore gorgeous hats inspired by their celebrated breads. If I were to join a club I think it would have to be this one but with a secret membership to a wine club on the side.
One of the clubs was so small, perhaps with tastes so specific, that it contained only two members. Lucky they were an item and walked the parade hand-in-hand.
And what’s a parade without a beauty queen (Ms Montmartre?) and a single man flailing guns? And what was with that group trailing long painted sheets of fabric throughout the parade? I guess we’ll never know. Ah, Paris.
The féte de vendanges de Montmartre is a must on our calendar each year but we tend to avoid the wine harvested from the hill, it’s not exactly le meilleur. However, the parade winds its way up the hill going straight past Studio Ombre HQ so it’s always a pleasure to see such joy on the streets so close to home.
Until next year..