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Fête des Vendanges de Montmarte (Celebrating the Grape Harvest in Montmarte)

Parade at Fête des Vendanges de Montmarte

This Saturday, I felt as if I was part of a television show. In the afternoon, I trotted up to Montmarte in the 18th for the fete des vendages (party to celebrate the grape harvest). Did you know there is a vineyard in Montmarte? A vineyard in one of the world’s most expensive real estate?! The vineyard belongs to a Monsieur Michou (mee-shoo), who resembles the country singer George Jones, a head of thick white hair, big 1960s shadow sunglasses, always clad in a navy blue suit with a big wide smile.

Michou, as everyone calls him, arrived in Montmarte when he was 16 and worked as a commis de restaurant (bottom rung of the kitchen ladder). He slowly worked his way up to own his own restaurant on 80 rue des Martyrs, which later became a cabaret “Chez Michou”. And eventually having his own vintage “Cuvee Michou”, wine produced in Montmarte, Paris, France.

The vineyard in Montmarte is on the northern flank of the Butte de Montmarte (hill of Montmarte), between Rue des Saules and Rue Saint Vincent and is about 1550m2 (0.15ha) only. The cepage (type of grapes) are Beaujolais, Pinot Noir, and hybrids such as Seibel, Couderc, Seyve and Villard blancs. In 2005, this little vineyard produced 850 bottles of wine. Most people say the wine is undrinkable, but worth collecting for the etiquette (label of the wine bottle) that is designed by a different artist every year.

Here’s a short clip of the defile (parade) and special market for regional produce.

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