French Tradition: Les Vendanges
Summer has come to an end and we are entering the season of golden leaves, a brisk breeze in the morning, and all things pumpkin-flavoured. However, autumn also marks the beginning of an age-old French tradition. Les vendanges, the wine harvest, is a time of physically demanding work as many vineyards still collect the grapes by hand before pressing and fermenting the juice under strict supervision. Depending on the size of un vignoble (a vineyard), it can take up to two weeks to hand-pick all the grapes. Nevertheless, every year thousands of people across France volunteer to participate in the wine harvest, often in return for a meal and a place to sleep rather than a wage. To the workers, the few weeks during which the harvest takes place are usually synonymous with backpain and challenging weather conditions. However, an abundance of celebrations have also established themselves over the centuries in order to commemorate the fruit of the worker’s labour.
In October for example, residents of the French capital will get a chance to partake in one of these celebrations as La Fête des vendanges de Montmartre invites visitors to climb up to the Butte Montmartre to embark on a Parcours du Goût (a tasting trail). With the beautiful Basilique du Sacré Coeur on one side, and a spectacular view of the city on the other, this pop-up market allows connoisseurs and enthusiasts to sample the flavours and aromas that French cuisine and wine have to offer. The event will take place on Friday 13 October and Saturday 14 October from 10:00am to 11:00pm as well as Sunday 15 October from 10:00am to 7:00pm
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