Monday, October 11, 2010


This weekend was the Fête des Vendanges in Montmartre, a slightly over the top celebration given that the remaining vineyard there is only 1500 square meters, not much bigger than a football field. Nonetheless, wine is serious business in France and even if the variety made here is widely acknowledged to be utter crap, that doesn't keep the locals from pulling out all the stops. I decided to skip the tastings and the art installations and instead opted to go up the butte for the grand parade on Saturday.

We arrived at the Lamarck Calaincourt metro stop well ahead of time, and watching the crowds gather was entertainment itself. For some reason, the few police present hadn't bothered to completely block off the parade route to traffic and there was a continuing drama as cars and motorcycles came east on the rue Calaincourt only to be told to back up and turn around. A fellow with a large camera hopped out of a small car to plead with the policeman. No dice. Despite the nattily dressed groom and fully decked out bride in the front seat, they too had to reverse tracks. The crowd started building and simply could not be contained on the sidewalk. The paraders pushed their way through even though the route was precariously narrow at many points.

I wasn't sure what to expect from a French parade. The only other parade I've attended is the show of military might on Bastille Day. But this one did not disappoint. There were representatives of the different wine growing regions of France in their traditional garb (many pouring wine for the crowd), marching bands, colorful papier mache characters, and lots of good cheer. The batteries on my camera died before it was all over but I did manage to squeeze out a few shots to share.

These kids were at the head of the parade; they were the unhappiest bunch of musicians I've seen in a long time.

This little boy was so excited to have a dolphin balloon.

Representatives from Champagne

And yes, there was even a beauty queen with her court.


Clarice said...

I remember walking to this winery when I visited Paris. I expected something grande. It was impressive that even inside the city limits someone was able to maintain the space. The parade looks very festive.

Harriet said...

Thanks for the photos showing all the costumes. The little boys in your top photo can be seen on Laurent's Daily Photo in Paris -- in a happier mood!

dcboyer said...

Loved your photos. Wish you would connect with Facebook!

Anonymous said...

Looks like a blast!

Julia Browne said...

Excellent photos! Can almost hear the music.

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