Postcard from... Paris

 

Anne Penketh
Sunday 12 October 2014 22:25
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French singer Jacques Higelin, “godfather” of the annual wine festival in Montmartre, urged the crowd to enjoy themselves.

“Take your clothes off and dance together to celebrate the liberation of the republic of Montmartre,” he said, as he announced the start of the parade on Saturday afternoon.

Actress Sandrine Bonnaire, the festival’s co-sponsor, stood next to him. Every October, to celebrate the grape harvest in the oldest vineyard in Paris on the northern slope of the Butte Montmartre within sight of the Sacré Coeur basilica, local authorities hold a fête. People come from far and wide to take part in the parade – this year featuring the queen of the grape harvest, cheerleaders, bands and the robed members of the Dahlia, Strawberry and Black Truffle societies.

The five-day festival is now a major tourist attraction and boasts half a million visitors. Also included in the event are wine-tasting, exhibitions, school children singing in the vineyard, a free concert, an annual ball and fireworks.

The vineyard, which was planted in 1933 and which is run by city authorities, expects to produce 1,000 bottles of rosé wine after the grapes were harvested in the pocket-sized vineyard last month.

The wine is sold at auction with the proceeds given to Montmartre charities.

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