La Vie en Rose
October 14, 2013 § 3 Comments
This month of October is impressing me every week. There are so many things happening all around Paris. It is almost impossible to have a sane planning and not miss a few things. La Nuit Blanche weekend was beautiful but as soon as Monday arrived, temperature took a deep fall and I was left with no inclination to leave the warm walls around me and face the eventual truth. But obviously, that’s not a choice as I am in Paris.
During the 80th harvest festival, La Fête des Vendanges, Montmartre celebrated the art of love through endless activities happening around the 18th district from 9th to 13th October. I had made reservations long ago for a vineyard visit (yes, at Montmartre) and wine tasting on Friday to enjoy the festival without the hoards of visitors during the weekend.
Let me tell you about Montmartre, though I am sure Paris lovers know about it all. Crowned by the white-domed Basilique du Sacré-Cœur, Montmartre is one of the greatest symbols of the French capital. It is a hill in Northern Paris, famous for hosting artists like Dalí, Modigliani, Monet, Picasso and Van-Gogh, phew! This is a dreamer’s land, a village overlooking the mighty Paris yet having its own charms and pleasures. From the days of the pilgrimages in the middle ages, Montmartre has always been a spot to drop barriers and indulge in pleasures. Well, doesn’t that justify why I pampered myself a little on a memorable Friday, lost in Montmartre?
The weather on my pleasure day was no different and not easy to survive. As soon as I would close my umbrella it would start raining. But nothing could stop me from indulging in the sweet Parisian life. I took a bus from my place to reach Montmartre. Why a bus? The Parisian metro is good when you are in a hurry and are ready to sacrifice the beautiful views for the dark underground tunnels. If you are a true Paris lover (a bit of French comprehension and fine map skills help), you would take a bus even if the bus stop might be in some tiny street, you might arrive far away from the destination and eventually get lost. This is my way of discovering Paris. My bus left me just around the corner of a restaurant called La Belle-Mère Qui Fume (The Mother-in-Law Who Smokes), beyond funny!
I had to walk uphill for a good ten minutes and I managed to arrive on time at the oldest vineyard of Paris, Clos Montmartre at 14 rue Saules. This vineyard remains closed to public except for few exceptional days. The caretaker of the vineyard was a nice gentleman who recounted the history of this particular place passionately. Then he took the visitors around the vineyard to show the different vines, old as well as new. There were a range of exquisite plants and flowers growing along the vines and the rose in the photo at the beginning says it all.
It was time to taste the wine, but first I had to find the place where the free wine tasting event was to take place. That took me around two hours of doing rounds through the street market set for the festival. And who’s complaining! I tasted different local products from different regions of France like cheese, honey, figs, grapes, jams and I bought something special, nectar of organic peach. Doesn’t sound interesting? It does because it’s called bloody peach nectar.
Enough of fruits, it was time for the real thing. The tasting had five wines from vineyard Gontard, from Aubignan commune in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region in south-eastern France. I tasted Ventoux Blanc 2012, Ventoux Rosé 2012, Ventoux Cuvée des Fontainiers 2011, Pinot Noir 2011 and Muscat Blanc 2011. As always I liked the white and pink wines but also the red one called Cuvée des Fontainiers that leaves a sweet taste at the end. Five tastings were almost equal to two and a half glasses. A small secret, wine doesn’t go well with me and five wines in less than half an hour definitely wasn’t nice. Light-headed and tipsy I chose to ride a bus again. Going down the stairs as a happy soul I kind of managed to arrive safely at the bus stop and took it back home.
The weekend hadn’t started yet. There was a fireworks show called Feu d’Amour (Fire of Love) scheduled for Saturday evening at Sacré-Cœur and I was excited. But, I had a surprise waiting for me on Friday evening. I found two invitations to watch a musical in French, narrating the life of Edith Piaf, I am not so lucky often. October 10, this year marked the 50th death anniversary of the world’s most famous French singer, Edith Piaf. La Môme Piaf (The Little Sparrow), is revered as a national treasure in France; she sang songs on love, loss and sorrow. I chose Piaf over the fireworks and enjoyed my Saturday evening with beautiful songs at Théâtre Daunou. The musical was beautifully sung, the audience sang along and everyone was very happy at the end. I liked this song called Mon Manège à Moi (My Carousel to Me), which like all Piaf songs, complements the love theme of this year’s Fête des Vendanges.
As a twenty-five year old, I think I have travelled a lot and these travels in different countries have given me such beautiful memories that I could never imagine. But I am afraid that as time is passing by, my life in those countries has started to seem like it never existed. The time, I shared with those places and people who accompanied me, is nothing but a few photos and souvenirs. Even my first few months in Paris seem like a distant memory. Maybe because I have changed, the people I knew during that time have changed, I either got to know them more or they have simply faded away. And maybe that is why I chose to blog, to try accumulating these memories for the rest of my life.
“Good days are to be gathered like grapes, to be trodden and bottled into wine and kept for age to sip at ease beside the fire. If the traveller has vintaged well, he need trouble to wander no longer; the ruby moments glow in his glass at will.” – Freya Stark, an English travel writer.