Celebrating Beaujolais Nouveau in Paris
Every year around Thanksgiving in the US, you can look forward to the French celebration of Beaujolais Nouveau, the fête (celebration) for the young wine. Thanksgiving is the fourth Thursday of the month, while Beaujolais is the third Thursday. Not every French person is a fan of this holiday—or the wine—but it will forever hold a space in my heart because I remember first discovering it as a study abroad student in Paris (when I was not yet legal to drink in the US, but in France all was fair game).
Like many holidays it’s an excuse to get people together. In the US it’s around food; in France it’s around wine.
Most years I find myself at Le Café du Commerce in the 15th which is run by the aunt and uncle of a French friend. I love the traditional style of the space and that I know I’m going to have a delicious meal that’s part of their fixed priced menu for the evening. The wine is unlimited, or until the barrel runs out. (The regulars reserve far in advance.)
As you enter the space, there’s usually the barrel of wine that we’re celebrating for the evening, and likely an accordionist too. Later during dinner or dessert the singer usually makes her way to our table, and a few glasses in, we everyone joins in. It’s a good time.
This year there was a song book. This year Mimi Pinson said she was hoping to do some more modern stuff, but everyone keeps picking the traditional songs. As a foreigner it’s always entertaining for me to see which songs the people in the room really know and get into. One of my table mates knew most of them!
There are of course other ways to celebrate the holiday, like picking up a bottle at your local caviste (wine store) or traiteur. Or pay a visit to a bistro for a glass. Even if you missed the official celebration, it’s not too late to give it a try. It tends to be cheap too. 😉
The friends I celebrate with have their own wine club where they regularly taste wines from different regions of France. Still, this doesn’t stop them from enjoying the beaujolais together. It’s a fun excuse to get together every year if nothing else. They’ve been coming for YEARS, and I’m so grateful to be included.
TIP: If you find yourself in Paris the third Thursday in November, look for the Beaujolais Nouveau posters on restaurants and bistros for clues on where to celebrate.
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