Beaujolais: the year in festivals

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The Beaujolais is one of the most convivial regions in France. Yes, really it is, and there are social events all year round! You find this hard to believe? Well, here are 9 events that will make you change your mind.

In winter: the fête des conscrits

The fête des conscrits is a long-standing tradition that connects people born in the same year. It’s a celebration where people of the same “vintage” meet up to party, dance and try out different wines and delicacies.

The fête des conscrits takes place in all villages in the Beaujolais region at the beginning of the year and can go on for up to a week. The Beaujolais is the only region to have kept up this tradition that goes back to the last century.

The “conscripts” have to turn out in formal evening dress! Dinner jacket, white shirt, white scarf and hat are de rigueur. Hats must have a colored ribbon indicating the age of the conscript: green for 20, yellow for 30, orange for 40 and so on. And when they get to 90 the ribbon is tricolor!

It’s a unique festival and very much in keeping with people’s love of socializing in the Beaujolais region!

 

In the spring: the fête des crus

The Beaujolais region has no less than 10 crus. Each year one is chosen as the star at the fête des crus. In 2015, locals raised their glasses to the lovely Saint-Amour.

In 2016, Régnié is the star of the show and there will be many wine tastings, events and dances organised around this distinguished appellation. However, you’ll still get to taste the other 9 crus and compare them with Régnié!

Gourmet walks as summer approaches

Another very sociable activity is charming strolls or energetic hikes in among the Beaujolais vines. Spring is often the best time to discover the vines, the flowers in bloom and the sparkling greenery of the region.

A gourmet walk in Marcy-sur-Anse

In May do as you please, says the French proverb but make sure you plan a gourmet walk in Marcy-sur-Anse! Marcy-sur-Anse is in the heart of the Pierre Dorées area and is a great place to visit wine cellars and try out the excellent Beaujolais crus with food pairings, in an amazing setting! There’s a different cellar and different appellation for each course!

This walk through the vines takes 4 hours and will delight both nature lovers and food and wine enthusiasts.

Cadoles et Sens in the heart of the Golden Stones region

The month of May is full of gourmand rendezvous.  Cadoles et Sens offers a treat for the senses as you traverse villages riche in authenticity and with a unique architectural heritage.  
Wine and food walks, picnic walks, initiation in oenology, tastings and colorful markets, not forgetting fun activities for the children….  Lots of opportunities to lift the spirits !

Charrois Gourmands in Lantignié

The mild temperatures in June are conducive to a nice country walk in among the vines. The idea is simple: every kilometre (there are 6 in total) a gourmet treat awaits you. You get to breathe in the fresh air, enjoy the lovely countryside around Lantignié and try locally produced Beaujolais-Villages wines.

Gourmet walk in Chiroubles

Summer is just peeping its head out when the municipality of Chiroubles awakens and invites you on a walk that is as much a feast for your taste buds as your eyes. In the heart of the green countryside around Chiroubles, this is a charming 5-km walk will take you through vines and forests.

Panoramic views of the Alps open up before you as you are served a glass of Chiroubles and other local Beaujolais produce. The walk is broken up into stages, with a different wine and snack served at each.

 

In summer: the Juliénales

Juliénales” comes from the words July and Juliénas. Every year in mid-July, Juliénas winegrowers bring out their best bottles and invite the locals to taste their excellent crus. Every vintage is served so that both novices and connoisseurs can get a sense of how the wine has developed over the years.

It’s a great opportunity to share a glass of wine with strangers and chat to growers about the history that lurks behind every wine...

 

In autumn: the Beaujolais Nouveaux Festival celebrates the arrival of the new vintage!

It goes without saying that in the Beaujolais they know how to celebrate the arrival of their young wines! Beaujolais Nouveaux celebrations are held throughout the region and it is impossible to walk through the streets without getting drawn into the festivities.

 

The Sarmentelles de Beaujeu

Beaujeu is a great place to celebrate Beaujolais Nouveaux. In a sense, Beaujeu is where it all began... after all, the region got its name from the Lord of Beaujeu so it seems only natural to pay homage to him in the heart of the Beaujolais vineyards.

The Sarmentelles de Beaujeu start on the 3rd Wednesday in November and carry on until the following Sunday. This amazing fête, a social occasion par excellence, is a mixture of tasting competitions, dinners with live entertainment, a torchlight procession and of course discovering Beaujolais Nouveaux!

Beaujolais and gourmet food market in Tarare

Food and wine lovers will adore the charming municipality of Tarare in the south of the Beaujolais region. The arrival of Beaujolais Nouveau is celebrated in a suitably dignified fashion with tasting workshops and a gourmet market that promotes Lyon dishes and produce.

A unique opportunity to try Tarandouille! It is chitterling sausage cooked in wine and onions that brings out all the flavours of Beaujolais Nouveau.

Nectar Nouveau in Belleville

Fancy a bit of an extravaganza? Head for Belleville and the Nectar Nouveau fête, or perhaps we should call it the “Nec’Art Nouveau”. It’s a combination of culture and oenology in a small municipal theatre! 

Concerts, plays and all kinds of live entertainment and street theatre liven up your Beaujolais Nouveau wine tasting experience. Belleville also organises a riotous parade and folk dancing evening that goes on well into the night!

 

The Beaujolais region offers all these unique celebrations where conviviality is the order of the day. Meet friendly, welcoming locals and share with them these moments of wine tasting and partying. Diaries at the ready!