Lyon has a particularly special relationship with Beaujolais, it is our third river, after all, and each year the city holds a daylong festival to celebrate.
Normally this takes place at Place des Terreaux, but since that’s under construction this year’s celebration will take place in Place Saint Jean, in Vieux Lyon (Wednesday 20th, wine tasting starts at 6:30 pm, Beaujolais rehearsal at Midnight, Thursday 21st, 4pm).
The daytime festivities are a ticketed thing where you drop ten euros and go around and taste. It’s fun and vibrant and you should go. Or, you could stay up late on Wednesday and take part in the total free and 100% amazing midnight party.
Why should you stay up late on Wednesday when you can just wait till Thursday and join the party then? Here are 5 reasons why.
It’s a uniquely Lyonnais experience
Lyon is the only place that drunk Beaujolais at all until basically the 1980s. There is a festival up in Beaujolais itself, but the Lyon celebration is an important part of the legacy of Beaujolais Nouveau. Embrace the tradition.
It’s hilariously bucolic
It’s just so… country, but French. People in costumes roll the barrels into the square on the heels of a marching band. There’s a DJ that looks like he’d be playing at your cousin’s bar mitzvah. There’s just something charming about how not slick it is. It’s real. The energy is real, and it’s a truly happy moment.
You get to sing a Beaujolais song
Everyone sings a song where you repeat Beaujolais over and over again. Get into it. Might be worth ore-gaming.
Beaujolais Nouveau tastes like juice
This special wine is really delicious, it’s light and fruity and stupidly easy to drink. It’s at its absolute best when drunk fresh, in public out of a plastic cup, and at midnight on a weekday.
Free Beaujolais Nouveau
At midnight they crack open the Beauj! Unlike the crowded Thursday afternoon pay to taste (still good fun and good value), at the midnight celebration the wine is free! Hooray!
This tradition is super fun and definitely worth the hangover. Cheers!