Harvest Grapes for a Free Trip to France

You can have a free trip to France, harvesting grapes as you travel will pay for the trip and bring you close to the beauty of the French countryside.

| September/October 1977

Harvesting grapes can pay your way while traveling through France.

Harvesting grapes can pay your way while traveling through France.

Photo By the MOTHER EARTH NEWS staff

Find out how you can have a free trip to France simply by working harvesting grapes as you travel.

Harvest Grapes for a Free Trip to France

You may sleep in an outbuilding with other vendangeurs or, if you're lucky, you might be given a room in the farmer's house. Either way, if you're not allergic to hard work and you enjoy meeting warm and generous people, le vendange could be your ticket to a Europe you didn't even know existed!

For more than 2,000 years, le vendange (the gathering in of grapes) has been one of France's most widely noted late summer and early autumn traditions. We all know that.

But did you know that you can actually get paid ($15 to $25 a day, plus — in most cases — a daily bottle of wine) for taking part in this almost mythical harvest? Or that you can do so without going through the hassles of obtaining a work permit . . . or learning to speak French . . . or even writing ahead to arrange for a job before you get there?

Well, you can. I know because I spent several happy weeks last fall on Corsica (a sunny French island in the Mediterranean) and in Provence (a charming mountainous region of southern France) picking grapes. And, although I worked, I enjoyed every minute of it. By the time the harvest was over, I had earned enough money to pay my way to Nairobi, Kenya (yes, in Africa) where I am now just as happily writing this article. I see no reason — now that the grape season is once again upon us — why you (male or female) shouldn't be able to work your way through southern France during this fall of 1977 . . . just as I did in the autumn of 1976.

European Travel Opportunities Abound

This pleasant (for anyone who yearns to travel but who has more ambition than money) state of affairs is one of the few silver linings in the dark cloud of agribiz "progress" now sweeping the world. Just as millions of smaller farmers have been squeezed off the land in the United States and many other nations, most of France's peasants are being pushed from their independent country lives to factory jobs and row houses in the cities.

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