The ancient vineyards of Montmartre
Grape Harvest Festival in Montmartre sounds odd, but if you visited Montmartre and strolled along Rue Saint-Vincent, you will definitely have noticed a small vineyard clinging on the hillside.
Clos Montmartre is the only vineyard of Paris, however, it is not that old.
It is true that Montmartre was once renowned for the vineyards planted by the prestigious Abbaye des Dames de Montmartre.
The urbanisation of the area in the decades that followed the French Revolution, and especially after 1860 when the village of Montmartre was annexed to Paris, saw the vineyards disappear one by one!
At the end of WWI, urbanization had annihilated all that was left of the village’s bucolic atmosphere.
Montmartre’s last vineyard disappeared in 1928.
In 1921 the inhabitants of La Butte, as they affectionately call their village, therefore founded a couple of associations in order to protect their district.
Francisque Poulbot founded La Nouvelle République de Montmartre.
The association demanded that the City of Paris replanted 2000 vines in order to re-introduce wine-growing and make sure that the village’s last plot of land won’t be built on.
Fête des Vendanges – Grape Harvest Festival in Montmartre
The first Grape Harvest Festival in Montmartre took place two years later, under the sponsorship of two iconic French artists of the time, MistinguettandFernandel.
However the vines were still young and the grapes scarce!
30.000 kg of red and white grapes were therefore brought from Fontainebleau for the occasion.
This first wine production was given away to the large crowd that flocked to the event.
The Grape Harvest Festival in Montmartre was indeed an instant success!
The vineyard was left to die during WWII, but was replanted soon after.
The town hall of the 18th district today organize the harvest, which is based on a different theme each year.
The 3,000 vines of Clos Montmartre grow on a 1800m2 plot.
They produce wine from a blend of three grape varieties, Siebel 54-55, Gamay and Pineau.
Once harvested, the grapes are transported to the town hall, where they are pressed and put in barrel by a licensed winemaker.
About 450 bottles of Clos Montmartre are produced each year!
These are conditioned in boxes decorated by local artists, then sold at auction.
The money raised is used to fund local charities.
The Grape Harvest Festival in Montmartre is today known as Paris Vendanges, and is one of the most popular festivals of the capital.
It includes parades of the different wine and food brotherhoods, fireworks, garden tours, workshops for youngsters and their parents, walks, exhibitions, concerts, conferences, wine-tasting courses and street balls…
And strolling among the many winemakers’ stands from all over France!
Directions: Rue St-Vincent – 18th district
Metro: Lamarck-Caulaincourt on Line 12
Coordinates: Lat 48.888330 – Long 2.340080
Discover more on Montmartre
Montmartre Village Place du Tertre – Petit Cimetiere du Calvaire – Saint-Pierre-de-Montmartre Church – Saint-Jean-de-Montmartre Church – Sacre-Coeur Basilica – Montmartre Abbey Sanctum Martyrium Crypt – Montmartre Cemetery – Saint-Vincent Cemetery – Le Passe-Muraille sculpture – Le Mur des Je t’Aime – Abbesses Art Nouveau Metro station – Moulin Rouge – Bateau Lavoir