Amble along the cobblestone streets leading to the junction of rue des Saules and rue Saint-Vincent and you see a vineyard stretching over 1600 m2 on a steep hill. This is Clos Montmartre, the only remaining and working vineyard in Paris.
Clos Montmartre in September
Vineyards once covered Butte Montmartre. Back when Paris was known as Lutèce, there was a temple dedicated to the Roman god of wine, Bacchus. Wine production continued from the 12th century under a Benedictine Abbey which owned a wine press to the early 20th century until the crops were destroyed by a bout of phylloxera.
In 1933, the site was saved from development and vines were planted by the Mairie de Paris. 27 varietals make up the wine but it consists primarily of Gamay and Pinot Noir.
You won’t find Montmartre wines in restaurants or bottle shops. The yield is auctioned every year with the proceeds going to charity. As for the wine itself, it is not known to be drinkable. According to a popular 17th century dictum, it has diuretic properties.
C’est du vin de Montmartre
Qui en boit pinte en pisse quarte
The wine of Montmartre
Whoever drinks a pinte (0.93 litres) pisses a quart (67 litres)!
The vineyard is closed to the public except on special occasions such as la Fête des Jardins which is held in autumn. We were fortunate to be in Paris one September and had the opportunity to get close to the vines and grapes.
The wine harvest is celebrated during La Fête des Vendanges de Montmartre, an annual event that takes place in the second weekend in October.
Clos Montmartre in November
14-18 rue des Saules
La Fête des Vendanges de Montmartre