Clos MontmatreThe Secret Vineyard of Paris

Written by on June 19, 2017 in Guest Blogs, Paris, Romantic

It was the Romans who established vineyards in Paris more than a thousand years ago. Maybe it was the starting point for the vibrant French wine industry and culture that we know and love today.

A Vineyard in Paris

The earliest vineyards declined gradually as urban development progressed in Paris. The last of these Roman plantations disappeared during the wreckage that occurred during the invasion of Paris at the time of the Franco Prussian war around 1870.

There is though a vineyard right in the heart of Paris. It is all a bit of a secret actually. Few people know about it and few visitors take the trouble to find it. It lies just behind the Sacré-Cour Basilica on the west side of Montmartre and hides in its shadow. It is called the Clos Montmartre and was created in 1933. Find it in the 18th arrondissement at the corner of rue des Saules and rue Saint Vincent.

It was established by officials of Montmartre City Hall. A commercial construction company had expressed an interest in building some houses on the vineyard’s present site. It was at the time a rubbish disposal location where tramps often stayed and the poorer children of the city played. The development was opposed by the local authorities. Under French law, it is prohibited to build on any vineyard site so the council decided to create one of their own on the waste tip. The wine would be produced commercially and the profits would be given to local charities.

The area is quite small, occupying just 1500 square metres. There are approximately 2000 vines vigorously growing even though as they grow on a north facing slope,  they do not receive the strongest sunlight. The Clos Montmartre is wonderfully tended and supports many wildflowers. It is a secured location but easily viewed by visitors from the surrounding pathways outside the protective fence. It is the only vineyard in Paris.

I went to try and find it for myself on a splendid sunny day. Some passing American tourists stopped and asked me where the vineyard was. They followed me to the vineyard and we were all impressed, taking photos and ooh’ing and ah’ing.

The buildings surrounding the vineyard are of older classic French architectural style and poise. The Maison Rose on the corner by the vineyard is famous for its good looks. There are some shops, cafes and museums close by and it makes for a lovely place to promenade.

The Wine Festival of Paris

There is an annual five day grape harvest festival in Montmartre each autumn: La Fete des Vendanges. Grapes are taken from the Clos Montmartre during this period to the local cellar at the Montmartre City Hall. Here they are pressed, fermented and bottled. The wine is sold locally in Paris and experts describe it as being of medium quality. There are about 1000 to 1500 bottles auctioned each year and they go for quite high prices to reflect their rather unique status. The profits given to local Parisian charities. The bottles are labelled ‘Clos Montmartre from the Cuvee de L’Amour’. They are surely a wonderful souvenir of Paris for visitors to take home with them.

A visit to the City vineyard, Clos Montmartre, makes a magnificent interlude – a great symbol of one of the mighty agricultural industries of France surrounded by classically distinct Parisian architecture and subtlety.

Bob Lyons is an ex pilot turned travel writer who loves France.

Related Articles

How to fake speaking French in just one minute

This might be just the thing for those of us who want to fake French with zero effort, well except for watching a 60 second video. Oliver Gee, an Australian journalist in Paris who runs a podcast called The Earful Tower shares his top tips for how to fake French and fool everyone (maybe)… Here’s […]

Continue Reading

Give us this day our daily bread in France | Les Porteuses de Pain

If you like bread, then when you’re in France you probably stop by the boulangerie every day to buy a baguette, croissant, or one of the other tempting treats that you will find inside. But if you were a bourgeois, or wealthy, family in the nineteenth or early twentieth century and lived in a town, […]

Continue Reading

Some of the best cheese shops in Paris

Some of the best cheese shops in Paris

Written by on February 6, 2018 in Paris

It’s said that Napoleon first tasted Camembert in Normandy and kissed the waitress who served him. Great cheese makes you very happy. Presidents Obama and Hollande were offered the best of French cheeses at the Climate Change Forum in 2015 from a Parisian fromagerie – Alleosse.  This great honour demonstrated how much the French, with […]

Continue Reading

5 fun Paris night clubs in unusual places

When it comes to night life, you’re totally spoiled in Paris. Bars, cafés, restaurants, cinema, theatre, late night openings at museums and galleries, concerts and a whole heap more. And when it comes to clubs, Paris is a-buzz. We take a look at some of the best clubs in the most surprising and extraordinary locations… […]

Continue Reading

The historic shopping passages of Paris

The historic shopping passages of Paris

Written by on January 17, 2018 in Paris

There are around a dozen still trading ancient shopping passages of Paris. Reminiscent of earlier days of a glamorous Parisian culture, they are a joy to experience. Some of them are sheltered by a glass ceiling, some lie hidden in side streets and some exude a bright, shining and glowing art deco persona that instantly […]

Continue Reading

Subscribe

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed

Comments are closed.

Top