The Vineyard of Montmartre

Montmartre – Paris’s Secret Vineyard

Every year on the second week of October we celebrate Montmartre’s grape harvest called the Fete de Vendanges de Montmartre, a jubilatory event with a costume parade, street performances, concerts, giant picnics, and of course wine drinking. But did you know that Montmartre is the last working vineyard in Paris? What a great attribute to a city that has it all and still maintains a rural ritual in an urban setting. Actually, the region of Paris has a long history of vineyards when most of the city was farming land and Montmartre was a picturesque hill, covered with windmills.

montmartre festival

A Little History of Montmartre’s Vineyard

Dating back to the 12th century, King Louis IV built the Abbey of Montmartre for his wife, Adelaide of Savoie and the nuns were in charge of cultivating the vines. The wine became very popular due to the fact that Montmartre was a “commun libre” and free of tax. The wine those days were named after the saintly fields that they were grown in such as ‘La Sauvresse’, ‘l’Eglise’ etc.

By 1850 the Great French Wine Blight had struck the vines in France and unfortunately, the Montmartre vineyards were destroyed.

1905 was the last harvest of Montmartre wine when it turned into overgrown land. Following that in 1860 under Napoleon, Montmartre is attached to the city of Paris and in 1930 the Townhall of Paris decides to take over the land for a housing project.

Met by the defiance of Poulbot, a famous illustrator, and local artists they negotiate and agree to plant vines with the help of Bordeaux and Alsatian communities. They acquire over 27 types of grapes and build the new vineyard. Luckily under French law, nothing can be built on a vineyard and so the “Clos de Montmartre” is reborn.

In 1933 the vines are planted and the land secured so they decide in 1934 to invite the President of the Republique, Albert Lebrun, to the harvest. However little did they know it takes 3 years to harvest the grapes! So what were they to do?

Well sometimes a mistake comes disguised as an opportunity and with the help of surrounding vineyards, they order in 40 tonnes of grapes and turn it into a Grand Fete what is today the: Fete de Vendanges de Montmartre!

fete de vendanges montmartre

Today the wine is harvested and vinified by the Townhall of Paris. Bottled in neat 50cl bottles, this table wine is sold to help social charities in the 18th.

Each year, a cultural theme is evoked to symbolize the harvest, last year it was dedicated to equality. This year the theme will be in tribute of the Olympic Games being hostreed in Paris -“Plus vite, plus haut, plus fort โ€“ ensemble” or faster, higher, stronger, together.

The vineyard of Montmartre also embraces organic farming not using chemical products on the vines and under organic regulation for wine production. To find out more about where to go in Paris for natural wines, check out this list of the best natural wine shops in Paris.

As the Mayor of the 18th district of Montmartre, Eric LEJOINDRE says in his address:

“La poรฉsie est au coeur mรชme de notre arrondissement ร  la fois romantique, vivant et populaire, elle est dans nos murs, elle est dans nos jardins… Et dans nos vignes!”

Poetry is in the heart of our district equally romantic, vibrant, and popular, it’s in our walls, in our gardens, in our vines! Drinking the wine of Montmartre straight from the vineyard will teach you exactly how important it is to understand culture through food / drink.

vendenges poster 1988

2023 Event Line-Up!

Wednesday 11th Octoberย 

  • 11am, Visit of the Clos de Montmartre
    • Historian and montmartre vineyard specialist, Jean-Manuel Gabert will take you around the vineyard of Montmartre. Hurry and put your name down as there are limited places!
  • 4pm, A guided walk around the welcome space dedicated to the Olympic games in Paris at La Chappelle
  • 7pm, La Soirรฉe de Lancement (Evening launch party) at la Mairie du 18eme (18th District Townhall)
    • this event is open to everyone with a limit depending on how many show up, so get there early! the master of the ceremony Marco Avallone accompanied by the choir ‘Envie de Chanter’ will be dressed in Olympic colors, singing under the canopy of the town hall.
    • Choreographed cheerleaders will have a vibrant performance, followed by freestyle ball player.
    • following this, there will be animated music by DJs to keep the party going until nighttime

Thursday 12th October

  • 5:30pm, Guided walk around Montmartre with history of the area’s artistic nature and relation to the Olympic Games hosted in 1900
    • Free event but you should sign up here
  • 2pm, another opportunity to visit the Clos de Montmartre
    • Historian and montmartre vineyard specialist, Jean-Manuel Gabert will take you around the vineyard of Montmartre. Hurry and put your name down as there are limited places!
  • 8pm, Nocturnal Race
    • Starting from Metro station Anvers at Place Saint Pierre. This race is free and open to everyone! Sign up here.

Friday 13th October

  • 2pm & 4pm, another opportunity to visit the Clos de Montmartre
    • Historian and montmartre vineyard specialist, Jean-Manuel Gabert will take you around the vineyard of Montmartre. Hurry and put your name down as there are limited places!
  • Fri. 13, Sat. 14 from 10am to 11pm; Sun. 15 from 10am ร  7pm
    • Food enthusiasts are invited to the base of the Sacrรฉ-Coeur from Friday to explore the famous “Parcours du Goรปt.”
    • Over a hundred producers and winemakers from across the region showcase their expertise and local products for tasting on-site.
    • Discover specialties from various regions in a festive atmosphere and learn about local initiatives and agroecology.
    • Eco-friendly partners are also present, contributing to waste reduction and promoting a circular and local dynamic.

Saturday 14th October

  • ย 10am, Join the Ban des Vendanges event by heading to the Montmartre vineyards – rue des Saules
    • The Compagnons de la Butte Montmartre perform the Olympic Hymn in French and Greek during this symbolic event, which brings together brotherhoods and folklore groups from the Grand Parade.
    • You can witness this traditional vineyard tribute from the streets of Saint-Vincent and des Saules, which run alongside the Montmartre vineyards.
    • The event is opened by ร‰ric Lejoindre, the Mayor of the 18th district, and attended by various officials including Alain Coquard, president of the Republic of Montmartre, Eric Sureau, president of COFAS, Alain Valentin, president of the Commanderie du Clos Montmartre, and Marielle-Frรฉdรฉrique Turpaud, Mayor of the Commune Libre de Montmartre.
  • 11:45am – 1:30pm, The Grand Parade!
    • Starting from the vineyard of Montmartre and open to everyone!
    • Traditional, wine-related, and gastronomic brotherhoods march through the cobbled streets from Clos Montmartre’s vineyards to the 18th district’s City Hall.
    • Local residents, sports, and cultural associations join the brotherhoods in the parade.
    • With music and endurance, blending tradition and modernity, the Grand Parade unites 1300 participants in a peaceful, intergenerational atmosphere. It’s open to everyone and supervised by the Mozaรฏc 18 youth association.
  • 11am, film of giant animals in sport from Nicolas Devaux at 6 rue Francoeur – open to all public but with limited spaces
    • Director Nicolas Deveaux invites us into his imaginative world where wild animals engage in urban sports and compete in athletic challenges.
    • Gymnastic ostriches, swimming giraffes, basketball-playing elephants, and judo-loving hippos participate in lifelike animal tournaments, overseen by vigilant sea lion referees.
    • This is a must-see for both adults and curious youngsters eager to explore the world of wildlife in sports!
  • 2:30pm, The company Pรดle-K is coming to the Vendanges Festival and setting up a competitive trampo-photo booth where participants can capture their best jumps in a click. – 122 rue des Poissoniers
    • Join this memorable experience where, after a few warm-up bounces, a photographer captures and prints your best mid-air acrobatics in real-time.
    • For those who prefer to keep their feet on the ground, the “ludomouv citoyenne” game library offers activities and games for all ages throughout the afternoon, hosted by members of the Home Sweet Mรดmes association.
  • Sรจte Cap dโ€™Agde Mรฉditerranรฉe presents a musical event with two concerts open to all at 25 rue Chappe
    • 10:00 AM: Parade by the youth brass band “Les Loustic du Pic.”
    • 10:35 AM: Tribute concert to Brassens featuring Aude Duhamel trio (Aude Duhamel on vocals, Andrรฉa Campagnolo on guitar, and David Landau on saxophone).
    • 11:20 AM: Tribute concert to Manitas de Plata by the group Nelson Baliardo, a guitar trio consisting of Nelson Baliardo (Manitas de Plata’s great-grandson), Lilian Rodriguez, and Dylan Galiana.

Sunday 15th October

  • 11am, 2pm & 3pm, another opportunity to visit the Clos de Montmartre
    • Historian and montmartre vineyard specialist, Jean-Manuel Gabert will take you around the vineyard of Montmartre. Hurry and put your name down as there are limited places!
  • 10:30am, The famous “Cรฉrรฉmonie des Non-demandes en Mariage” (Ceremony of Non-Marriage Proposals) returns to Place des Abbesses this year, hosted by the Mayor of the 18th district, Eric Lejoindre. Make sur to put your name on the list!
    • Future non-married couples are invited to the stage, dressed in their finest attire (whether sporty or not), to make this moment unforgettable.
    • The Mystรฉrieuses Coiffures will create sensational hairstyles for them. In a ceremony officiated by the mayor, the young non-married couples and their witnesses will celebrate these “non-unions”

Browse through the activities and make sure to sign up before the crowds for certain events like the visit of the vineyard which is usually closed to the public! If you’d like to know more about French wine, book a Cheese & Wine Pairing class with Cook’n With Class while you’re in Paris. The school is located at the foot of Montmartre so it’s the perfect way to end a day of wine harvest festivities! ๐Ÿ‡ ๐Ÿท

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