Yes, Paris has its own vineyards in Montmartre, and on the 10th to 13th of october 2013, they celebrated the 80th harvest event in Montmartre.
In the past, back to the XVIII century, the vineyards of Ile de France ( Paris Region) was the largest in France. Wo can believe it now! Of course, in these times, it was complicated to transport goods in general and liquid more specifically, so it was natural to plant lots of grapes to supply all taverns and restaurants in Paris. But all those vineyards almost disappeared after 1st world war.
Due to the resistance of a local artist, Poulbot, a children’s garden had been created in this part of Montmartre to avoid building extension, and in 1933, this small plot of 1500 m2 had been transformed in “Clos Montmartre”.
Since this date, the production of around 1200 bottles, coming from mainly from the Gamay grapes is celebrated every year and became more and more popular. I was invited this year for the first time to attend, first at the harvest, then at the official celebration called “ban des vendangeurs”.
The harvest, on Thursday 3rd October was not very spectacular. With less than 2000 feet, the city gardeners need only 2 hours to reap the grapes. Due to the weather in Paris in spring and end of summer, grapes were small and lots of them were covered by mold. It seems that the 2013 vintage won’t be marvelous…..
Saturday 13th was the main day of celebrations, with the “ban des vendanges” in the morning. We were almost 500 people, (most of them had to stay outside the clos) to see and hear the mayor of the 18th arrondissement and former minister, D.Vaillant introducing this year’s godmother and godfather of this vintage: singers Nolwen Leroy and Thomas Dutronc. Lots of traditional wine brotherhoods and clubs were there in their costumes and holding their flags in an unorganized but joyful meeting.
Lots of local politicians and organization members made their speech, as Montmartre has elected ( as a joke) his own president, which is helped by a group of ministers. The winemaker, who will be retired after this vintage, admitted then that the quality will be so-so in 2013, and they will certainly make rosé wine instead of red as usual.
Anyway, I bought a couple of bottle of 2012 vintage. I’m not sure I will open it one day, maybe for one of my wine tasting session. Just to be able to say: I drank a wine from the Paris famous hill.