Autumn leaved vines in Montmartre, Paris

Wine Festival Montmartre Paris 7-11 October 2015

While the arrival of Autumn is reminding us of its gradual presence in the early mornings and evenings, Paris has been enjoying a blue-skied Indian summer this past week. It has been a time for us to head outdoors us much as we can to make the most of it.  And I have an excuse for you to join in a great Parisian festival next week – all around the celebration of wine in Montmartre!

Sacré Coeur Paris Montmartre

Each year grapes are harvested from the Montmartre vineyard and made into wine. The locals have celebrated this tradition since 1934 – and so 2015 marks the 82nd edition of the Fête des Vendanges, or the Montmartre Paris Wine Festival which takes place around the second Saturday in October. Last year it attracted 500,000 visitors.

The Montmartre Vineyard

Montmartre was covered in vines in the Middle Ages (first evidence dates back to 944).  Just around the corner from Sacré Coeur (the second most visited site in Paris after the Eiffel Tower), you’ll see the Clos de Montmartre’s vineyard, rue Saint Vincent, on the hill or butte, with an altitude of 130 metres. 2000 vines were planted in 1933 in memory of the vines of times past with Gamay, Pinot noir and Landay grapes.

Today the grapes are cultivated without using any pesticides and about 950 bottles of Clos Montmartre are produced every year, elaborated in the cellar of the town hall of the 18th arrondissement of Paris.  Grape juice is also made for the children taking part in the events.

Autumn leaved vines in Montmartre, Paris

This year, according to Sylviane Leplâtre, wine expert for Paris vines, the climate has been more favourable than previous years and a rosé has been particularly produced to suit public demand. How is it? According to Leplâtre, it’s unique colour is salmon pink, it has floral and sweet spicy notes on the nose and the taste is light and delicate.

The grape harvest celebrations last for 5 days and festivities are full on.  Just looking at the programme reveals all sorts of workshops (art including Manga; a how-to guide for the local beehives; floral displays, etc.), competitions, concerts (including a singing-in-the-wine Bordeaux evening), tours and lectures (many of them need to be booked in advance online), and of course the wine tasting and Parcours de Goût (Tasting Journey of producers of hams, cheeses, oysters, wine, etc from all around France) from Friday to Sunday.

For a feel of the celebrations, check out Carol Gillott’s artistic ParisBreakfast view of last year’s event. She recommends you bring your own glass, save yourself for the truffled omelettes, and perhaps even wear a black jacket and red scarf …

Clos Montmartre vineyard paris october

Ever since the very first festival took place in 1934 with actor Fernandel as “Godfather” (Parrain) and actress Mistinguett as “Godmother” (Marraine), French celebrities are chosen by the mayors of Montmartre and Paris to lead the festivities. Next week actress/model Melanie Thierry and singer Raphael will take the lead.

Saturday 10th October marks the main events: the Ban des Vendanges, a gathering of the robe-clad Confrerie brotherhoods of local food and wine; the Clos de Montmartre wine auction, when the produce proceeds go to charity organisations in the district; the Grand Parade (Défilé), when 1500 participants leave the Mairie of the 18th at 3pm and arriving at 5.45pm at Place Saint Pierre; and at night enjoy a 15-minute firework display orchestrated by world firework champion, Joseph Couturier, at the foot of Montmartre.

steps to Montmartre Paris

And while you’re there, don’t forget to check out the chocolate (try the chocolate buttes and kisses!) and macarons from Christophe Roussel, who is in Rue Tardieu, just opposite the 2,280 steps and entrance to the Finiculaire cable car and say hello from me!

For more information, check out the 2015 Edition of the Montmartre Wine Festival

Metros: Abbesses or Anvers.

11 replies
  1. Thomasina
    Thomasina says:

    Been to Montmartre often but not during the wine festival. Must remedy that. The rosé does sounds inviting. Would like to see the grand parade and the fireworks. Thanks Jill for the information.

    Reply
    • Jill Colonna
      Jill Colonna says:

      Thomasina – for all the times I’ve been to Montmartre, I’ve not done the wine festival either. Yet! Alas, I can’t even get there this weekend so will be on the agenda for next year. I hope that readers that happen to be in Paris can make the most of it, though!

      Reply
    • Jill Colonna
      Jill Colonna says:

      I’ve never taken the finiculaire, Maureen, which only takes a minute to go up the hill but worth the price of just a metro ticket if you need a lift!

      Reply
  2. Christina @ Christina's Cucina
    Christina @ Christina's Cucina says:

    That sounds like the most fabulous festival! It’s something to think about when planning my next adventures! Those grape leaves look so different than ones I’m used to seeing; they almost look like ivy. Love that they’re pesticide free, too! Thanks for sharing the wonderful event with us!

    Reply
    • Jill Colonna
      Jill Colonna says:

      I love this time of year – just for the leaves and colours and loved the look of these October vines. On the other hand, the grass is always greener: would love to be in CA at this time of year for the heat, as we’re losing it quite quickly here in Paris…

      Reply
  3. Liz
    Liz says:

    I need to jot down all your fabulous suggestions for the next time we’re in Paris! You find such treasures between the celebrations and sweets shops 🙂

    Reply
    • Jill Colonna
      Jill Colonna says:

      No wine expert. Just did a diploma on it in another life so enjoy an excuse to taste 😉
      Antoine won’t be around next weekend so on Mum duties so sincerely doubt will be able to. But will let you know if I can change things around Carol!

      Reply

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  1. […] visitors celebrate the Fête de Vendanges or Montmartre Wine Festival each year in October. Here’s the unique view up close to the vineyard from the Renoir […]

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