Last Updated on 23rd November 2020 by Sophie Nadeau
Tucked away in the little side streets behind the Sacré-Coeur, you’ll find plenty of quirky architecture, trailing vines and narrow cobbled lanes. And if you really look hard enough (and walk around the area for long enough) you’ll also stumble upon Le Clos Montmartre, a hidden vineyard and one of the last remaining vines in central Paris…
A History of Clos Montmartre: the Vineyard of Montmartre
Montmartre has long served as a favourite haunt for artists, painters and writers alike. So, of course, it should come as no surprise that nostalgia and a vintage vibe can be found pretty much everywhere you look. From the winding streets to the whimsical house museums, a wander around Montmartre feels akin to stepping back in time.
Longtime readers of this site will know that I absolutely adore Montmartre and have a fascination for the 18e that leads me there many a time more than other districts of the city. In fact, there are few better ways to spend a sunny Parisian afternoon than wandering around the district, stumbling upon secret sites and discovering hidden treasures along the way.
Vines have grown in Montmartre since at least 944 when viticulture was first attested in the area. However, in the entirety of the Île de France region, grapes have been grown much longer (i.e since the Romans first introduced the drink to the area over two millennia ago). And while many of the vines and windmills that once dominated the landscape of Montmartre in the past have since been lost, traces of nostalgia can still be found in plenty of places.
That’s why you would be entirely forgiven for thinking that Le Clos Montmartre has always been here. After all, it sits in the very middle of pretty houses and looks as if it some forgotten relic of the Roman era. However, this is most certainly not the case.
Instead, the vineyard you see today was created by the City of Paris in 1933 as a way of stopping real estate developers from purchasing the land. Prior to the creation of Clos Montmartre, the 0.15 hectares of land had been used as a children’s playground and dumping ground, among other things.
This new green space was welcome in a city that was quickly developing and the first ‘Harvest Festival’ of Montmartre was held the following year, in 1934. All this in spite of the fact that the newly planted vines not yet producing grapes.
Even the door handle to access Le Clos Montmartre is just lovely- how cute is this little bottle of wine?!
How to visit Le Clos Montmartre
Sadly Le Clos Montmartre is actually closed to the public. However, you can still wander around its exterior and admire the vines from outside the metal railings. Nearby you’ll find hidden gems like the Musée de Montmartre, Renoir Gardens and Place Dalida– what may well be the prettiest square and street in all of Paris!
Since 1980, an annual Fête des Jardins has been held to celebrate the grape harvest. For a few short weeks, the Vineyard of Montmartre is open to the public, through guided tour only. All in all, up to 1000 bottles of ‘Clos Montmartre’ are produced each year.
They’re auctioned during the annual harvest festival and the profits made are put towards funding projects in the 18e arrondissement. People often joke that it’s the most expensive poor quality wine to be found anywhere in Paris!
If you’re feeling like you truly want to explore Montmartre on a more local level during your time in the city, then there’s my free and self-guided walking tour of Montmartre. Otherwise, for those wishing to stay for a longer stint, here are my suggestions for the best of Montmartre hotels.