October Wine Festival Montmartre, Paris

The annual October Wine Festival in Montmartre Paris(known as la Fête des Vendanges), celebrating the grape harvest of the Clos Montmartre over 4-5 days with an exciting Parisian programme of events.

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.

October Wine Festival Montmartre Paris

Annual Wine Festival, Montmartre

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 …

October Wine Festival Montmartre Paris

October Wine Festival Montmartre Paris

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.

Montmartre Paris

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

For more information, check out the latest annual edition of the Fêtes des Vendanges de Montmartre (in French).

Metros: Abbesses or Anvers.

My online guided pastry & chocolate Tour of Montmartre

Montmartre Chocolate Pastry Walk

From the kitchen

11 responses to “October Wine Festival Montmartre, Paris”

  1. Café Renoir, Montmartre Museum Gardens - Mad about Macarons - Teatime in Paris says:

    […] 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 […]

  2. 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.

    • 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!

  3. I’ve never climbed the stairs. I’m tired just thinking about it. It would be less expensive than the finiculaire, but…

    The wine festival sounds like a lot of fun.

    • 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!

  4. 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!

    • 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…

  5. 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 🙂

    • Well hopefully on your next Paris trip we can meet up and do some of it together Liz!

  6. Will you go this year? It is sooo much fun. And not so crowded as you would expect. Thanks for the mention. I forgot you are a wine expert too!!

    • 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!