The annual Montmartre Wine Festival, or la Fête des Vendanges in French, takes place every October in Paris's 18th arrondissement. It celebrates the grape harvest of the Clos Montmartre vineyard over 5 days with an exciting Parisian programme of events.
What Month is la fête des vendanges de Montmartre?
Each year in October, since 1934, grapes are harvested from the Montmartre vineyard and made into wine. The locals have celebrated this tradition every Autumn as la Fête des Vendanges, or the Montmartre Wine Festival.
It takes place around the second Saturday in October and each year it attracts more curiosity with over 500,000 visitors.
The grape harvest celebrations last for 5 days over a long weekend and festivities are full on. The 2023 edition is between 11-15 October.
Montmartre Vineyard's History
Montmartre was covered in vines in the Middle Ages, with first evidence that dates back to 944 AD.
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. On rue Saint Vincent, on the hill or butte, it sits on a slope with an altitude of 130 metres.
2000 vines were planted in 1933. In keeping with the vines' history, Gamay, Pinot noir and Landay grape varietals continue the tradition on the butte de Montmartre.
What is the Montmartre Wine Like?
Today the grapes are cultivated without using any pesticides and only about 1000 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.
In previous years, according to Sylviane Leplâtre, wine expert for Paris vines, the climate has been rather more favourable and so a rosé wine has been 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.
Personally, in my humble opinion, he is being diplomatic, as the wines are not full scale gastronomic quality. It's cheeky and, as long as you're not expecting a grand cru, it's all in the spirit of the event.
How is la Fête des Vendanges Celebrated in Montmartre?
Ever since the very first festival took place in 1934, French celebrities are chosen by the mayors of Montmartre and Paris to lead the festivities.
The annual programme is centred around a theme. For 2023, the Montmartre wine festival is around the sportive theme of the Olympics: with respect for sportsmanship, our values, our bodies, the environment. In a nutshell, respect for others.
Festivities include many workshops, from a how-to guide for the local beehives from the Musée Montmartre, to floral displays. There are competitions, concerts, tours and lectures (many of them need to be booked in advance online).
Of course there's the actual wine tasting itself and a Parcours de Goût. This is a tasting journey around all of France with producers of hams, cheeses, oysters and more wine.
Bring your own glass, save yourself for the truffled omelettes, and perhaps even wear a black jacket and red scarf.Carol Gillott, Paris artist ParisBreakfast view of the annual event.
And while you're there, don't forget to check out the chocolate (try the chocolate buttes and kisses!) and macarons from my talented 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!
Montmartre Wine Festival 2023 - Plan Ahead
For more information, check out the latest annual edition of the Fêtes des Vendanges de Montmartre (in French), 11-15 October.
Free admission. Note that many organised events need to be booked in advance via their website, particularly the popular visit of the vineyards.
Metros: Abbesses or Anvers.
For more on the 18th arrondissement, see my
DIY online chocolate and pastry tour of Montmartre
plus check out the Paris tea rooms in the 18th arrondissement.
This post was first published 3 October 2015 but is now completely updated.