Once Paris was surrounded by vineyards. Wine has been produced here since Roman times, and still is today. There are many vineyards in the Paris region, but it’s a little known fact that there are also a few still remaining within the city itself. Although small, they are all lovingly maintained and very beautiful. Most were planted, or replanted, in the 20th century, as a souvenir of the wine growing past of that particular part of the city.
Le Parc de Bercy, 12th arrondissement
In the 19th century Bercy was the biggest wine and spirits market in the world. 660m2 of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay vines grow today in the Parc de Bercy on the east side of the city. Planted in 1996, they produce about 350 bottles per year.
Le Clos de Belleville, Le Parc de Belleville, 20th arrondissement
Vines have apparently been growing in Belleville since the Middle Ages, in the 13th century there were over 15 hectares of vineyards here. Nowadays there remains just a small plot of 250m2 on the slopes of the Parc de Belleville, growing mainly Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier .
Le Clos Montmartre, 18th arrondissement
The Clos Montmartre is probably the best known vineyard in Paris. Vines have also been here since Roman times, although they were wiped out by phylloxera and the plot became waste ground. In 1933 it was saved from the property developers by a group of artists, and the 1700 bottles made each year (in the basement of the local town hall!) are sold with all the proceeds going to local charities. This is the only one of the vineyards to sell their wine. The main grape varieties grown here are Gamay and Pinot Noir.
La Butte Bergeyre, 19th arrondissement
The charming village-like quarter of the Butte Bergeyre sits on top of a hill with sweeping views over the city. The park here is not only home to the 600m2 vineyard, but also to a wonderful shared garden, bursting with fruit and vegetables, as well as six beehives. It sits just to the west of the beautiful Buttes Chaumont park, and produces about 100 litres of Clos des Chaufourniers each year, made mainly from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes.
Clos des Morillons, Parc Georges Brassens, 15th arrondissement
The area around Vaugirard was traditionally a wine growing area, although it gradually disappeared, replaced first by market gardens and then buildings. Since 1983 the wine growing tradition has been revived here, and now it is one of the largest vineyards in the city, growing Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes.
Coming across one of these vineyards in the heart of the city is a such a pleasure, and going in search of them is even better, as it can take you to fascinating areas that you may otherwise completely miss.
- Vigne du Parc de Bercy, 1 rue Jospeh Kessel, 75012
- Clos de Belleville, Parc de Belleville, 75020
- Clos Montmartre, corner of rue St Vincent and rue des Saules, 75018
- Clos des Chaufourniers, rue Georges Lardennois, 75019
- Clos des Morillons, Parc Georges Brassens, 75015