Le Clos Montmartre

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Clos Montmartre
At rue des Saules and rue Saint Vincent
Paris, France
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Paris, France: Harvest time at Paris' semi-secret vineyard

Le Clos Montmartre

When mornings turn crisp in Paris, it's the first bite of autumn. Time to harvest the grapes.

You may have walked by the city's oldest working vineyard without realizing it; plenty of people do. It just looks like a verdant community garden of sorts on a street corner, borded by the Lapin Agile, beneath the Sacré-Cœur in Montmartre.

But you can't miss it during the annual Fête des Vendanges—the harvest festival—taking place October 5 through 9 this year. (It's the one time of the year when the vineyard is open to visitors without a group visit pre-arranged through the Montmartre tourist office.)

Montmartre's history as a hub of viniculture stretches all the way back to the Romans, who built a temple to Bacchus (god of—what else?—wine). The vineyard on this patch was nearly lost until a group of citizens secured its protection from the city between the world wars, and in 1933, the Clos as it is now was born.

And the wine? Grapes from the Clos are marched down into the cellar of the 18th arrondissement town hall, where they're fermented and turned into just over 1500 bottles of pinot noir and gamay.

Refined palates say the polluted terroir makes for wine that's little more than a romantic souvenir. We say there's nothing wrong with that.

Photo: kables (l.); chacrebleu (r.)/Flickr Creative Commons

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