Saturday, November 19, 2005

Vineyard in Montmartre

OK, OK, it's Beaujolais Nouveau time but I am not a sucker for it; too much marketing and not enough quality! If I am going to drink average wine I much prefer the piquette (sour) taste of the Clos Montmartre which vineyard grows on the hill of... Montmartre. It all started with the Romans then continued with the Gaulois and the French until it became financially more attractive to grow concrete than wine... Fortunately around 1930 several artists (including famous painter Francisque Poulbot) urged the town hall to keep some land for the vineyards. Thanks to them, nowadays you can still find 1 900 Cep de vignes (plants) and the Vendanges (grape harvest) takes place in October.


  1. Hey there - great blog. To anyone living in Paris, I will be there in a few weeks, do you have any information on the riots and whether they've subsided or not? Thanks!

    Bonjour - un "blog" formidable. Pour quelqu'un habitant à Paris, je serai là en trois semaines, avez-vous de l'information sur les émeutes et si elles se sont abaissées? Merci!

  2. Yep, don't worry. Subsided, but even when they were going on, unless you took the time to take a train out to the suburbs really late at night, you probably saw nothing. I know someone who lives in the suburb next to Clichy-sous-Bois, and she said she didn't see much.

    Fox News, etc. love to blow anything they can way out of proportion. Come to Paris--it's wonderful here!

  3. The riots in the suburbs are all but invisible in the city. The clear and present danger in Paris these days is the beaugolais nouveau, deadly stuff that induces dreadful headaches if you can find a way to drink more than a glass of it (which would require holding the nose or some similarly drastic action!)

  4. Something I knew nothing about. Thanks, Eric, once more, for having made me aware of a well hidden aspect of Paris.

  5. Hi Eric.
    I remember back in June, we arrived Paris at 6am, got to our hotel, and immediately walked all over Montmartre. We were so worn out! But we did see this little vinyard; it was so beautiful, growing right in the middle of this huge city!
    Thanks for your wonderful pictures!

  6. Wow.
    You just can't keep spam away. I hope you can delete that.

  7. Eric Hypocrite !!! Come on, Beaujolais is something very nice !! It' s ok, it is not for a true parisian ! But it is for people ! Is it a kind of parisianism ? There were a nice US movie about wines : " sideways", and I would like to drink some californian wines, I think they are wonderful. What will you say ? Will you become anti-american ? Vive la Californie !! ( HIIppss!).

  8. Ups, I started a wine war here!!
    JP I did not say Beaujolais was not a good wine, I said Beaujolais Nouveau is average...

    Are you from Beaujolais?

    And BTW, I love Californian wine!

  9. Hi Eric
    Love the look of MOther Earth and her SOIL...but tre..are they ..I Hope not ..are they heroin poppies in the foreground...hehe

  10. Hi Eric, Hi all,

    True, the Beaujolais Nouveau is not my favourite wine, but for a different reason. It is a wine I like to drink in the summertime when it's hot outside and you want something light. Unfortunately, the marketing buzz begins now when it's the wine I least want to drink. By the time summer comes around, there are so many other Beaujolais to drink, good Sancerre rouges, and even Brouilly that you forget about the Nouveau.

    Anybody who comes over to France for a visit and thinks they'll be invited "home for dinner" should bring a couple of California wines with them as gifts. I've found that the French love to taste bottles of this wine and it makes for a good discussion about the differences. When it starts to get really heated about the quality of French wine vs Californian wine, you can get the last word in with the fact that during the time when the French vineyards were being destroyed by a nasty plague, they took pieces of California plants to graft to the vines. So actually, all of the French wine is technically Californian today. That should start a lively debate and if not ALL true, leave a little doubt in their minds!

    Elisabeth, this is something you have to see when you are back if you can squeeze past the tourists at the Place du Tertre and sneak around to the back of Montmartre.

    Sorry Eric, I seem to have taken over your blog. Excuse me's just you have such great people here with interesting comments!

  11. Michael, quelle mauvaise foi !
    I explain : yes, you're true, due to the plague, french vineyards had been grafted (good word ?) with californian plants. But, it doesn't "transform" french wine in californian one. The ground, the weather, the guys working on the wine are essantial components of a wine, as plants. When a californian wine is growned up by a french "vigneron" (what's english name ?), it doesn't become a french wine !
    BTW, they are real good wines in california. But I also tasted "things" that are not better than a lot of bad french wines (yes, it's true, there are some bad french wines...). And, don't know all of them, but it seems to me that good californian wines are expensive (not as french ones, we are the best). A reality ?

  12. Isido,

    I said this jokingly as it is always a good way to stimulate a debate (this seems to work wouldn't you agree?!). Of course they don't become Califonian wines...but it gets people talking. I also didn't mean to imply that I don't like Beaujolais, just that I don't like them in the Autumn and Winter.

    I absolutely agree with you that the price for value of Californian wines doesn't compare to the French selection.

  13. Don't worry, Michael, I knew it was a joke. And I love to debate. Personaly, I don't like Beaujolais Nouveau (even in summer). You can find good wines in Beaujolais, but the "Nouveau" is not a wine, for me. Something red with a strange taste, yes, but not a wine...

  14. I think you can probably find California wine at the Monoprix aux Champs Elysees (Franklin D. Roosevelt Metro station). At least they had some last time I was there.

    Didn't know Poulbot had anything to do with this little vineyard, thanks Eric. Very cute and unusual picture of Paris, indeed! :)

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