Paris is not particularly famous for its vineyards, but in fact there are 10 in the capital, producing all the main French varieties of wine.
Regions such as Bordeaux, Burgundy and Languedoc-Roussillon are better-known for their wine, but Ile-de-France as a whole has 132 vineyards.
Cultivation of vineyards in this area dates back to the time of the Roman occupation. In the ninth century, vineyards covered all the hills and plateaux of the Parisian region which were not used for agriculture.
Nowadays, the city of Paris maintains four main vineyards in the capital, with the oldest of these, in Montmartre, also dating back to the Roman era. It had disappeared in the 18th century, but in 1932 it was replanted with 2,000 vine stocks for all the main varieties of French wine.
Next, there is the vineyard in the Parc Georges-Brassens, in the 15th arrondissement (Vaugirard). Until the end of the 18th century, a vineyard covered the entire southern part of Vaugirard, producing the Parisian ‘Morillon’ and ‘Périchot’ wine varieties. These also gave their names to neighbouring streets.
The vineyards were squeezed out by market gardening and the slaughterhouses of Vaugirard, but in 1983, they were rehabilitated when 700 ‘Pinot Noir’ vine stocks were planted on the park’s four large, sunny terraces.
Moving to the outskirts of Paris, the vineyard in the Parc de Bercy is in the 12th arrondissement. In the 19th century, Bercy was the largest wine market in the world. The barrels would arrive by boat or train, and were directly negotiated on the banks of the Seine.
Traces of the old market can still be seen in the park: rails for unloading the barrels, and the halls which used to be warehouses. The vineyards themselves are the last remnant of this wine-rich past: 350 Sauvignon and Chardonnay vine stocks were planted in 1996, covering an area of 660m2.
Also in the capital is the vineyard of butte Bergeyre, a 600m2 vineyard which produces just 65 litres of wine a year.
Leaving Paris and heading west to the suburbs, another vineyard dating from the Roman occupation can be found. Suresnes was one of the many villages of vignerons (cultivators of vineyards) that sprung up during this period, and in 918, King Charles III gave the vineyard of Suresnes to the Benedictine abbey of St-Germain-des-Près. By 1690, there were 64 vignerons with around 20 hectares of vineyard in Suresnes, but harsh winters, mildew and the construction of railway lines meant that, by 1950, there was only one left.
However, from 1965 the vineyards were given new life, and they are now a protected site. In 2010 the Clos du Pas Saint-Maurice produced 5,000 bottles of Suresnes wine, making it the largest vineyard in Ile-de-France.