My Secret Paris View (vineyard included)

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7th Oct, 2013

There are very few spectacular views in Paris that we don’t have to share with a lot of other people. The tourists have claimed the Eiffel Tower and the steps of the Sacré Coeur, while most Parisians will swear by the panoramic views from the Parc des Buttes Chaumont. And while their local instinct for the best view of Paris isn’t too far off, many of them won’t know about one of the city’s best kept secrets, just around the corner …

We are at the base of the Butte Bergeyre, a quiet hilltop village hidden in the 19th arrondissement, just minutes from the gates of the well-known Parce des Buttes Chaumont, accessible only by three staircases or a single winding road…

Once you reach the very top of the stairs, a rewarding surprise for you awaits just moments away…

Tadaaa! Yup, that’s Montmartre with halo of sunlight perfectly centred over the Sacré Coeur…

And you’ll be so taken with the view that like me, it might take you a several minutes to realise that there’s a vineyard right under your nose.

Well I’ll be damned! And all this time I thought it was just Montmartre and Parc de Belleville that had the last remaining vineyards in Paris…

A quick little French Google and I can tell you that this vineyard belongs to the city of Paris and produces around one hundred and thirty 50cl bottles a year, which is not very much, so it doesn’t go on sale. It usually produces a rosé that a few in-the-know Parisians are lucky enough to sample at the Fête des Jardins, an annual open day for public and not-so-public gardens.

A sneaky zoom-in and you can see the grapes to be harvested this year are looking pretty fine, so save the date for the next open day.

But since we don’t exactly have grape-stomping access yet, let’s discover what else is on this little bucolic hilltop…

Like Montmartre, Buttes Bergeyres was initially covered in windmills in the 17th century up until the 19th century when the Rothschilds first urbanised part of the hill and built a hospital dedicated to the treatment of eye disease.

On the other side of the hill, a family amusement park became part of the landscape, known as Folles Buttes. Then in 1918, the whole thing was levelled to make way for a sports stadium dedicated to the fallen French rugby hero, Robert Bergeyre. It’s hard to imagine on this sleepy hill, but many events of the 1924 Paris Olympic Games were held right here. Finally in 1928, the land was sold to real estate developers and Joséphine Baker was allegedly one of the hill’s earliest residents.

While the Buttes Bergeyres may not have as many chocolate box houses as some of the other Parisian villages we’ve visited, it does have its very own vegetable garden just to the left of the vineyard…

And you can walk right in and make yourself at home…

They’re growing tomatoes in all shapes and sizes and colours…

Giant cabbages and plenty of ingredients for a delicious green salad …

There’s an olive tree in the back and lots of great little hiding places.

And of course, a perfect spot to pull up a chair, open a bottle of wine and gaze at that view (even if it is a tad overcast).

Here’s your treasure map!

 

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