The Windmills of Montmartre: Paris’ surviving windmills

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The steep rue Lepic (18th arrondissement) that climbs the hill of Montmartre gives access to Paris‘ two surviving windmills. Commonly named ‘Moulin de la Galette’, the site actually comprises of two windmills: Moulin Radet and Moulin de Blute-Fin.

The Windmills of Montmartre: A bit of History

Windmills of Montmartre: Moulin du Radet © French Moments

Moulin du Radet © French Moments

The windmills were used to grind the flour and press the local grapes and stood side by side.

The mills were bought by the Debray family in 1809. In 1814, during the siege of Paris, the windmill was heroically defended against the Cossacks by miller Debray who was killed and its corpse nailed to the wings of the windmill. His surviving son decided to turn the windmill into a dance hall named ‘Moulin de la Galette’.

The Debray millers made a ‘galette’, that is a small brown bread which was sold with a glass of milk. In 1830 the Moulin de la Galette became a cabaret when the milk was replaced with wine produced in Montmartre.


Le Moulin Blute-Fin

Windmills of Montmartre: Moulin Blute-Fin © French Moments

Moulin Blute-Fin © French Moments

The Blute-Fin Windmill is the only functioning windmill still standing in Paris. It was one of the thirty windmills that once stood atop the hill of Montmartre. Also known as ‘Moulin de la Galette’ it was constructed in 1622. Its name derived from the French verb ‘bluter’ meaning sifting flour for the separation from the bran.

Now part of a private residence, the windmill is not accessible to the public.


Le Moulin du Radet

Windmills of Montmartre: Moulin du Radet © French Moments

Moulin du Radet © French Moments

The Radet Windmill was built in 1717 and restored in 1760. It was originally standing side by side with the Blute-Fin Windmill. In 1924, the Radet mill was moved to the corner of rue Girardon and rue Lepic. It now houses a restaurant.


The windmills of Montmartre and the painters

The windmills have inspired many painters for many years: Corot, Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec, Van Gogh and Willette.

Le Bal du Moulin de la Galette by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1876):

The Bal du moulin de la Galette by Pierre-Auguste Renoir 1876

Pierre-Auguste Renoir – The Bal du moulin de la Galette (1876)

Le Moulin de la Galette by Vincent van Gogh (1887):

Le Moulin de la Galette by Vincent van Gogh 1886

Vincent van Gogh: Le Moulin de la Galette (1886)

Le Moulin de la Galette by Vincent van Gogh (1887):

Le Moulin de la Galette by Vincent van Gogh 1887

Vincent van Gogh – Le Moulin de la Galette (1887)

The Bal du moulin de la Galette by Toulouse-Lautrec 1876:

Le Moulin de la Galette by Toulouse-Lautrec 1889

Toulouse-Lautrec – Le Moulin de la Galette (1889)

Find out more about the hill of Montmartre.

The situation of the Moulin Radet on Google Map:


 

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About Author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. He has a background teaching French, Economics and Current Affairs, and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations, and a degree of Economics and Management. Pierre is the author of the Discovery Course on the Secrets of the Eiffel Tower and the Christmas book "Voyage au Pays de Noël".

4 Comments

  1. Thank you for your FYI. I was staring out the window and wondered about the windmill dotted within Montmartre.

    • Thank you Josie for your comment. I’m very happy to have helped you understanding this interesting fact about Montmartre ! 🙂

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