The first act of la Commune Libre de Montmartre (the Free Commune of Montmartre), founded in 1920 by Jules Depaquit, was to declare the separation of Montmartre from the State!
Even though it has been attached to Paris in 1860, Montmartre has always claimed its independence.
In 1920, the town hall of la Commune Libre de Montmartre, situated on the Place du Tertre – where the Tourist Information Centre stands now – held its first elections. You could vote for a Cubist electoral roll composed of Picasso and Max Jacob or a Dadaist one that gathered Tzara, Breton and Picabia.
Eventually, on April 11th 1920, the election was won by the Antigratteciellistes (the Anti-Skyscraper Party) – Poulbot, “le Père Frédé” (Frédéric Gérard) and Suzanne Valadon – and Jules Depaquit (founder of “la Soupe Populaire” as well as “la Foire aux Croutes”) became the first mayor of la Commune Libre de Montmartre.
The Fête des Vendanges (Grape Harvest Festival) was first held in 1934 by mayor Pierre Labric; he also created the Tourist Information Centre of the historical Vieux Montmartre in 1952 and crowned the late lamented “Anatole” as Garde Champêtre (town policeman) of la Commune Libre de Montmartre.
Today, the headquarters of la Commune Libre can be seen in the rue du Mont Cenis, together with the mayor, a poet and writer: Jack-André Yatt. It regularly organises events around the history of the quartier and offers Montmartre’s lovers the opportunity to have a citizenship card of la Commune Libre .