Last week I took a walk around the Parc de Bercy (12th). After opening just over a decade ago, the park and its gardens finally have a "lived in" feel. All of the flowers are in bloom, the trees shrubs have grown big enough to provide plenty of shade, and even the ducks seem to be at home now.
The Rose Garden at Bercy Park.
Being new, and slightly off the beaten track, the park is usually one of the quietest in Paris, the perfect place to hide with your lover in a leafy corner.
A leafy trail.
But the tranquility may be short-lived, since the new Passerelle Simone de Beauvoir is set to open next month, linking the François Mitterrand Library (and MK2 cinema and entertainment complex) directly to the park.
The new bridge and the library towers in the background.
The bridge connects to the park at the top of these stairs (that’s a cascading fountain running down the center).
The Bercy vineyard and Maison du Jardinage in the back.
Bercy Park used to be part of the old wine bottling district of Paris. Wine used to arrive in big barrels from all over France via the Seine, then were stored and bottled in the stone warehouses, or chais, at Bercy (which was outside the city limits until the 1860s). See some old photos here. This industry prospered until the early 2Oth century, when wines started to be bottled "at the château" instead.
The "Potager", an educational garden for students within the park.
The whole district, completely run down by the 1990s, was completely transformed with a park, sports stadium, entertainment complex, and office buildings (including the enormous FISC tax-collector’s HQ). Some of the original chais, cobblestones and buildings were preserved in the park. There are also several plane trees that are over 100 years old.
This historic building is now the Maison du Jardinage, open in the afternoon.
The pond and duck houses. Trees in the back disguise the Bercy Village shopping center.
The park is divided into two sections by a busy street, but two foot bridges make it easy to cross. At the far side of the park is Bercy Village, with cafés, shops and a movie theatre.
One of the resident water fowl near the lily pond.