Flâneries in Paris: Explore the Bercy District

   628    4
Flâneries in Paris: Explore the Bercy District
This is the 25th in a series of walking tours highlighting the sites and stories of diverse districts of Paris. I didn’t know much about Bercy, in the 12th arrondissement, when I spotted it as a blank area of my map, untrodden on any flânerie to date. I had two vague notions: that concerts happen there and that “Bercy” is a byword for government finances. As it turned out, both those aspects were immediately apparent as I emerged from the metro station.  The towering cream buildings curving around in both directions above my head make up the Ministry of Economics and Finance, whose staff were moved out of the Louvre in 1989 – the same year in which the pyramid appeared – and transferred to work in these purpose-designed cream-colored blocks. I wondered how many of those working away up there would opt to move back to the first arrondissement if they could, and swap surfacing from Bercy metro for a morning saunter to the office through the Tuileries. But then, not everyone can live along the Rue de Rivoli, so perhaps the transfer suits them?  Accor Arena. Photo Credit: Marian Jones And just off to my right, the vast Accor Arena whose digital display board offered upcoming concerts – Sting, Djadja & Dinaz – and whose entry gates, labelled A to U stretched off down the Rue de Bercy. I imagined up to 20,000 fans streaming out of the metro and into the arena, whose seating capacity equals Madison Square Garden. Would they collide with as many finance workers heading home in the opposite direction? The arena itself is a triumph of glass and metal, relieved by a grass-covered roof and just past it is the Esplanade named after Johnny Hallyday, who played over a hundred concerts here. Other signs promised an ice rink, the Parc Bercy, the  Cinématheque. It was difficult to pin Bercy down. What were all these disparate things doing here?  I have a theory that almost everything in Paris can be traced back to either Napoleon or Louis XIV and sure enough, a little research revealed that this is true for Bercy, however futuristic my first impressions had been. Remains of some of the earliest human settlements in Paris, neolithic boats submerged in former marshland for example, may have come to light in Bercy, but it was the Sun King who put it on the modern map.   
  • SUBSCRIBE
  • ALREADY SUBSCRIBED?

Lead photo credit : The Quartier de Bercy, seen from above. Photo credit: Mortimer62 / Wikimedia commons

More in Bercy, Flâneries in Paris, walking tour

Previous Article Demory: The First Craft Brewery in Paris
Next Article Paris Fashion Week: The Best Street Style


Recently retired from teaching Modern Languages (French and German), Marian now has time to develop her interests in travel and European culture and history. She will be in Paris as often as she can, visiting places old and new, finding out their stories and writing it all up as soon as she gets home. Marian also runs the weekly podcast series, City Breaks, offering in-depth coverage of popular city break destinations, with lots of background history and cultural information. She has covered Paris in 22 episodes but looks forward to updating the series every now and then with some Paris Extra episodes.

Comments

  • Victoria Zebrower
    2024-03-16 02:00:29
    Victoria Zebrower
    Very good article. I hope to come back to this area again in the future. I was here in 2007 and liked the changes very much. One thing: Madison Square Garden in New York is just a singular garden. We refer to it as “The Garden”. It’s never plural. It may have been a typo to write it with an ‘s’, but it stood out as someone who wonders if I’m saying or pronouncing landmarks in other cities correctly. Thank you very much.

    REPLY

    • Marian Jones
      2024-04-30 10:57:17
      Marian Jones
      Thank you, Victoria! I'm glad you liked the piece. And apologies for misnaming MSG. I'm afraid that here in GB you quite often hear it made plural, so it just sounded right to me. I've just googled it and am glad to say that we Brits do normally get it right in print, so that's something! Thanks for alerting me!

      REPLY

  • Nancy Russell
    2024-03-14 06:13:00
    Nancy Russell
    Loved this have been to Paris at least 70 times and have never explored this section of the City. You have made it sound so inviting that I definitely want to see it when I come again.

    REPLY

    • Marian Jones
      2024-03-14 06:29:03
      Marian Jones
      Merci, Nancy. Yes, it's certainly an interesting area, even if not standard 'picture postcard Paris'. I'll go back for sure, to wander, but also to have a proper look round the Cinémathèque and also the fairground museum. I think you have to book that one in advance, which I hadn’t done last time, but it sounds great fun.

      REPLY