Bercy Park and Village

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The only reason I don’t visit this park more often is because it’s located at the opposite end of the city from where I live.  I live on the west side, Bercy Park is on the east side in the 12th arrondissement.  It’s true that I have the magnificent Bois de Boulogne at my doorstep, so I’m not exactly sans park.  But Bercy has a nice feel to it.  It’s smaller, more relaxed, and easier to navigate than the Bois de Boulogne which is a sprawling, amorphous-shaped domain containing ponds, a horse stable, a zoo and botanical garden, small amusement park for kids, meandering paths through woodland, a hippodrome and, at night, the largest gathering of prostitutes and clients in the city.  Oh yes, the Bois de Boulogne has something for everyone, offering urbanites a one-stop shop for all their recreational needs.

The other day I crossed the city to visit Bercy Park. Here are a few photos –

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If you look at the ground you’ll see the original tracks laid down in the early 1800s. These were used to transport merchandise.  Bercy, which runs alongside the Seine River, originally served as a warehouse to receive, store and redistribute wines and spirits. Barrels from the country’s wine regions arrived by boat to the capital and were unloaded and stored in wine cellars called chais.

What I like is the segmenting of this long, rectangular park.

Bercy 028Lots of places to picnic, read a book….or write that memoir!Bercy 008There are also modern apartment buildings on the north side. Sometimes you get tired of looking at all that 19th-century hausmanian stuff.Bercy 035If you arrive, like I do, at the Bercy metro stop, you stroll the entire length of the park and then climb these stairs….Bercy 037cross over a road by way of a bridge and then arrive in more parkland.Bercy 049

When you finally reach the other end, you’re rewarded by a tastefully designed area called the Coeur Saint Emilion, better known as Bercy Village, in which to shop, eat and drink.  (At Christmas it’s all lit up with fairy lights and decorations.)  Bercy Village also includes the original wine cellars that have been renovated.  At this end is another metro station called Cour Saint-Émilion.  I highly recommend this feel-good place for a half-day outing.

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