Parc de Bercy – Le Jardin Romantique

The Parc de Bercy was created between 1993-1997 on the site of the old wine warehouses of Paris and is one of the biggest and loveliest parks in Paris.  Some of the old stone warehouses were retained and converted into the neighbouring Bercy Village shopping street.

The geometry of the park is fascinating when seen on satellite maps.   A perfect circular path surrounds the Maison du Lac, which in its turn contains paths in the form of a square and a smaller circle.  The entire modern park has used strict formal geometry in the layout of the paths but these are dissected by the previous cobbled streets which show the traces of previous land use.  This brings an interesting contrast on the ground.  Throughout the park the massive stone bollards, curb stones, railway lines and cobbles are witness to the industrial history of the site. The Park is divided into three parts, Le Jardin Romantique to the east, Les Parterres in the centre and Les Prairies to the west.  As there is so much to see, I have decided just to show Le Jardin Romantique in this post.

Bercy Village
The stone warehouses of Bercy Village; the rounded doorways are the exact width of a rolling wine barrel.  Tulip trees (Liriodendron tulipifera) bring shade in summer and colour in autumn.
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Oak Miscanthus
Beautiful autumn colour from miscanthus grasses, a tilia (linden) and a vibrant orange-leafed oak.
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Lake and bridge
I enjoyed walking over this hand-rail free bridge.
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Birch grove
The white bark of a bosquet of birches, planted on a formal grid.  The path, a perfect circle when seen from the air, is an elegant curve viewed at ground level.
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Arbutus
An arbutus with luminous red berries glowing in the winter sun.
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Grasses
The rustle of these grasses drowns out the sounds of the city beyond.
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Labyrinth
The king of the castle looks out from the top of the labyrinth.
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Bench miscanthus
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Old road and canal
The old cobbled streets have been intersected by the paths and water features of the new park.
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Miscanthus
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Willow bench…….

Planes
These twisting and leaning plane trees have such character and the park has cleverly been designed around them.
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Autumn shrub
The steps up to rue Joseph Kessel are flanked by these shrubs with beautifully coloured leaves.  I’m not sure what the shrub is – does anyone know?  Maybe a Berberis or a Euonymus?
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Hammamelis
A Hamamelis (witch-hazel) already in flower in early December.
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Vestiges
The vestiges of the old wine cellars have been retained as a feature.  I think the plant in the foreground is Hydrangea quercifolia.
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Ilex (2)
I think this holly may be Ilex x koehneana, the chestnut leaf holly.

Ilex…….

Bercy canal
In the middle of the park, two steep pedestrian bridges take the visitor over the rue Joseph Kessel to Les Parterres, the central part of the park.  This is the view looking back over the canal in Le Jardin Romantique.

To be continued……

Practical Information

The Parc de Bercy can be reached on the driver-less and super-speedy metro line 14.  The Bercy Village metro stop is Cour Saint Emillion.  Or you can walk through from the other end of the park from the metro stop Bercy on the same line.   For a bit of extra sight-seeing, the other option is to walk over the pedestrian passerelle de Simone de Beauvoir from the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.

The Bercy Village shops are open 7 days a week including Sundays!  Monoprix is a good spot to pick up a picnic.  There are a lot of cafés, bars and restaurants here too.

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