Une promenade à Bercy

No jet lag! I woke up at 6:30 this morning, full of energy and enthusiasm. Esteban isn’t as enthusiastic a morning person, so I set out on my own to buy us some groceries.

The Place des Vosges — which lies just around the corner from our apartment — was deserted at 7 a.m. I prefer it more lively, so I took a shot only out of obligation.

The adjoining Hôtel de Sully was also bereft of life. All the better, so I could admire the bizarre sculpture of an emerging mole that they’ve added to the courtyard.

When I rejoined Esteban at the apartment, he showed me an ad for a Jamiroquai concert at the Stade de Bercy. “THIS is what I want to do on my birthday!” he exclaimed. Our mission for the day had suddenly crystallized: We’d walk across town, find the stadium, find the ticket office, and hopefully find some tickets.

To reduce our chances of getting hopelessly lost, we walked along the banks of the Seine. We started at the Canal St. Martin, at the Place the la Bastille. I was surprised to find some lingering fall color — but not at all surprised to see this spot as a backdrop for a fashion shoot. Or something.

The walk along the river afforded me my first full look at Notre Dame. For me, nothing says “I’m in Paris” like seeing the Notre Dame …

Along the way, I also encountered my first truly remarkable bit of street art, near the Gare D’Austerlitz. I wondered whether this decal was an homage to the thousands of Jewish people who were deported to concentration camps from this train station in 1941 and ’42.

A couple of blocks later I became inexplicably fascinated with some large stone traffic barriers. (Clearly, I’m not getting out enough.)

At the Pont de Bercy, I paused long enough to contemplate the eerie juxtaposition of Romantic Paris and Industrial Paris. I also had my first terrier encounter. What a charming little creature! [As said to the owner with only the slightest hint of sarcasm].

The fall colors were still vibrant in the Parc de Bercy, and the dappled light among the birches was calming and beautiful.

The playground equipment was another matter, though. It looked as it if had been designed by Hieronymus Bosch. Seriously: What parent would let her child play on a giant corkscrew?!

Esteban and I stopped for a late-afternoon lunch in Bercy Village, where the former wine storehouses have been converted into small shops and restaurants. I had the carpaccio. Mmmm.

Oh, and by the way — I’m happy to report that we succeeded in our original mission: We’re going to see Jamiroquai for Esteban’s birthday. A rock concert in Paris. How cool.

Well, this day’s pretty much shot. I’m off to have a beer. À demain!


    • Your comment was very comforting, Hallysann: I can’t decide on a favorite picture, either! (I rather remind myself of the mum who loves all of her children equally. Ha!)

  1. This triggers so many of my own memories, especially the fortuitous encounter with the Jamiroquai poster. In my case, it was a poster advertising 3 jazz concerts at the Palais des Sports on consequtive nights. Despite the fact that the poster was pinned to a tree outside the Palais de Justice, I took it down. Still have it, framed, as a matter of fact. Since I was living on $10 a day (including accommodation!) at the time, I could only afford to go to 2 of the concerts so I reluctantly decided to forego Duke Ellington and Sarah Vaughan in favour of the rather more contemporary (at the time) Roland Kirk and Gary Burton (one concert) and Miles Davis (the second one). Paris – the city where dreams come true !!

    BTW: what kind of parents let their children play on a giant corkscrew? Twisted ones, obviously !!! 🙂

    • Twisted parents! Ha, ha! Good one, Xpat.

      And good for you for grabbing that poster. Talk about a priceless souvenir! (By the way: You got to see Miles Davis in Paris? Lucky guy, you!)

    • Small world indeed, Corey. And a strange world too, as evidenced by that installation.

      LOVELY to meet you, by the way. As soon as I get enough bandwidth I’ll sing your praises. Grin.

  2. LOVE that shot of the red leaves with the red boat in the background. And I agree, those traffic canonballs are pretty fascinating. Ah, and terriers – it wouldn’t be Paris without them, would it, bless their little hearts….(rictus smile)! Thank you for these evocative snapshots of Paris in all her complexity.

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