Thursday, June 20, 2013

Paris does it again! The newly opened Berges de Seine.


I've got a confession to make. I've always had an aversion to expats who rave about Paris as if it's the greatest city in the world. For many people, being posted here is like holding the ultimate trump card. Nothing, it seems, can beat the experience of living in the "City of Light". But over time, I've started to change my tune. And now, at the risk of sounding like one more overly enthusiastic expat, I've got to admit that I understand why everyone is so proud to live here. It's because when Paris does something, it almost always gets it right.


Paris inaugurated the Berges de Seine yesterday. With an archipelago of floating gardens on the banks of the river, entertaining play spaces for children and al fresco dining options for adults, it's an incredible public space stretching for 2.3 km from the Musée d'Orsay to the Pont de l'Alma. There are organized free yoga, tai chi, fitness and Zumba classes for people who would like to exercise. Alternatively, there are many hidden nooks and crannies with wooden chairs facing the Seine where people can relax while reading a book.


And, that's not all. There are teepees where children can celebrate their birthdays for free. Parents simply need to reserve them in advance. Reservations may be made at the information booth at Les Berges or online.


For adults, there are aptly named 4 Zzz. These shipping containers may be reserved for 90 minute periods on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. They provide a private spot along the river to take a nap, read a book, play cards or even get married. And they're free! If you would like to have a picnic, it's possible to order salads, sandwichs, soups and desserts from the nearby catering company, Omnivore. As with the teepees, reservations for the 4 Zzz may be made at the information booth at Les Berges or online. There is a maximum limit of 8 people and alcoholic beverages are not allowed. On the days when the containers are not reserved for personal use, they will host exhibitions, workshops and performances.


There are plenty of play spaces for children...


... as well as games for adults. Just ask one of the attendants wearing a white shirt for assistance.

But if you would rather watch the sun set while sipping a glass of wine, the Terrasse du Faust is a wonderful spot for riverside dining. It's open from 11 until 1am, Monday to Sunday.

Please click here for the official website for the Berges de Seine and here to see more photos.

Terrasse de Faust

16 comments:

  1. This looks brilliantly executed! What a gift to the public.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "A gift to the public" - that's the perfect description of Les Berges! And it was obvious that all of the people I saw yesterday were very grateful.

      Delete
  2. Thank you for posting this... I have never heard about "Les Berges" ! This is a great gift to the public indeed !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think that you'll hear a lot about Les Berges in the future!

      Delete
  3. I feel the same way as you about over-enthusiastic expats ... but I can't WAIT to go and see this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Go! It's a fantastic public space. If the clouds would have stayed away, I would have returned for another visit this evening. It's going to be one of my top places to walk this summer. Maybe I'll even manage to participate in some of the classes. I love the idea of doing yoga next to the Seine.

      Delete
  4. We've been watching construction, but somehow missed opening day! In my experience, it's always been the London expats who acted like the cat that ate the canary, while the continental expats knew that the Londoners "did it all in English" (expats from the states that is). Therefore, they didn't really do much at all since they never had to study another language. I know, some people will claim that British English and U.S. English aren't the same thing, but it's nothing like a real foreign language : ) Another great post! Thanks! P.S. Ok, we'll give them a few kudos for driving on the other side of the road : )

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Will you be going to the Fête de la Musique tomorrow? If so, there will be lots of musical performances at Les Berges. Here's the schedule: http://lesberges.paris.fr/agenda/

      Your comment made me realize that I don't know any ex-London expats, only people from GB and expats who have lived in other parts of the UK. Having said that, my daughter would love to live in London. If she gets her wish, I'll remind her to refrain from looking like the cat that ate the canary! ;)

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the schedule of events. Hopefully we will make it to something on Saturday. Friday was busy going to Artcurial to get an estimate on some small olive tongs I've had for a while. Turns out they are 1809, Napoleon I. So fun to finally find out how old they are! Had no idea they also have a book store in there. Purchased a lovely book on the Orientalists but then had to carry it home. It was heavy! Have a great weekend!

      Delete
  5. “Aversion” is a pretty strong feeling but I can understand.
    Everything depends on an individual’s experience and Paris may be the greatest city in the world for many and not so great for many others.

    Those of us not living in Paris tend to idealize it, and don’t really know what is like to be there day after day, dealing with the traffic, the bad weather, the dirt and smells, and even the crowds of tourists everywhere you go!
    But I only wish there was a city on this side of the world with half the history, the beauty, the art and culture, and the diversity of things to do always like there is in Paris.

    I saw the Berges on my Facebook and I find it a great concept, very cool indeed.
    The plages should be coming soon, no?


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. After reading your comment, I did a "gut check" to see if I felt that aversion was too strong of a word and I decided it isn't. But I need to explain that I'm talking about career expats, those who have spent most of their lives moving from one country to the next. It has always bothered me that Paris is like a notch on the proverbial expat belt for many. The feeling seems to be that if you haven't lived in Paris then you haven't really been an expat. It's something that I've told myself must not happen to me ... but I'm probably going to irritate people when we leave Paris because I'll be singing its praises, too! I'll just have to try to control myself.

      Paris Plages is coming soon. It will be from July 20 - August 18. But first we have the fireworks on Bastille Day!

      Delete
    2. Sylvia, in this part of the world, that is North America, there is a city that has a European charm and I name Quebec City !

      Delete
    3. @Mary Kay
      I see what you mean. I think I'm biased when it comes to Paris because I do find it unique and amazing in so many ways, but I've never lived there and I know that the perspective is different.

      @Joanne
      Quebec City looks lovely, I should visit. Thanks!

      Delete
  6. Mary Kay, Paris should employ you as an official tourist guide! I never get over it how you know 'everything' about this city which is your home for a while now.... :)

    I thought the same as you did at the beginning and I have a VERY strong aversion against the behaviour of Parisians (not all, mind you...) - I suffer greatly under the stress, the lack of politness and I miss the laid-back attitude, the friendliness and 'laisser faire' I encountered in nearly all other countries I have lived. I still get upset about the apalling road 'morals' but I also LOVE what the city does for their inhabitants. I would - at all times and with no conditions - love to visit again and again, there is so much on offer and this latest is just the cherry on an already richly decorated and yummily presented 'cake'. Thank You!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Ah, last night , my friend Muriel was telling me that she came across this whilst on her daily walk, but I didn't understand what she was talking about. Thanks for the pictures, Something else for my list if I ever get back to Paris!

    Love Denise

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wow, such a lovely place to visit. Young and adults will definitely love to stay here.

    ReplyDelete