You might have heard of the name “Bercy” being thrown around as one of those legendary European spots on the list of every visiting American pro, or even remember Andrew Reynold’s superhuman frontside flip down the Bercy 4 block (and his even more ridiculous backside heel down the 5). Bercy has seen some very significant moments in skateboarding history and deserves its place in skateboarding’s rich cultural history. Historically, Bercy is primarily a wine warehousing neighborhood.
In 1982, the City launched a vast program to revitalize the east of Paris, starting with the official opening in early 1984 of the Bercy Arena (originally known as ‘Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy’), which is primarily an indoor sports arena and concert hall. But as skateboarders, it’s this aspect of Bercy’s architecture that specifically interests us.
The Arena itself is shaped like a pyramid with its walls covered with grass. Remember when Ali, Bastien and Arto butt slid down the grass wall in the Flip ‘Sorry’ intro (see 1:12 in the link below).
This feature offered the perfect playground for the inner street skater inside each of us. I went to Bercy the first time I went skating in Paris, and I was hyped! Although there were a lot of people, due to the size of the place you were still able to enjoy it and also have enough space to try stuff.
While the Bercy ledges are world famous and frankly pretty insane, it was really the blocks (4 then 5) that attracted pros from all around the world.
Unfortunately, the Bercy complex is now truly part of skateboarding’s history books in a very literal sense because the area is being redeveloped but should reopen at the end of the year. Treasure every spot now, as you’ll never know when they will become a ghost of skateboarding’s seasons past!