In the past, open-air restaurants in Bercy along the side river were serving dishes with a sauce made with wine and shallots, like the famous grilled rib steack sauce
Bercy, with shallots, white wine, parsley and butter. In the past they even added bone marrow... Or like the rib steack sauce marchand
de vin (wine merchant sauce) made with a full-bodied red wine.
Still today, streets names around the park recall the wine activity, like: rue de Pommard, passage Saint-Emilion, rue de Chablis. But, instead of the wine warehouses and cellars, there is only a park, called “jardin de mémoire” (garden of memory).
Divided into three different parts, the park is structured following the lay-out of the old lanes, which were all named from a wine area. On the ground, you can still see old rail lines used to carry the wine casks. Around you, you can enjoy the shade of the
preserved hundred century-old plane trees and of a thousand new trees. To complete the memory, four-hundred vines are harvested each year.
The first garden in front of the Palais Omnisports is the least attractive. Called “les grandes pelouses” (the vast lawn) is just at best a large meadow or the worst a straw mat; more or less well maintained, the square lawns are divided per the grid pattern of the old
lanes. Cour Dessort, photographed by Atget, was roughly between today passerelle Simone de Beauvoir and Cinematheque Francaise, located in a building designed by Franck Gehry (initially for the American Center). The Cour Dessort opened in 1878 was between rue du Port de Bercy and rue de Cognac. Dessort was the name of an owner of a wine warehouse.