Gael Monfils

I’m in Paris until Thursday for the BNP Paribas Masters (aka Bercy Masters). There’s usually plenty at stake in the ninth and final Masters 1000 event of the year: the race for world number one ranking or the battle for a place in the season-ending London finals. But this year, the eight players who have secured their spots are already known: Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka, Rafael Nadal, Tomas Berdych, David Ferrer and Kei Nishikori.
I have however big expectations for this tournament:
– I’m eager to see the “new” Bercy arena: the POPB that hosts the Bercy Masters has been completely renovated (read more about the modernization project)
– I didn’t manage to get tickets for the Davis Cup final, so I would like to see the clash between Andy Murray and David Goffin in the third round. I also would like to see Rafa Nadal and Kei Nishikori.

#Bercy arena under the sun #Paris #bnppm15

Une photo publiée par @tennisbuzzlive le

 

#Bercy arena. I ll be from Monday to Thursday for the #bnppm15 #Paris

Une photo publiée par @tennisbuzzlive le

My first impressions about the renovated arena: everything looks so … grey: the court, the seats, the hallway. It’s quite depressing! The food is expensive, as usual: €8 for a pizza slice, €4 for a 50cl Coke bottle! If you plan to attend the Bercy Masters next year, bring your own food. There’s also a bakery just in front of the arena where you can buy good sandwiches. On the plus side: free wifi is now available in the arena, and the seats are much more comfortable!

#Bercy arena #bnppm15

Une photo publiée par @tennisbuzzlive le

 

#Bercy arena #bnppm15

Une photo publiée par @tennisbuzzlive le

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Bercy Arena

Home of the Paris Bercy Masters since 1986, the POPB (Palais Omnisports Paris Bercy) can be can be easily recognized by its pyramidal shape and its walls covered with sloping lawn.

Opened in 1984, it was conceived as a modifiable sports arena capable of accomodating between 3500 and 17000 spectators for over 24 sports from basketball to boxing to tennis. The POPB also hosts some cultural events like concerts and musicals.

That’s what the POPB looked like last year:

POPB

POPB

POPB

And that’s what it looked like today, a vast construction site surrounded by palisades:

POPB

Nice to see you again, Marat!

POPB

POPB

The POPB is indeed undergoing a major modernisation project, with a budget of over 110 million euros. The plan is to make the new POPB (called Bercy Arena) a world class venue with increased seating capacity, VIP areas, box seats as well as new bars and restaurants.

POPB

POPB

The skatepark and the POPB in the background:

POPB

POPB

I’m pretty sure the player exiting the stadium was Milos Raonic, what do you think?

POPB

Some renderings of the future Bercy Arena:

POPB

Bercy Arena

Bercy Arena

The building will keep its pyramidal form and its outside grass areas, but the stairs will be removed to create a main entrance covering nearly 2,500 m² on street level, and which will house bars, restaurants and partner areas open seven days a week.
The sloped esplanade will be connected to the Parc de Bercy via a walkway which will join the Bercy Arena to the Bibliothèque François-Mitterrand.

Stay tuned for more Bercy 2014 coverage on Tennis Buzz!

Photo credit: Tennis Buzz, except for 3 renderings (source: Skyscrapercity)

A week in Paris

Whenever I attend a tennis tournament, I try to combine tennis and a bit of sightseeing.
I’ve been to Paris many times – I’ve even worked in Paris for a year – so this time I wanted to get off the beaten path, so no touristy places like Champs Elysées or Montmartre, and explore the 12th district (where Bercy is located) and the 13th district (where I stayed for a few days).

12th and 13th districts are much less touristy than central Paris but are nonetheless a fascinating area to explore on foot.

Modern architecture walk

These riverside districts have been in permanent mutation for the past 30 years and are shaping up to be the new architectural face of the capital. If you’re an architecture buff, you should enjoy this walk on the waterfront, from the Pavillon de l’Arsenal to the Parc de Bercy.

Passerelle Simone de Beauvoir

Read the complete article here.

Bercy Village and Parc de Bercy

This area was once devoted to the trade of wine. Next to Cour Saint-Emilion, you can still spot the warehouses, now converted into restaurants, offices, shops and a museum.

The Cinémathèque, designed by Frank Gehry and the POPB, home of the BNP Paribas Masters border the park:

La Cinémathèque Française

POPB

For more pics and infos on Bercy neighbourhood, click here.

Musée des Arts Forains

Even if you don’t like museums, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this one. This is a must if you want to do something different in Paris.
Housed in a former wine warehouse, the Musée des Arts Forains (Fairground Museum) is a wonderland of vintage carousels, carnival rides and games.

It’s not the traditional museum where you can only watch and can’t touch, here visitors ride on the carousels and try out the other attractions like the waiters’ race.

Musée des arts forains

Musée des arts forains

Musée des arts forains

I really had a great time and for a couple hours I was a kid again.

Butte aux cailles

Full of bars and restaurants, the Butte Aux Cailles is a great place to chill out.

The Butte Aux Cailles district sits on a small hill, rising around 60 meters, between the noisy Place d’Italie and Chinatown.
The neighborhood was named after Pierre Caille, former landowner in 1543. At the time, Butte aux Cailles only consisted in uninhabited terrain and a few windmills bordering the rivière de la Bièvre (River Bièvre).
The 17th century saw the development of numerous industrial activities around the river which led to Butte aux Cailles becoming the center for tanning. Unfortunately, the dye factories turned the River Bièvre into an open-air sewer so they decided to bury it under the French capital.

Today la Butte aux Cailles retains the feeling of a small village in the middle of a big city.

Butte aux cailles

Street art in the 13th arrondissement

Street art

Street art

Chinatown

South of Tolbiac the shop signs suddenly turn Chinese, Vietnamese, Cambodian and Laotian, oriental spices fill the air and even McDonalds is decked out ‘à la Chinoise’. Welcome to Paris main Chinatown (Quartier Chinois), set amid 60s tower blocks in the triangle formed by avenue d’Ivry, avenue de Choisy and boulevard Masséna.

Chinatown

Chinatown

Chinatown

Not really a must do but if you happen to be in the 13th arrondissement it is nonetheless worth visiting.

Manufacture des Gobelins

The royal tapestry factory was founded by Colbert when he set up the Manufacture Royale des Meubles de la Couronne in 1662; it’s named after Jean Gobelin, a dyer who owned the site. It reached the summit of its renown during the ancien régime, when Gobelins tapestries were produced for royal residences under artists such as Le Brun. The name Gobelins thus became famous throughout the courts of Europe.

Tapestries are still made here and visitors can watch weavers at work.

 

Programmed in the context of Paris bid to host the 1992 Olympics, the POPB (Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy) was conceived as a modifiable sports arena capable of accomodating between 3500 and 17000 spectators for over 24 sports from basketball to boxing to tennis. Recognizing that sports tournaments alone would not be enough to make the project viable, the municipality also required that the new arena be capable of hosting arts events (concerts, musicals…)

Architecture parisienne.

Designed by a team of architects: Andrault-Parat, Prouvé and Guvan, the POPB can be can be easily recognized by its pyramidal shape and its walls covered with sloping lawn.
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