Ministry of Economy and Finance – Before
It used to occupy the Aile Richelieu in the Louvre Palace, then moved to its current location in 1989.
The current building replaces the Barrière d’Eau, one of the tollgates of the former General Farmers Wall.
The fiscal perimeter wall was built in the 1780s; the French Revolutionaries pulled it down a few years later.
Fortunately, the Barrière d’Eau‘s two toll pavilions escaped demolition and were fully integrated to the Ministry of Economy and Finance.
In fact, the pavilion located on Rue de Bercy now serves as the main entrance to the building.
Ministry of Economy and Finance – Fortress of Bercy
However, many also call it the Fortresse de Bercy because of its boxy architectural style.
The whole compound is also tucked away behind high walls and security grids!
The 370m long contemporary building is parallel to the Boulevard and Pont de Bercy (bridge).
The ministry spreads over an area of 230,000m2.
The upper part of the building is a long structure consisting of a single block.
Gigantic windows open the lower part and form a series of 32m long arches.
The two end arches are 72m long.
The southern arch is anchored in the Seine.
Two speedboats wait there, permanently on standby, ready to take the finance minister or any senior executive to the city centre.
There is also a helicopter landing-pad on the roof of the building for more urgent journeys.
The northern end arch accommodates the Pavillon Colbert and the Finance Ministers’ office.
The arch spans the Rue de Bercy in the way of a symbolic gate leading into the City of Paris.
Ministry of Economy and Finance – Moats and gardens
A moat landscaped with small gardens isolate the building from the Boulevard de Bercy and Pont de Bercy (bridge).
Paved paths wind between a series of small lawns that showcase an impressive collection of contemporary sculptures.
You can have a good peek if you lean over the parapet on Boulevard de Bercy.
As you walk along, you’ll reach a monumental bronze door.
This door accesses the court of honour (Cour d’Honneur) and is adorned with unusual high reliefs representing Les Travaux de la Terre (agricultural works).
These sculptures seem to be an artistic reference to Sully, the Finance Minister of Henry IV.
Sully liked to say that ‘Labourage et pâturage sont les deux mamelles de la France’.
The Ministry of Economy and Finance of Bercy is not one of the most elegant modern buildings in Paris.
However, it is one of the most recognizable because of its unusual architecture and location.
Finally, you can visit the Ministry of Economy and Finance during Heritage Days – Journées du Patrimoine on the 3rd weekend in September.
Directions: 12th district
Metro station: Bercy on Line 6
Coordinates for Ministry of Economy and Finance in Bercy: Lat 48.840640 – Long 2.378390