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Saint Martin Canal Paris

saint martin canal paris

The Canal Saint-Martin in Paris is becoming more of a popular destination for Parisians and tourists. Partly this is helped by its picturesque tranquility being featured in the popular French film Amélie. Many visitors to Paris are unaware of it, but it’s well worth a visit.

It is a 4.5km long canal that was built thanks to Napoleon Bonaparte. When he ordered its construction in 1802, Paris had a dire need for fresh water thanks to a growing population. It took 20 years to dig out and the cost was funded by a tax on wine. Two ports were created, the Basin de la Villette and the Port de l’Arsenal. For more than a century the river was busy carrying barges and their cargo into and out of the city.

In days gone by it was an area mostly inhabited by labourers but now the romantic iron foot bridges that criss cross the canal are a perfect photo opp. The centuries old chestnut and plane tree shaded quays make this place a magnet for artists and the well-to-do. In the spring and summer it’s the perfect place for a picnic and to watch the boats float by. You get the feeling you’re in the country – in the heart of the city.

Today, the canal is lined with trendy restaurants and bars and quirky boutiques. It is an ideal place for strolling, cycling and roller-skating. There are museums and art galleries close by. Concerts take place in the summer. And there’s the chance to take a boat ride on the canal and enjoy watching the locks in action. A boat trip will take you through several districts including the trendy 10th Arrondissement and the futuristic Parc de la Villette where you’ll find La Cité des Sciences, La Géode and La Philharmonie.

How to get to Saint Martin Canal Paris

Located in the 10th arrondissement; Metro: Gare de L’Est; Republique; Goncourt; Jacques-Bonsergent. Main streets around the canal: Quai de Valmy, Quai de Jemmapes, Rue Beaurepaire, Rue Bichat.

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