You already know all you need to know about the Eiffel Tower, Montmartre and Champs-Elysées. Now, you want to explore some secret corners of Paris? Then we have the perfect place for you - The Canal Saint Martin. The canal flows in the 10th and 11th arrondissement of Paris and connects the Villette basin in the northwest of the city to the Seine and it is one of the most popular Parisian places for leisure during the spring and summer time. Unforgettable relaxing experience, that will make you even forget you are in Paris.
The construction of the Canal Saint Martin was ordered by Napoleon I in 1802, intended originally to supply the capital with fresh water but also with food and building materials. Inaugurated in 1825, the canal is 4.5 km long witch include 2 km of underground and has nine locks and two swing bridges for a total height difference of 25 meter. The Canal Saint Martin almost disappeared in 1970. The municipality had decided to replace it with a motorway, but the local population was opposed to this decision. The project was finally abandoned and today it is a place to go for a walk on the banks, to picnic with friends, even to fly fish, observe the ducks or just to enjoy its special atmosphere.
The attractive cast-iron footbridges, a long green path and the mysterious underground are just some of the reasons why the Canal Saint Martin has so much success among Parisians. It is also a perfect place to take a nice and romantic cruise in one of the passenger boats. You can sail along the Canal and discover the history of this part of city, the unusual anecdotes about the canal and see the underground vault. Many shops, restaurants and cafes have settled on the edge of the Canal Saint Martin. You can stop and have a delicious organic pastry and coffee in a bakery “Du pain et des idées” or have a lunch in a “Hotel du nord”, the famous restaurant classified historical monument.
The canal inspired painters such as Alfred Sisley and today street art artiste do they graffiti along the Canal. It is also the place where many films were shoot, like the French movie “Amelie Poulain” in witch Amelie go to the Canal to do some stone skipping. Even Edith Piaf was singing about the Canal in her song “Les momes de la cloche” in 1936. The canal Saint Martin is drained and cleaned every 15 years, and it is a perfect moment for Parisians to discover some real treasures that has been hiding under the water. Some of them will leave you astonished, like bikes or even the toilet seats…
To access the Canal Saint Martin take an exit on the following Paris Metro stations: République, Goncourt, Jacques Bonsergent or Jaures.
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