10 Things To See Near Canal Saint Martin

As you make your way through the different parts of Paris you’ll come to notice a distinct difference between Seine River people, and Canal Saint Martin people.

The official Canal Saint Martin area is situated in the 10th arrondissement and is made up of colorful streets and iron footbridges that get visitors from one side of the water to the other.

Canal Saint Martin – by Tangopaso – Wikimedia Commons

The canal itself is 4.6km long. It was constructed during the 19th century by order of Napoleon who saw great need for fresh water to be more widely accessibly through this part of Paris.

Where there’s water, there’s people; and today the Canal Saint Martin is an entire, thriving neighborhood that is often referred to as trendy & vibrant. Here are 10 things you simply need to see near the Canal Saint Martin.

1. Haussmann Architecture Near Canal Saint Martin

Fresh water wasn’t the only thing that the Napoleons made priorities. Napoleon III issued a renovation order on the infrastructure of Paris. The order was carried out by a man named Baron Haussmann, an established architect with an impressive eye.

We have him to thank for many of the parks, plazas and buildings in the central districts. His architectural style is easy to spot, it is how we view most of the city of Paris; shallow balconies, white stone walls, symmetrical exteriors.

Canal Saint Martin carries much of this influence as you’ll see once you walk through the streets (Read more about Discover walking tours).

Haussmann architecture near the Canal Saint Martin – by FrantzJRF – Wikimedia Commons

2. Picnics on the Banks Near Canal Saint Martin

I believe this past time originated on the banks of the Seine. Particularly on weekends, you’ll see many a family or couple nestling on the banks of the canal for picnicking.

A day by the water is always a good day; since Paris is lacking on the beach front, the canal provides a beautiful, relaxing space for people in this area to kick back by. Unfortunately swimming is not permitted.

Picnics along the Canal Saint Martin – by Steve – Wikimedia Commons

3. Locations Used to Shoot Amélie Near Canal Saint Martin

If you’re a fan of this French blockbuster then you’ll need to make time to walk both sides of the canal and spot all the filming locations used in the movie.

In Amélie, the main character with the same name enjoys skipping stones on the water. The Hôtel du Nord and the L’Atalante beerhall were also used in the film and can be visited in the Canal Saint Martin area.

Amélie on the Canal Saint Martin – by Amélie – Still from the film

4. See a Live Band Near Canal Saint Martin

Le coq D’or is a live music bar on the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Martin, the major strip in this neighborhood. This venue hosts live music daily and is a really cool, really laid back place; ideal for a beer or “absinthe cocktail” after a day of sightseeing.

5. Street Art Near Canal Saint Martin

The youthful vibrancy of this neighborhood appeals to the attention of Parisian street artists. Unlike other parts of the city, street art is encouraged near the Canal Saint Martin. 

Art collectives, such as Le Mouvement, take the curation of the Canal Saint Martin street art and graffiti into their own hands. As you meander through the streets you’ll see the various panels and wall pieces that they have created to make the cityscape more interesting.

Street art in the Canal Saint Martin – by Joybot – Wikimedia Commons

6. See what Edith Piaf Sang About Near Canal Saint Martin

While you’ll visit this iconic musicians childhood home in Menilmontant, not many people know that Edith Piaf also lived near Canal Saint Martin for a long time, over on Rue Oberkampf.

The neighborhood impacted her enough to lead her to sing about it in her song Les Mômes de la Cloche: in English, The Bell’s Kids.

7. See the Boats go by Near Canal Saint Martin

They come and they go, day in and day out. The Canal Saint Martin holds boat tours that the public can buy into if they so desire.

If being on the water isn’t your idea of fun, its pleasant to simply find a bench along the canal bank and enjoy them from here. Some are themed, others are noticeably luxurious.

Any of the free guided walking tours in the Canal Saint Martin can give you similar insight and sightseeing to what the boating tours can. Be sure to look into one in advance, they tend to fill up quickly.

Enjoying the canal – by Guilhem Vellut – Wikimedia Commons

8. The Villemin Garden Near Canal Saint Martin

The Villemin Garden is situated along the left bank of the canal. It is a vast park area that is centered around public entertainment.

Amongst the green lawns, visitors will enjoy a fully curated children’s play area, a community vegetable garden and sporting facilities suitable for most ball games.

This is another wonderful picnicking opportunity for families and couples. The park is usually quite calm and far less crowded than the ones that reside on the banks of the Seine.

Villemin Garden – by Guilhem Vellut – Wikimedia Commons

9. Hotels Near Canal Saint Martin

The accommodation options for the Canal Saint Martin area are mostly comprised of hotel facilities. Some of them 3 star, some of them budget residencies in the form of hostels — all of them preferably due to their proximity to the waters.

I often get into conversation with first time visitors to Paris who report that should they return to the city they would stay in the Canal Saint Martin neighborhood instead of the city center. After observing the life around the canal and the plethora of living options it becomes a no brainer for them.

Because the Canal Saint Martin is outside of the center, the accommodation here is much more affordable. I love passing by the beautiful exterior of the Hotel Garden Saint Martin République; I’m told the inside is equally as wonderful.

Hotel Garden Saint Martin République – by Hotel Garden Saint Martin République – Uploaded by them

10. Pickpockets Near Canal Saint Martin

I hate to end this roundup on a negative note, but pickpockets are likely something you will see, if not experience first hand, near the Canal Saint Martin.

Let’s not kid ourselves, pickpocketing is somewhat of an endemic around the whole of Paris on any given day. The canal, for some reason, has become the main target area for the 10th arrondissement and one does need to be aware while walking through here.

Keep everything where you can see it and try not to let strangers bump into you, or divert your attention. God speed.

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