Top 5 Facts about the Canal Saint-Martin in Paris
Do you fancy treasures? And adventure? Well, you might want to look for time and visit Paris every 10 to 15 years, and take part with the locals, to look for hidden treasures once the very famous Canal Saint-Martin is drained. Yes, this fascinating canal is drained every so often and people can go and look for treasures there! Fancy, huh? The canal is also lined by very old chestnut trees, about a hundred years old, and has some amazing footbridges crossing it; some cute little restaurants like Hôtel du Nord also don the place! Having picnics at different points and along the canal is also a plan!
Opened in the 1850s, the Canal Saint-Martin connects the River Seine, to Canal de l’Ourcq; halfway covering the Rue du Faubourg du Temple, and the Place de la Bastille; and has nine locks and two beautiful swing bridges. This canal has so much rich history attached to it and one cannot miss it in Paris!
Here are a few more fascinating facts about Canal Saint-Martin, that will interest you. They will help you learn more about the canal and some part of Parisian history!
1. Interesting construction
This magnificent 4.5 KM long canal was built in the early-19th Century when Paris needed a canal. Napoleon, I was the person who, with the new wine tax, commissioned and paid for the construction of the canal in 1802, with the order of the prefect of Paris, Gaspard de Chabrol. The Gaspard proposed that Paris needed the canal for the city to get a fresh supply of water to the growing population, as well as also help in the reduction and prevention of diseases such as cholera and dysentery. One of the other reasons why the canal was built, was that it would enable the city to be efficiently and effectively supplied with foods and supplies such as grain and other things, and this necessitated the building of two ports – Bassin de la Villette and also the Port de l’Arsenal.
2. It was almost paved!
With time, and with increased activities, and technology, most cities grow in population and rarely expand in size; and that is what happened with Paris. The city, in the 1960s, has a lot more vehicles and more roads or eider roads were needed in the city, and because at that point the canal was not being used as much as earlier as a channel of transport, and with the expansion of highways in the city, the canal was just about to be paved to provide wider highways! Aren’t we happy that it was retained! This is now one of the top tourist destinations in Paris, and millions of people visit the canal every year, to take cruises on passenger boats, and one can grab a beer or some food at the restaurants on the open part of the canal.
3. Of art, music, and TV
If you have been to Paris, and the canal, then there is a good chance that you have seen some graffiti along the canals; and if you are planning on going to visit the city, make sure to visit the canal to see graffiti, some of which were inspired by famous painters such as Alfred Sisley! The beautiful and historic canal has also been a set of several music videos like The Dilettante by Courteeners; and interestingly, movies such as Mission Impossible- Fallout starring Ethan Hunt, in 2018, Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s 2001 movie, Ratatouille, La Reine Margot, as well as Amélie from 2001, among many more!
4. Offers amazing leisure activities
Canal Saint-Martin is a beautiful place, and there are very many spots where people can take the time to relax and pass time while they enjoy Paris. Lots of concerts take place there; one can also access museums near and along the canal, like Cité de la science, the Musée de la musique, the Géode, and you can also just take a walk. The canal also offers a wide variety of activities for party lovers- there are several bars and restaurants where people can take their wines and beers at night, listen to music, catch up with friends, and of course, dance, and watch the fishermen and the flaneurs.
The canal is full of activities during the summer! And who does not like activities out in the sun? in the Bassin de la Villette part of the canal, most people go there for the music, festivals, water activities, food, and many other activities, so if you are planning a trip during the summer, you are in lunch because there will be countless activities for you to do!
5. Has one of the most fascinating cruises!
The beauty with a canal like this is that is you if you take a cruise on it, you would see a lot of Paris! There are very many cruise tours once you get to the canal, and you can take one. Getting to the canal from most parts of Paris is pretty easy, one can get there by walking or taking a metro from Goncourt on Line 11 République on Lines 3,5,8,9 & 11, from Gare de l’Est on Lines 4 & 7, and Jacques Bonsergent on Line 5. There are many points where one can get cruises. From the canal, and on the cruise, you will be able to see the Colonel de Juliet, the Temple Lock, rue de la Grange aux Belles, Hôtel du Nord, the Villemin Park, the Lock of the Deads, Avenue Jean Jaurès, Saint Jacques-Saint Christophe church, the 55-hectare Parc de la Villette, among tens of other fascinating things! The canal at some point goes underground at the Place de la République and people who are walking on the Boulevard Richard-Lenoir and Jules Ferry are walking on top of the canal! This concept of the canal going down- underground was proposed by Baron Hausmann who lived in Paris in the 1850s! This tour will take you back in time from the days before the canal existed, through history to the present, because what you see is the development over years!