March 18, 2008

Canal Saint Martin

You can follow the trace of Canal Saint Martin on this map. The starting (or ending) point is close to Place de la Bastille. I already talked about this part, the so called Port de l'Arsenal, in some previous posts (1, 2). After La Bastille the canal goes underground, more or less until it reaches a point near Place de la République (the dotted line).

This is where you will find the more romantic part of the canal (with trees, pedestrian bridges...). Further up, the canal becomes more industrial (or rather used to be) and finally it reaches a basin, Bassin de la Villette (of which I plan to talk tomorrow).

Napoleon (sorry, it's he again) decided in 1802 to have the canal built. One of the purposes was to bring (relatively) clean water to Paris, the other was of course to use the canal for transport of merchandise. The port handling took basically place in the extreme ends of the canal, Port de l'Arsenal and Bassin de la Villette. The canal was finished in 1825, has nine locks enabling to compensate for 25 meters (80 ft) of level difference.

Part of the canal was later during the 19th century covered, (of course) due to Haussmann and the wish to open for large avenues and boulevards. More or less a total loss of traffic brought again the idea in the 60's to cover also the rest of the canal. Fortunately this never happened.
Today you can have a boat ride or take a pleasant walk on the quays - and there are plenty of places for refreshment.

Along the canal you can find the - at least for Frenchmen - well-known "Hôtel du Nord" - still there - which, with the pedestrian bridge in front of it, is the place of some famous film scenes; "Hôtel du Nord", Marcel Camus, 1938. The film was however made with studio decoration. A scene from "Amélie Poulain" was shot on the spot.

You can find most of these pictures on my photo blog.


lyliane said...

Il a du être noyé le canal avec toute cette pluie qui y est tombée la dernière fois que je l'ai vu! tu t'en souviens?

Shionge said...

Is that cherry blossom there Peter? Very very nice indeed, I wish I had more time the last visit in Paris...eight days too short ya!

Shionge said...

Hiya Peter...just curious why did you choose to reside in Paris ?

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SusuPetal said...

Oh, I loved this morning walk by the canal, thank you, Peter, but now I'm off to work. Dull...have a nice day!

Cergie said...

J'adore ce coin de Paris si romantique, je l'ai photographié pour illustrer un message d'anniv pour un ami-bloggueur. C'était en automne. Les ors lui vont bien comme le printemps. Une belle-soeur y habitait avec sa famille et nous prêtait son appart à l'occase (lorsqu'Anna a fêté ses 18 ans par exemple). Merveilleuse vue sur le Sacré Coeur, elle habitait au 8ème. Très bruyant.
Des restos sympa et la Villette pas loin
Lorsque le canal est vidé, l'on a de drôle de surprises.
Il y a aussi le ciné au début, on traverse le canal sur une barque l'on peut boire un café, c'est sympa et c'est là qu'est aussi Paris Plage
Vraiment un chouette coin à habiter.

(A un moment il y avait énormément de tentes de sans abris)

Salut Peter, je vais déjeuner à la Défense ce midi. Aie une bonne journée.

hpy said...

Le quartier a changé. A demain!

claude said...

Alors, l'Hotel du Nord est toujours l'Hôtel du Nord ! C'est parfait ! Je me régale ce matin. Sur le plan je cherchais où j'habitais. En haut de la place de la Rep, pas très loin de l'hôpital St-Louis.A 2 pas du Métro Goncours.
Merci Peter !

Anonymous said...

Of course also I stayed longer with this blooming tree photo after looking from my window ( you can guess, what I see - snowing ), but I looked with a great interest also at other photos. I think, it`s just March, when we are totally different nature, other things are always very, very different in Paris compared in Joensuu, indeed :))
Bee careful with your scooter!

Tietie007 said...

Un beau canal que j'ai parcouru, cet été.

Anonymous said...

Being able to get around is nice and to know where you are and where you want to be without constantly asking for help indicates you have been around in Paris a long time. The info you pass on to readers is very nice and informative. Thanks for that and your visits to my blog.

April said...

Ah, finally a place I know. It's nice to see that and to remember. We went by boat from Place de la Bastille jusqu'au bassin de la Villette.

GMG said...

So you finally made it; threatning since at least November 15, 2007 when I posted on it... ;))
These are great pictures, Spring is nicer and you caught Hotel du Nord and Amélie... Great job! It makes me think, why shouldn't I take the plane next Thursday and land in Paris... Miss the oysters!
Also loved to see the post on the (normal) Saturday. Paris lively at its best (as usual)...
Have a great week!

alice said...

En ouvrant ce post, j'entendais les petits cailloux d'Amélie ricocher sur le canal...Voilà un endroit de Paris que je ne connais pas du tout!

Azer Mantessa said...


nice photography and i must say the last pic is fantastic ... it is so serene.

enjoyed the reading very much.

Seda said...

Really really nice pictures. I don't know the reason but I especially love canals. They always seem romantic!

Istanbul Photo

PS: I post new picture today! I am trying to keep up my old rhtym!

Mathilde said...

Bonjour Peter,

Chouette, c'est encore mon quartier et encore une de mes balades préférées, mon "Amsterdam" à moi, je pars et longe le canal jusqu'à la Villette. Un petit café à l'hôtel du Nord.... (Chaise de droite, toujours) en semaine. Le dimanche, même pas la peine de s'aventurer...
Je me souviens pourtant d'un dimanche, un immense pique-nique avait été organisé, tous les gens étaient installés sur les talus, avec d'incroyables victuailles étalées, des poulets, des salades, des fruits, tout se partageait... Et moi, quand je pars, c'est le matin, les mains dans les poches, je grignote en route... ce jour là... rien, rien d'ouvert.. Même pas une boulangerie et de regarder toutes ces nappes... j'avais faim grave... Cette balade est agréable quand il fait chaud.. L’endroit est frais.

Bonne soirée

lyliane said...

Toi qui a envie de promenade en bateau, sais tu que l'on peux faire une mini croisière sur le canal?, je te prépare la ballade pour un de ces jours. A bientôt.

noushy syah said...

Beautiful snapped! Feeling romantic just by looking and the canal and the spring blossoming!..

Valuable info...thanks for sharing.

delphinium said...

Ah sacré Peter... tu nous montres vraiment des endroits de paris qui me font envie... mais malgré tout, à tous tes canaux, même s'ils sont beaux et romantiques, je préfère mes ruisseaux de montagne. Eh oui, on ne se refait pas. Je ne pourrai jamais vivre plus de 5 jours dans une grande ville je crois. Trop sauvage la Delphinium. Amélie Poulain, je l'aimais bien et puis au bout d'un moment, elle m'a agacée, parce que son histoire, même si elle fait rêver, est trop simple et dans la réalité, ce n'est pas aussi simple. Moi aussi j'aimerais bien que la sonnette de la porte d'entrée retentisse parfois sur de meilleures choses. Mais bon, on ne s'appelle pas tous Amélie, on n'a pas tous des poulains dans les écuries, et c'est ainsi. Je t'embrasse après ce message hautement philosophique qui me laisse pantelante.

Ex-Shammickite said...

It was very nice to see the flowering trees, so spring has come to paris! You take so many pictures of such varied areas of paris, I wonder if you are ever at home!!!

Maxime said...

Quand Paris se prend pour Toulouse... Une belle promenade romantique, mais malgré tout, l'occitan que je suis préfèrera toujours le canal du midi!

Mélisse said...

Jolies ces maisons aux couleurs vives sur les quais, la prochaine fois que je passe à Paris, j'essaie le café à l'Hôtel du Nord ;-)

ruth said...

Oh, sweet Amelie. It's nice to see these scenes, which I have not seen in person.

Chuckeroon said...

Peter! You are certainly needed in Brentford. Too cannot beat water. How fortunate that it was not covered in the 60s

krystyna said...

This Map with little photos is a very good idea.
Thank you Peter for this wonderful trip!

Peter said...

Bien sur que oui! .. et tu as chanté!

Peter said...

I'm not a specialist, but I would say yes, some kind of... You need more time next time and a guide - free of charge!
Several reasons: A nice teacher of French who made us love France, a traineeship and meeting a young French lady...

mp3 e mp4:
Thanks for this first visit! I will have a look!

Some people still have to work?

Peter said...

Quelques restaurants restent toujours à la Villette, mais certains - que j'aimais bien - ont disparu. Tu as encore des bonnes adresses?

A demain!

... et certains jours tu regrettes ton anciennes adresse!

Peter said...

I've been a lot to Finland, but not Joensuu... and yes, I imagine it must be quite different from Paris! :-)

Donc, tu as reconnu?

Yes, I start to find my way!

Peter said...

... through the dark tunnel!

Hope to see you here then for the weekend, sharing some oysters!
(Yes, I remember that you asked me "for when the Canal?", just after my posts about la Bastille. It took a couple of months!)

Alors, il faut venir!

Peter said...

Thanks for the compliments about the last picture (the one I did not take myself)! :-)

Canals are romantic!

Mes photos sont de dimanche matin (mois de mars et une petite pluie). Il y des moments meilleurs, c'est clair!

Peter said...

Je sais... mais je veux faire une balade ou je navigue et ouvre les écluses moi-même..., bien sur avec l'aide des quelques amis!

Yes, I believe that we all agree that this is a romantic surrounding!

Peter said...

A sacrée Delphinium…on peut aimer les canaux de Paris ET les ruisseaux des Alpes ! Tu as raison, la réalité n’est pas toujours simple, main nous avons quand’ même le droit de rêver ? Je t’ embrasse également, chère philosophe… et bonne nuit !

With my new little electric "scooter", it's easy to go from one place to another!

Ah.... le Canal du Midi! Un jour je ferai un tour!

Peter said...

On prend un verre ensemble?

You mean that you haven't seen the film? !!

If you give me a nice mission, I will come!

Peter said...

Thanks! Yes, I will use this way again, now and then!

hpy said...

Atmosphère, atmosphère est-ce que j’ai une gueule d’atmosphère.

Peter said...


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Charles said...

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Congratulations ! Charles

colicrelief said...

What a great place to just sit and admire the place. You can really enjoy the lush trees with their flowers blooming.

mensknitwear said...

Great pics. Capturing the beauty of Canal St. Martin with its lush trees and places where can relax and enjoy the view.

onlinepowerhouse said...

The canal I think is very important to the areas surrounding it. It gives a nice sound that can sooths you.

paracashotels said...

The canal would be more attractive if all the trees are in full bloom. Its nice to enjoy the sights.