Discover the Canal Saint-Martin, a hidden treasure of Paris
Published on 5 August 2020, dans Visit Paris
The tourist wealth of Paris is immense and multifaceted. It includes great historical monuments, museums, gastronomy experiences and more; all assets that attract millions of visitors each year. But remember that the French capital also has some lesser-known attractions. In a chic setting that offers comfort and tranquillity, the Hotel Marais Bastille welcomes you in the heart of Paris. Our hotel’s prime location makes it ideal for visiting one of the most pleasant and romantic parts of the city, the Canal Saint-Martin.
Explore the Canal Saint-Martin on foot and enjoy a picnic
Alone or as a couple, a stroll along the banks of the Canal Saint-Martin is a great way to relax. Recently the experience has been enhanced even further due to the pedestrianisation of some of the surrounding areas. Several access routes to and along the canal have recently been closed to motor vehicles by the city authorities. The hundred-year-old chestnut trees that line the banks, the elegant footbridges that span the water, and the scenic serenity create a setting that invites contemplation and evoke the Paris of an earlier age. Along its banks, typically Parisian bistros and chic boutiques await.
During summer, this waterway’s banks offer many ideal spots for a picnic. The Loire and Jemmapes quays are the places preferred by Parisian picnickers. In the dappled shade of a tree, you can enjoy a charming al fresco lunch at a picnic table or spread out on the grass. Nearby food shops will supply all the tasty delights for you to enjoy while watching the canal boats glide by.
Treat yourself to a romantic cruise through the heart of Paris
Yes, you can watch the boats go by. Or you can board one and experience the pleasures of cruising through the heart of Paris. A tour of the Canal Saint-Martin will give you a fresh perspective on the capital as you drift past places steeped in history. Departing from the Orsay Museum, you’ll glide over calm waters, through locks, and under bridges. On the banks, you’ll see restaurants, cafes and cinemas, most of which are housed in old and carefully renovated buildings. A great example is Café A, a restaurant-bar and art space located in the former Récollets convent.
The Canal Saint-Martin runs beneath the city’s streets for nearly half of its 4.6 km length, so your canal boat will pass under the Colonne de Juillet (July Column), which commemorates the ‘three glorious days’ of the Revolution of 1830, and the vault of the Bastille, where many of that revolution’s fallen are interred. After passing through the Jaurès lock, you’ll come to the Bassin de la Villette, once a major canal traffic port. There are old barges moored there that have been transformed into concert halls and theatres. Finally, you cross the Jonction de St-Martin, where the Saint-Martin, L’Ourcq and Saint-Denis canals meet, to arrive at the largest green space in central Paris, the Parc de la Villette.
Hotel Marais Bastille, a 3-star hotel a few steps from Place de la Bastille