Enjoying the Canal Saint-Martin
Published on 1 April 2023, dans Visit Paris
Some 4.5 km long, the Canal Saint-Martin connects the Port de l'Arsenal, the Port de Plaisance de la Seine, the Bassin de la Villette and the Canal de l'Ourcq in the north of Paris. This important river axis has an intriguing history and an obvious picturesque charm that Parisians have been rediscovering in recent years. Let the Hotel Marais Bastille team take you on a voyage to discover the Canal Saint Martin!
Narrower than the Seine and bordering districts that are less tourist-frequented but undeniably vibrant, the Canal Saint-Martin, which was constructed beginning in 1802 at the behest of Napoleon Bonaparte and inaugurated in 1825, is distinguished by the many places of interest it boasts. Locks, swing bridges, underground vaults, and delightful cast-iron footbridges can be found along its length. The Grange-aux-Belles swing bridge, the Récollets double lock, the Bichat footbridge, and the Bassin des Marais are particularly worth a visit. You can see views and scenes connected with the canal in many films and TV series such as Hôtel du Nord (1938) and Emily in Paris… Did you know that the Hotel Marais Bastille is located on the Boulevard Richard Lenoir, which stands upon the underground section of the canal? This part of the waterway is noted for its superb vaults and oculi that let in daylight. What’s more, the banks of the canal have become popular gathering places. Pedestrianised on certain days, they welcome walkers and offer the temptations of pleasant café terraces. Come and enjoy some tranquillity by the water.
A cruise on the Canal Saint-Martin
Several companies now offer cruises on the Canal Saint-Martin. Due to the narrowness of some of the canal’s sections and locks, the craft used tend to be smaller. However, it’s also possible to opt for cruises that combine both the Canal Saint-Martin and the Seine, giving you the opportunity to admire both the classic Paris of postcards and enjoy the lesser-known but more authentically intimate experience of the Canal Saint-Martin. And, of course, an aperitif time cruise while watching the sunset over the capital remains an essential experience with your loved ones or with friends. If you don’t enjoy being on the water, you can follow the canal on foot or by bike. You will need about ten minutes on foot, via the Place de la Bastille, to reach the Jardin du Port de l'Arsenal, which runs along the Canal Saint-Martin on its final part as it joins the Seine. Similarly, starting out from the hotel, you can be at the very beautiful Rue Dieu swing bridge in about 20 minutes.
Less popular than the Seine and its bateaux-mouches, the Canal Saint-Martin offers a more authentically intimate view of Paris. Whether you choose to stroll along its banks or embark on a cruise, you will not be disappointed! The Hotel Marais Bastille team can give you all the information you need to organise your trip…
Photo : Alexander Demyanenko
Hotel Marais Bastille, a 3-star hotel a few steps from Place de la Bastille