Canal Saint-Martin

Combining a pleasant ambience with lots of shops and restaurants Canal St Martin is a very pleasant place to spend a relaxing afternoon in Paris

People enjoying a sunny day along the banks of Canal Saint-Martin
People enjoying a sunny day along the banks of Canal Saint-Martin cc licensed photo by Saturne

The beautiful banks of the Saint-Martin canal are buzzing with action. People enjoying picnics, musicians playing guitars and others who just want to be close to the action and water. It is a great spot to relax and read a book, people watch or enjoy a romantic stroll. Whatever your mood desires this is a wonderful location to while away the long hot summer days. There are many interesting cafes and restaurants that have sprung up over the years for those not wanting to pack a picnic. Besides all the modern conveniences the Canal really gives one the feeling of having gone back in time.

You can take a Velib bicycle to the Canal and ride along one of the two streets that border its banks or you can take a leisurely stroll down those same streets. It would be more enjoyable to do this on a Sunday when the streets lining the canal are reserved for pedestrians and cyclists alone making them much safer and easier to get around on. There is also the option of taking a pleasant boat tour on the canal, an option many first time visitors love to make use of.

The Canal St Martin is not just a pleasant place to spend an afternoon or two, it has some history behind it as well. Its construction was ordered in 1802 by Napoleon. The original concept was for the canal to join the Canal de l'Ourq and to supply that part of the city with fresh water.

The area was primarily populated by the working class until the late 19th century. Many professionals have started to look towards the area and now apartments with a good view of the canal are in much higher demand.

You will not be charged to enter the area but it is worth noting that any activities you wish to take part in will cost you a little extra, so make sure you bring some spending money along. If you do not wish to invest in a few delicacies or a trip down the canal by boat, then just spend a day relaxing by the banks of the canal. Even this simple activity is well worth the trip.

The beautiful and picturesque Saint-Martin canal was even featured in a movie in 1938. The whole scene was reconstructed in the film Hotel du Nord by Marcel Carne. This was no mean feat considering the number of restaurants and cafes that line its banks.

Nearby attractions: Parc des Buttes-Chaumont

Directions

Metro / RER Line Nearest Station Walking Time
M4, M5, M7 and RER-PGare de l'Est3 minutes
M2, M5 and M7bisJaurès1 minute

How to get to Canal Saint-Martin by Metro / RER

By Metro / RER: From Gare de l'Est Station exit to Avenue de Verdun and go through the gate into the garden called Jardin Villemin. Follow the walkway that angles southeast through the garden to the canal. This places you at a popular and pretty location at the bend in the Canal from which you can explore in either direction.

From Jaurès Station make your way south to the Canal St-Martin or north where you can walk the banks of the wider Bassin de la Villette).

There are also many Vélib Bicycle Stations along Canal St-Martin and it is an ideal location for enjoying a bike ride.

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Video showing various locations along Canal Saint-Martin

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