Strolling along the Canal Saint Martin will reveal a bit of the hidden Paris that locals know. It is a delightful 3 mile long waterway that cuts through the northeastern part of the city (the 10th arrondissement). Lined with trees and pathways, the canal links the Seine with the other canal networks to the north. The idea for the canal dates back to the Napoleonic era to resolve a pressing need for more fresh water in the city center. The Canal St-Martin opened in 1825. There are boats that you can ride and wonderful cafés and boutiques to patronize.
In the early 1870s the canal inspired the paintings of Alfred Sisley and fellow Impressionists. Most recently Amélie, the 2001 film, opened with a scene shot on the canal’s double lock, Écluse du Temple, with its swivelling road bridge.
Today, a portion of the canal is covered, from Rue du Faubourg du temple to the Bastille.
Metro stops Jacques-Bonsergent and Gare de l'Est
are closest to the shops and cafés;
Jaures is closest to the top of the canal.
Canal cruises are offered by Canauxrama and Paris Canal. The boats travel through more than a mile of tunnel and nine locks, under two swinging traffic bridges and eight footbridges. Duration, approx. 2.5 hrs., departing from the Metro Bastille area.