Canal St. Martin, together with Canal St. Denis and Canal de l’Ourcq, was commissioned by Napoleon in the 19th century to provide the habitants of the City of Light with fresh drinking water. It also served as a transportation route to/from the factories and warehouses along the quay until the 1960s. It was interesting to learn that the construction of these canals was funded by a new tax on wine, which was the main beverage consumed by the French during those days as it was regarded to be cleaner than the water!
Whenever friends visit Paris, I’d recommend that they visit Parc de Belleville and Canal St. Martin if they have the time as these are some of my favourite spots in the city and offer a peek into a local neighbourhood where they can explore freely without having to queue and/or pay exorbitant fees to enjoy. Plus, any time of the year is a nice time to take a walk along Canal St. Martin!
Here are some photos that I took of Canal St. Martin in the last few years. Enjoy!
December 2008: Taken during my first visit to Paris – View of the canal from a nearby apartment with Sacre Coeur in the background
November 2010: I think that the Canal St. Martin is most picturesque in the middle of autumn, when the trees are full of golden leaves. I love standing on one of the bridges, watching the boats pass through the locks. Very relaxing!
April 2011: Pink Flamingo @ 67 Rue Bichat delivers orders to customers who prefer to enjoy their pizza by the canal and you are given a balloon for identification. I was a little disappointed to be given a green ‘Pink Flamingo’ balloon. haha. Our L’Aphrodite of grilled aubergine + red peppers + humous on a thin pizza crust was delicious and we washed it down with some beer from the nearby Franprix supermarché.