Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Canal ride from Bastille to Villette Park?

Canal ride from Bastille to Villette Park?

Jul 7th, 2013, 06:45 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 63
Canal ride from Bastille to Villette Park?

While on the Vedettes du Pont-Neuf website, I noticed a link to "Canauxrama". Has anyone gone on a canal ride from Bastille to Villette Park? What are your thoughts?
toneyks is offline  
Jul 7th, 2013, 07:03 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 3,700
If you do a search here for Canal St. Martin, you will find quite a few interesting threads about it. I think it is most popular among those who have visited Paris several times because it takes some time that first time visitors use at the must see sights. I found it very relaxing after spending a few days rushing around too much.
cynthia_booker is offline  
Jul 7th, 2013, 07:13 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,380
we did it too on our last [possibly 10th visit?] to Paris.

very pleasant and informative, the commentary was in english and french, and if you go to the canauxrama website or get hold of a voucher from their brochures which are available from their quay on the seine, you can get money off as well. [NB you need one voucher per person, not per group].

you can also get money off their Seine cruises with vouchers you can download from the website.
annhig is offline  
Jul 7th, 2013, 07:42 AM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 6,093
I think cynthia is right as we did it after we had been to Paris many times.

We took "Canauxrama" in Sept.'11.
That was the year of the best weather we ever had in Paris--9 days of 80's and sun.

I would only reccommend it on a nice sunny day. The beginning through the underground and the first 1 or 2 locks is fun and interesting. Then it gets a bit tedious going through lock after lock---it's very slow. When you get through all the locks, it gets interesting and picturesque again. Actually enjoying the sunshine and watching the people along the canal and on the bridges was quite relaxing. If it was cold, gray, or raining, I don't think we would have liked it at all.

We then took the Metro back. Would we ever do it again? Probably if the weather was good and we wanted to relax from all the walking.
TPAYT is offline  
Jul 7th, 2013, 07:59 PM
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 653
Worth doing once, one way. It is quite slow. Watching the lock system work is interesting. Parc de la Villette is quite large but not nearly as beautiful as the other large parcs in Paris. It has a few museums, several exhibition spaces, and sometimes holds concerts.
d_claude_bear is offline  
Jul 8th, 2013, 07:58 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,380
we didn't see the Parc de Villette as we had a fodors GTG to get to. next time perhaps we would go to the park then get the boat back.

we found a little bistro near the Bastille for lunch - the sort of place where the locals all know "Madame" and had brought her presents for her birthday - Nice!
annhig is offline  
Jul 8th, 2013, 11:02 AM
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,456
Here's another possibility...

If you don't want to spend two and a half hours doing the cruise, you can easily have a good look at a picturesque section of the Canal St. Martin.

Take the bus or Metro to Republique and walk up the rue du Faubourg du Temple two blocks to the Quai de Valmy. Turn left. This is where the canal emerges from the tunnel that starts at Bastille. Continue walking north, and for the next few blocks you will see locks, a turning bridge, and several of the high arched footbridges along a tree-lined section.

When you reach the Jardin Villemin on the left, you can walk through it to the Gare de l'Est where there are several bus and Metro lines.

We took about an hour to do this walk and took our time, crossing the canal several times, taking pictures and stopping to watch a boat transit a lock. If you Google the Canal St. Martin and click on images, almost all the photos shown were taken along this part of the canal. You can also use Google Streetview to "walk" along the route.
MaineGG is offline  
Jul 8th, 2013, 06:22 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 63
So, it's sounding like perhaps we should wait for another trip to do the canal boat ride since this will be only the second trip to Paris for my husband & daughter--fourth trip for me. But, I do like the idea of simply walking part of it. "MaineGG"--thanks for the walking tips!

Our destination is the Cite de la Musique which is in Parc de la Villette. Would a bus ride be a scenic route from Bastille to the Parc de la Villette?
toneyks is offline  
Jul 8th, 2013, 09:26 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 21,323
I like the Canauxrama trip and I don't even live very far from the Canal Saint Martin, so it's not even a question of it being exotic -- it is just a nice ride. However, some people get bored ("seen one lock, seen 'em all").

For a more unusual trip, in July and August you can take a boat ride from Stalingrad to Bobigny on the Canal de l'Ourcq for an unbeatable price -- 1€ on Saturdays and 2€ on Sundays. These boats only operate on the weekends and normally you have to get your ticket at least an hour in advance. For the return from Bobigny there is less of a wait, because a lot of suburbanites just take the trip one way. For anybody not wanting to take the boat both ways, the other end of the cruise is the end of metro line 5.
kerouac is online now  
Jul 9th, 2013, 04:11 AM
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,456
There's a good RATP planning tool that will show you possible routes between points in Paris -


The bus route they recommend from Place de la Bastille to Parc de la Villette involves a change from bus to tram, then a bit of a walk to the park. I'm not familiar with the areas the bus and tram take you through, so can't comment if it's interesting or scenic. I do like riding the buses and prefer them to the Métro since you do get to see parts of the city you might not get into otherwise.

Here's another useful RATP tool for figuring out how to get around:


The Parc de la Villette is still on my list of places to go, especially to see the Cité de la Musique.
MaineGG is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 01:51 AM.