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kerouac May 5th, 2009 01:33 AM

Canal Saint Martin in Paris
This is much mentioned in the guidebooks as an "off-the-beaten-track" thing to see in Paris when you have had enough of the major monuments and museums.

I know that a few years ago, some tourists were put off by the giant homeless camp that occupied the sides of the canal for six months and did not feel comfortable walking through the area. All of that was dismantled two years ago, and the canal area has regained the charm which just about all Parisians and most visitors appreciate.

I heartily recommend the canal excursion boats that operate on the canal, although I have heard some people say that it is "boring" while others find it "fascinating" -- just know that the trip takes 3 hours due to having to go through more than a half dozen locks. I think that on a nice sunny day, this adds to the charm, but I can also understand people who got bored and cold off season on a gray day.

Anyway, I have put together a photo thread starting from the Seine and going all the way to the edge of Paris (I haven't finished the very last part of the report yet, but it will be complete before the end of the week).

If you would like to see it, it is here:

cathies May 5th, 2009 02:13 AM

Hi Kerouac, that is fantastic. We ran out of time to do this last time we were in Paris, now I'm really cross that we didn't drop something else and make the time. Next time.......

Thank you so much for the effort you put into your posts. I really enjoyed your recent posts with photos of Paris 'then and now'. Lovely work!!

schnauzer May 5th, 2009 02:28 AM

Thanks Kerouac, this is on our list of things to do whilst we are here this month. Definitely a sunny day excursion I feel.

Off to Jacquemart Andre today.

avalon May 5th, 2009 02:34 AM

I enjoyed cruising with you this morning! We missed it by 1 day last yeaqr but we will be in Paris earlier this year so have it on the LIST!

Do you prefer the Canauxrama cruise or the one offered by Paris canals?

kerouac May 5th, 2009 03:02 AM

I have only taken the Canauxrama cruise, which I found extremely pleasant, even though I was in charge of a group of 50 people from my company who were being rowdy instead of listening to the guide.

Dukey May 5th, 2009 03:12 AM

A wonderful thread and thanks for posting.

Royal May 5th, 2009 03:23 AM

Wonderful photo trip.

Thanks for this suggestion and all the other helpful tips you provide for those of us returning to Paris and always looking for a new experience.

SemiMike May 5th, 2009 04:23 AM

Kerouac, very well done, as usual! I had my camera out on our canal tour a couple of years ago, and there are a number of pictures near the end of my Brittany/Paris phototravelogue at

JulieVikmanis May 5th, 2009 04:28 AM

Great photo essay. Important for folks doing this to do it in the direction you took. Much more interesting to see the scenery appear as the boat rises than to see it recede as the boat "sinks" Thanks

ira May 5th, 2009 04:34 AM

Bravo, Kerouac.

You do realize that, because of you, the canal will now be mobbed by swarms of tourists?


kerouac May 5th, 2009 04:39 AM

SemiMike, I see that you were there when the tents were still there. It is interesting to know that the homeless did not arrive there by accident -- they were placed there and given the tents to make them as visible as possible, since most of us try to filter the sight of the homeless from our field of vision. The operation of making us see them absolutely succeeded! You can still see the little tents nowadays in hidden corners of Paris but there is no longer a concentration of them anywhere.

maxmox May 5th, 2009 05:47 AM

kerouac, The canal looks beautiful!

We will be in 10e one evening of our week long stay in Paris (we will be returning from Reims that day to Gare de l'Est). Does anyone have any suggestions for a quick walk and restaurant for dinner in this area?

Is the canal near Square Villemin a safe walk at night? We will not be getting back to Gare de l'est until 9h20. Would like to have dinner in that area... any suggestions are welcome. Thanks!

danon May 5th, 2009 06:00 AM

Thanks you. We are off to Paris in 2 days , will take a look
Wonderful to see great actors S. Signoret and I. Montand remembered.....

kerouac May 5th, 2009 06:16 AM

Maxmox, at this time of year there are hundreds of people out around the canal in the evening, as there are lots of popular bars there. Security is nothing to worry about, other than the precautions that one takes in any city (such as not wandering down a dark alley alone at 3 am).

My own choice for a restaurant would be Chez Papa just outside the Louis Blanc metro station, but it may not be sophisticated enough for some people... I love the food there, however.

dina4 May 5th, 2009 07:31 PM

that was wonderful!
thanks so much for sharing!


cigalechanta May 5th, 2009 07:48 PM

very interesting. I haven't visited there yet.
Is your job taking photos or is it a hobbie?

kerouac May 5th, 2009 11:18 PM

No, I just take photos at random and always have. I think you can see the difference between my ordinary pictures and some of the wonderful professional work that some of the members display here.

kerouac May 6th, 2009 11:08 AM

Just want to let everybody know that I finally added the last part of the canal photo essay on that same link.

I need some dinner now!

opaldog May 8th, 2009 09:37 AM

We did the Canauxrama boat a few years ago and loved it. I have alot of pictures of people staring back at us. Lots of friendly people on the sides of the canals waving. I definitely recommend it.

palette May 8th, 2009 09:49 AM

My two cents - I have done the canal ride at least 3 times and find it fascinating. I especially love the one mile tunnel under the Bastille area. If you bore easily, take a book to read. If it does turn chilly, you can always go below deck, although I prefer being "in the action" when the locks begin to fill. I also prefer the Paris Canal which leaves from near the d'Orsay because for the same cost (at least last time I checked) you get to cruise the Seine in addition to the Canal. And, for me, I prefer leaving from the d'Orsay end rather than Parc Villette; this way you are rising in the locks, not lowering, and what's waiting for you is always a surprise. The ride is such a great break from the hustle of getting from one monument to another.

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