St. Martin's Canal boat trips

Jul 27th, 2013, 12:54 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 327
St. Martin's Canal boat trips

We'd like to take a SMC boat trip, but the information that we have is vague on how you get tickets beyond saying that the dock(s) is hard to find. Can anyone give me (very) concrete directions on how to get tickets and find the embarkation point.


PS: Many thanks to everyone on the list. You've been turning our first trip to Paris in 10 years--unplanned for a variety of reasons--into a great trip.
Joe18 is offline  
Jul 27th, 2013, 02:40 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,636
hi Jo,

presumably this is what you are talking about?

we got tickets by phoning the ticket office and then turning up at the dock at the Bastille. you're right it's not that easy to find but if you look at the map on the website and then google maps, you leave the Bastille metro station and head south down Blvd de Bastille and you'll see a restaurant on your right, overlooking the canal basin.

go down there and the embarcation point is on your right. here's the map from the website: [if you're getting on at the Bastille, you want to 2nd one]

if you book on line, you can get a €4 pp discount.

here's the booking form:

have fun!
annhig is offline  
Jul 27th, 2013, 05:22 AM
Join Date: Aug 2008
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The leisurely passage up to La Villette is a quite different experience from the big excursions on the Seine. The small boat passes through several locks. Often the waterway is at the same level as the neighbourhood streets, or even above, so you are seeing the local life eye-to-eye. However, in case you don't know, about a third of the route, particularly at the Bastille end, is underground. Tunnels, while a novelty by boat, are not particularly scenic. In sum, I think this ride is probably more interesting, particularly for kids. PS: There's lots to see around La Villette too.
Southam is offline  
Jul 27th, 2013, 05:35 AM
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I realize you didn't ask for opinions of that trip, but after years of hearing about it, I took it on my last trip to Paris and didn't not find it particularly interesting. If you would like to see that part of Paris, along the canals, it is probably more interesting to go around the cocktail hour or have lunch over there, and walk around.
stevewith is offline  
Jul 27th, 2013, 06:05 AM
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respectfully disagreeing with both Southam and stevewith, we really enjoyed it.

ok it's not the most exciting thing you can do in Paris, but it gave us a new perspective, and we enjoyed listening to the bi-lungual commentary and trying to work out what was missed out of the english one.

Having seen it from the water, I'd certainly like to go and have a look around on foot but it suited us. and there were lots of [french] adults on board who seemed to agree with us. the kids were the ones who looked bored and i would not have said that it would be very exciting for them.
annhig is offline  
Jul 27th, 2013, 07:56 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,685
Joe, I hope you don't mind me hijacking your thread, but it is timely as I was just looking into prebooking this journey for September. My mother is flying in at 9:40 AM several days after I arrive, and I know she will be exhausted. It will be my job to keep her awake, but gently. I thought this cruise might be a nice low-key way to pass a few hours in the afternoon. But maybe all these tunnels aren't such a good idea for a jet lagged person. Hmmm....

Anyway - looking forward to your report of your cruise.
rialtogrl is offline  
Jul 27th, 2013, 07:57 AM
Join Date: May 2013
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I'm a kid at heart.
stevewith is offline  
Jul 27th, 2013, 08:04 AM
Join Date: Nov 2006
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We walked along the Canal St Martin to La Villette and then took an early afternoon boat back towards Bastille. It was lovely to see the Paris neighbourhood from the vantage point of the canal. We went on a weekend so there were lots of families & folks out. There was even a bride & groom having photos taken on a footbridge that spanned the canal! It is a slow, leisurely ride as you wait for the locks to fill or empty depending on which direction you go!

Just a thought: you might want to wait to buy tickets until you are there and are sure of the weather. That's what we did. We bought same-day tickets at the Canauxrama office at La Villette.

2010 is offline  
Jul 27th, 2013, 08:51 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 118
There is also that other company, not so often mentioned, which actually I prefer because I like cruising along the Seine before entering the Bastille basin to start up the canal. The cruise goes from just below the Musée d'Orsay to Villette (or the reverse).

The company is Paris Canal:

sandyh is offline  
Jul 27th, 2013, 09:40 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 21,601
Some of us love that Canal Saint Martin trip while others get bored. I think it all depends on how long one's list of things to do is. If your time in Paris is limited and you have 3 or 4 things to do per 4-hour period in the city, this delightful activity is not for you.
kerouac is offline  
Jul 27th, 2013, 09:55 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
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yes, we waited til lunchtime on the day we did the trip, and phoned the office from the little restaurant on the other side of the canal basin where we were having lunch to book the tickets.

this was March though, not sure whether you could "wing it" in July /august.
annhig is offline  
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