The picturesque canal Saint Martin, Paris

Text: Claire Lessiau
Photographs: Marcella van Alphen

Amélie, or in its official French title, Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain (The fabulous destiny of Amélie Poulain) by Jean Pierre Jeunet might ring a bell. This 5-time-Oscar-nominee was released in 2001 and was a massive blockbuster in many countries, for its poetry. Some might even recall Yann Tierssen’s beautiful soundtrack.

The melody lingers in my head when I cross the iron footbridge over Canal Saint Martin, probably one of the most memorable sets of the movie. The autumn leafs colour the trees, stain the quay, and reflect themselves in the still waters. Paris seems so peaceful and quiet here, with a few tourists shooting pictures. The locks opening and closing, the water violently forcing itself through the cracks to fall into the quiet lower basin leaving the canal’s surface smooth, the boat slowing raising to continue its way north along square des Récollets. The 4.5-km long canal was ordered by Napoleon to provide Paris with fresh drinking water and connect it better. Today, it is a popular spot enjoyed by youngsters to have a drink along its quays enjoying the sun and a game of pétanque, or in the many low-key bars along it.

Comptine d’un autre été – from another summer…

Travel tips:

  • Check out this interactive map for the specific details to help you plan your trip and more articles and photos (zoom out) about the area (short tutorial)!

For more in & around Paris, click on these images:

2 thoughts on “The picturesque canal Saint Martin, Paris

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