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Canal Saint-Martin

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Canal St. Martin | Paris

Published by Oat Sitalasai — 5 years ago

With so much food from our previous experience at pan asie all you can eat japanese restaurant, I would like to now share with you the perfect activity to burn off all the calories. This time, you will really need to check the weather before you head out, because there is a massive difference in the experience should you be walking around here on a sad, gloomy, dark and rainy day.

For this experience, we are still here in the capital of france, paris. To be specific, we will be covering a few different areas, since this walk will touch on many different parts of the city. The best part about this walk is, it is impossible for you to get lost, because you will be following something very obvious. We won't be following the river seine, or the train tracks, but this time, I would like to share with you the hidden gem of paris, which is known by the name canal saint-martin.

The canal stretches along an approximate distance of 4, 5 kilometers and is the link between the famous river seine and canal de l'ourcq. the river seine really needs no introduction as it is the main body of water that cuts through the middle of the capital. With this, you have got all the famous attractions namely the eiffel tower, trocadéro, musée d'orsay, invalides and many more just a few minutes from the river. Canal de l'ourcq, on the other hand, is another body of water just north east of the city. Needless to say, it is not as famous as canal saint-martin, which we will talk about now.


A quick history and introduction of canal saint-martin is that it was a project during the ruling period of napoleon, with the aim of linking fresh water to the ever-growing population of the city. Way back when, as also experienced in london, clean water was one of the struggles of a city with increasing population, as failure to find a suitable solution will realize in a quick spread of diseases, which of course, leads to death. Two hundred years on - plus or minus - the canal currently serves for another purpose for the locals : as a place to relax and unwind from the hectic city life.

But before we go into the awesome details, how do we even get there? the answer to this question is simple and complicated at the same time. For the simple part to the answer, you can easily access the canal via various metro stations. For my trip, I started off at metro station république, in which the canal is literally three minutes away. As for the second part of my answer, the somewhat complicated bit, would be figuring out which metro station to get out from.

To answer this, I would then ask another question (inception taking place), and find out which part of the canal would you like to visit, or see first? For me, I am a tourist, and i am keen to see anything and everything, including the unexpected. If you have a similar mind set to that of mine, then i would suggest starting your walk at république, because if you search the area on our friend google maps, you will see that the canal sort of ends here. The reason as to why i only use the word ''sort of'' is because the canal has its own path in which it will go underground and eventually merge with the aforementioned river and canal.


If another location is to work better to your advantage, you may also start your trip from metro stations jacques bonsergeant, goncourt, colonel fabien, gare de l'est, château landon, louis-blanc, jaurès, stalingrad, riquet, laumière, crimée, ourcq or corentin cariou - there are also other options not too distant from the canal.

For the sake of this very experience, I started off my trip at république and made my way along the canal from here. At this starting point, you come in direct exposure to what i would describe as one of the more peaceful sections of the canal. As you could see from the photo i took, this part of the canal is still quite narrow. The best element about this very section that i particularly enjoy is the little bridge that connects the two sides. While the canal looks very small and very shallow, the bridge itself, which is also very short, is actually very tall in height. This means that there is a massive arch on the bridge, which makes for a very interesting and cool photo opportunity.


I then crossed over this little but tall bridge to the side opposite to république. Here, you will directly see a very cool coffee shop just straight ahead. Literally as you descend from the bridge, this is the first shop you see, or at least the shop that should catch your attention the most. A closer look to the coffee shop will show you that it's in fact more than just a place that serves coffee. The front part of the shop is actually like a little shop selling little ornaments and home decors, which are mainly for the artistic, vibrant and hip population out there.


If you are wondering for more information, this little cozy place goes by the name of the art café, which i think fits the concept and everything they do flawlessly. For some weird reason, I really cannot find the facebook page or a website for them, which is quite weird for us here in the 21st century. In spite of this, you could see from the pictures i took that they do have a coffee menu just like your average cafe, with your espresso shots, coffee with milk, cappuccino, hot chocolate and the whole lot. In addition to those that love beverages from the barista, they also have other drinks like their "lov organic teas" as well as a decent selection of soft drinks. In addition to this, they also have "patisseries du jour" which i assume are the daily, home-made specials. Very similar to another cafe that i came across way back, they also have a system of keeping time, with rates for the first hour, the second hour and so on and so forth.

canal st. Martin paris

Not to spend any more focus on this coffee joint, let's move on right along the canal! It will get harder for me to stay on topic of the canal, since the shops along the canals are all so diverse. Just about two minutes from the art cafe, you will come across a barber shop, by the name of rock hair cut. This place is not necessarily for those who love rock music, as you may already have assumed by their name. Since a barber shop is not something that you would just walk straight in, say hello to everyone, take a few shots on your camera then leave, I only managed to capture what they look like from the street side. It is clear that i have no idea how good they are or what they may specialize in, but the thing that caught my eyes was the art in front of their shop. The street art scene around here is something that i will be discussing throughout this post, starting from rock hair cut!


Moving right along on our happy stroll along the canal saint-martin, you will come across another bridge, and this time, you may also realize that the bridge is slightly longer that when we started out, as well as the size of the canal, which seems to also be slightly wider. With me being so active, I decided to once again cross over the bridge, and get a photo from the middle as i did so. I captured a 360° panorama shot from where i stood, which i find to be super awesome.


At this point, you will see a lot more cafes, and of course, a lot more of the same awesome street art. Just like our experience in "belleville" some time back, there is also a wall here, a few stories high, that acts as a canvas for street artists. If the canal bores you - it won't be long until things get exciting - then you taking a trip here for a cup of coffee and photos of the wall should already be something to look forward to. Just imagine drinking a cup of coffee on a beautiful day here in paris - it's finally spring! - overlooking kids playing street football after school, and young adults eating their baguette sandwiches by the canal. If anything, this is an experience that tourists are not often exposed to, but really should! If you want to stay away from touristic areas like champ de mars, trocadero, opéra, quartier latin and the champs-elysées, then you should plan your afternoon here at the canal saint-martin, or of course, in what is now my number one parisian neighbourhood, belleville.


If you see this building and exact description of the area, you may then want to move away from the canal and move in land. I say this because you will have loads of restaurant and cafes at your disposal, some of which i have tried and a very pleasant. If not, let's continue pass this point for about 200 meters, until you meet a park called jardin villemin. I mean, you don't have to go up close to check for the exact name of the park to see if it matches, but as another option, you could rest here with a cup of coffee and a pastry.


There then more restaurants, more cafes and more shops along the canal from this point onwards. You will know that you are doing a great job when you reach what is like a semi-half way line, at metro station jaurès and stalingrad. From here, I stopped my walk along the river and headed towards montmartre and of course, the one and only, another icon of paris, the sacré coeur. i took another rest at the open space here, which is not exactly a park or anything, but simply a meeting place for everyone with benches here and there, and more coffee shops. I really like this section of the canal because you don't get that small little water way anymore, but rather a massive one. You won't believe the contrast between the canal near république where we started off and what you will see here near stalingrad.


The canal on this part is so big and so wide that it reminds me of a harbour. You can take a seat in one of the many cafes here, or enjoy a movie at the cinema mk2 quai de loire. If you are wondering, you are now in the 19th surroundings! I must also share with you guys that with a valid student card, you are entitled to major discounts for movie tickets all across paris! It's actually even better if you own a imagine-r train card, which again can only be obtained if you are a student. With this, a movie ticket will be so much cheaper for you, rather than pay over ten euros for an average adult ticket. So other than the cafes and the movie cinema, you can just take a seat in the shades and watch as life goes by along the water. For a city like paris that doesn't have the water-life like sydney with the harbour and the beaches, I find it very soothing and relaxing to just sit on the side of the canal and appreciate how slow life could be. I swear there is something with water that just makes the world slow down!


And this brings a wrap to my afternoon, after school stroll here at the canal saint-martin. While this is the end to my walk along the canal, I actually continued walking, but towards montmartre. I was feeling energetic and in the zone, and i also had good shoes on, so the walk was okay. But if you are interested to take on the same path, the walk from this point of the canal to montmartre can take a while, as the distance between the two destinations is roughly two and a half kilometers. It took me more or less forty minutes, with occasional stops here and there.

Be sure to have a bottle of water in your bag, as well as good pair of shoes, and of course, don't forget to have a camera of some sort (with battery)!

rock hair cut salon de coiffure - oficial facebook page

mk2 movie cinemas - quai de loire

If you like the content of this post, or just want to check out some pictures that i take on my adventure, feel free to like and/or follow me on instagram at oat93, cheers!

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