Tag Archives: Europe

PARIS GEMS: The Canal Saint-Martin

Another great travel idea in my Paris Gems series.

At the time of this visit to Paris in October 2019, I had a few boat rides under my belt taken along the River Seine. However, I had yet to do a boat tour of the lovely Canal Saint-Martin. The canal intersects with the Seine. It is approximately 4.5 kilometers long. It was built by Georges-Eugène Haussmann, commonly known as the Baron Haussmann, in 1860-1862. The Canal St. Martin was part of a ginormous city improvement and renovation project assigned to Haussmann by the Emperor Napoleon III.

So Shelby and I ventured out one beautiful afternoon onto the canal. We booked on Canauxrama:

For all of their itineraries click here: https://www.canauxrama.com You can choose from different itineraries which include morning or afternoon departure times.

Specifically for the cruise featured in this article, click here:

We chose the 3 pm cruise with a departure point of 71 Quai de Valmy 75010 Paris (métro: République) This is a two hour cruise with commentary. The actual boarding location was just a stone’s throw from the front of Hôtel de Nord. Included in our ticket was a yummy crepe, fruit or chocolate, your choice.

The canal has a completely different look and feel from the River Seine which is reason enough to climb aboard the Canauxrama. The canal is lined with trees, which in the fall will dazzle you with color, but in the spring and summer will relax you with their deep green foliage. Go past a swinging bridge, two locks and through the mysterious Bastille tunnel. This tour combines the charms of both the Saint-Martin canal, and the River Seine, encompassing so many treasured historical sites and bridges along its route.

The waterway remains uncovered until Square Frédéric-Lemaître. From there to the Arsenal basin (past the Place de la Bastille), the canal disappears into a tunnel.

Saint Martin Canal boat tour. Into the tunnel at Square Frédéric-Lemaître.
Our view of Square Frédéric-Lemaître from the boat, in the tunnel, as we passed under.
Into the Seine River from the Canal , Notre Dame in the distance still under construction. .
Gotta dry your laundry out somewhere!

This installment of Paris Gems, along the Canal Saint-Martin, is brought to you by your insatiable traveling friend, Judy. Recently, the Museums of Paris created a new social media hashtag in light of the havoc which Covid has wreaked on Paris tourism. And I would echo those eloquent words here: #demainjereviens (Tomorrow I am coming back!)

Villers Abbey Belgium

Today Villers Abbey is a ruin, but a stunning ruin at that. As you walk around this medieval place, you can certainly imagine what a glorious and influential site it must have been when it was built in 1146. It is one of the most preserved Abbey ruins in Europe, since it features remnants of each building that was used daily.

“This extensive monastic complex constructed in the 13th century is an evocative memorial to the small Cistercian community which initially settled here in 1146. Within two centuries of its founding, the monastery had become a wealthy landowner with more than three thousand brothers, 100 monks and an abbot running a large estate of more than 100 square kilometres.”

Wallonia Belgium Tourism

In the summer of 2017, we were fortunate enough to be able to travel to this beautiful place and have my daughter Katie’s high school senior pictures taken there. To that end, the photo creds for the first gallery here belong to my wonderful and talented friend Catherine. You can find more of her work here: https://www.photosparks.com She lives in Arkansas now, and would love to accommodate your photo needs. The second gallery you’ll find below are pictures taken by me on the same day!

I hope you enjoy these photos, and I hope it inspires you to perhaps go the long way around, the next time you are in Europe, en route to Brussels, Amsterdam or Paris. Just take a short detour to this lovely monument of history and beauty on your way. You won’t regret it.