Canal Saint-Martin: A History


Canal Saint-Martin: Small Canal, Big Deal

What's the big deal about Canal Saint-Martin? When I took the how French are you quiz on Buzzfeed, it said I was as French as Jean Du Jardin eating camembert on the Canal Saint-Martin. So clearly this is something iconic for tourists and Parisians alike. So I had to go see what the big deal was about. And yes it was pretty. But I needed more information. So here's what my research showed me.

Napoleon's Project

It was built to prevent dysentery and cholera to the expanding Parisian population. In the early 1800s, Paris was in desperate need of fresh water. And as the population kept expanding, not all parts of Paris had access to this water.

Tourist Boat Near Stalingrad

Funded by Wine

The new wine tax is what funded the building of the canal. After that, it was used to transport goods into Paris. Between Republic and Bastille, the canal goes underground, connecting the canal to the Seine. By the 1960s, the use of the canal as a shipping lane almost stopped and today it is used more for private boats and tours.

Tourist Destination

The canal attracts tourists because of the combination of bridges and trees along the canal. Many people go to watch the series of locks open and close to move the barges through the canal. Along the canal are parks for children to play in, places for adults to exercise on, and long paths where people can be found running. In all, it is an enjoyable sight.

Series of Locks to Hold Water

Movie Famous

The canal has been painted by numerous artists and has made a few appearances in movies. The most famous appearance was in the film Amelie where her favorite activity is skipping stones along the canal. Edith Piaf also sings about the canal in one of her songs titled "Les momes de la cloche."

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