le canal saint-martin à Paris
If you locate the Canal Saint-Martin on a map of Paris, you will see that it cuts a slice about 4.5 km long through the northern part of the city. It s-curves from le Parc de la Villette and the Canal de l’Ourcqin in the 19th arrondissement to the Seine River (at the Quai de la Rapée) near the Place de Bastille.
I have walked much of it; it is easy to do. One year I started at the Place de la République and walked toward Villette. Another time I walked from the Oberkampf area to the Place de Bastille.
I remember not enjoying the walk toward Villette. It did not have anything of interest to offer. I remember the buildings lacked color and personality. It seemed vacant and unhospitable.
In the the other direction, however, one can immediately see la richesse of its residents. Apartments facing the Canal rent for several thousand euros per month.
What interests me most is the cover of the Canal Saint-Martin. From the Place de la République and Oberkampf areas, the canal goes under the street level. One can take a boat past some locks, and after descending ride through a tunnel and emerge eventually near the Seine River.
Along the top are vents that permit air to reach the canal tunnel underneath.
Over the Canal Saint-Martin are parks, where people come to relax and to read and where kids play in playgrounds. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail.)
There is a large outdoor shopping venue for fruits and vegetables and fish and cheese and bakery goods and charcuterie and . . . and . . . .
What might the canal have looked like during the 1920’s? One need only ask YouTube.