A stroll and a picnic by the Canal Saint Martin
Romantic and picturesque, the Canal Saint-Martin offers a refreshing change of pace in the midst of Paris. Whether in the morning, during the day or in the evening, this historical waterway has a distinctive and charming ambiance. Take time for a stroll along the banks and enjoy a picnic in the the sun during your stay at the Hotel Les Tournelles.
Discovering the mysteries and charm of the canal
The tree-fringed Canal Saint-Martin flows through the heart of one of the most romantic and trendy districts of the capital. Time seems to proceed at a slower pace here as you watch the barges glide by, see how the locks are operated, chill out on the banks, admire the views from the bridges or stroll along the 4.5 km of a waterway that starts at the Quai de la Rapée on the Seine and ends at the Parc de la Villette. If you have the time we recommend the 2 ¼ hour walk that starts at the Port de l'Arsenal (Bastille) and finishes at the Bassin de la Villette, passing through the 10th, 11th and 19th arrondissements. The itinerary of this walk offers an unusual and interesting perspective on the capital, as well as an atmospheric section that runs for 2 kilometres right under the streets of the city, where the only illumination comes from strip lights and the occasional ventilation shaft. Located in the 11th arrondissement, this subterranean world has served as a backdrop for or inspired films such as Ratatouille, Queen Margot and Is Paris Burning? Once in the open air again, the summer sunshine will be even more welcome as you continue your journey along the shade-dappled banks of the canal. You can easily get distracted, though, as throughout this beautiful walk the temptation is always there to head off the route and explore the neighbouring streets, which are full of friendly bars, interesting architectural quirks and delightful atmosphere.
A picnic break along the canal
The Canal Saint-Martin, which connects the Canal de l’Ourcq and the Seine, is also a popular destination for picnic enthusiasts. No sooner are the days of sunshine upon us than picnic baskets are packed, coolers brought out of storage, and blankets folded in readiness. Then it’s just a question of picking a prime picnicking spot, and the banks of the Canal Saint-Martin and the Ourcq offer great atmosphere and pleasant surroundings. The small shops in the area are ready to replenish your stock of food in case you run out. All along the canal you’ll find locks, bridges and sunny corners where you can picnic and chill out for hours. As night falls, the lights of the bars and cinemas are reflected in the calm waters of the canal, offering a picturesque setting at the end the day and getting you in the mood for an evening meal in one of the numerous local restaurants.