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Canal Saint Martin River Cruises - Things to do in Paris - Summertime

A splendid way to see the Paris of the Parisians is to take a cruise along Canal Saint Martin. Cruises start at the Arsenal Marina near the Seine. Next the canal goes through a tunnel and some locks. Then it opens out to go under and number of splendid foot bridges and is lined with ancient trees. Next you take in Bassin de la Villette, the large manmade lake and end up at Park de la Villette.

Napoleons Canal

This canal was originally built by Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte (Napoleon I) to supply Paris with fresh water. It stretches from near the Seine to Bassin de la Villette.

Set Off in the Morning from Arsenal Marina

In the morning (930am) your cruise setoff point is the Arsenal Marina in Paris. It is easily accessed from the Bastille metro station. It links the river Seine up with Canal Saint Martin to the North. The area around the Arsenal has large flower covered pergolas, a rose garden along with areas for the children to play. This makes it an ideal place for walking and relaxing. This harbour is popular mooring for private boats. The port master tells us there are 170 berths for boats of up to 25 meters in length here.

Canal St Martin Tunnel

When you have set off you will go through the Saint Martin tunnel that runs from Bastille to Place de la Republic. If you are planning the morning cruise some warm clothing is recommended as the tunnel is quite cool, even in the summer. There are four locks along the way and it is interesting to see how they work.

Tree Lined, Canal Footbridges and Bassin de la Villette

As you exit the tunnel so you will start to see many trees that line the canal and lovely footbridges that cross over it. Then you cruise through Bassin de la Villette (Villette Basin), the largest artificial lake in Paris. At the other end of this is Park de la Villette where we finish.

Park de la Villette

This park is the perfect place to end up on an afternoon. Firstly, it full of open space for Parisian and visiting families to enjoy. Secondly, there are also architectural follies, which break the park up in a way. It really must be seen to be understood. Thirdly many cultural activities take place here. Musicians and artists perform and produce exhibitions here for your pleasure. Lastly, on the periphery of the park is Europe’s largest Science museum. This is the perfect learning experience for children at the end of a quiet and relaxing cruise for the more mature.

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