Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Canal Zone: Away to Visit Paris part 5

An unexpected treat on the Métro today: A singer and accordionist serenade us on the way to Juarés station, the launching point for today's adventure.

Yesterday's rain is over and it is turning out to be a perfect day to spend time in more residential neighborhoods of Paris, specifically along the Canal St-Martin. 

This 3-mile canal was constructed between the Canal de l'Ourcq and the Seine as part of a system to bring fresh water from the Ourcq river into Paris.

The canals also were important "highways" for food and other goods in the 1800s. No longer needed for transport, the canal was nearly filled in in the 1960s, but thankfully cooler heads prevailed.

Today, the canal area is popular for families, artists, students, and others who want to enjoy a peaceful and colorful stroll along the quays. We stick to the pathway, but can admire the funky stores and cafés on the adjacent streets. We sit on a bench and eat sandwiches from Subway.

No barges are on the canal while we're there, so we don't get to see the locks or drawbridge in action. But we stop to watch billboard artists high up in the cradle of a cherry picker paint a large mural on the side of a building. We also pass some sort of performance art in progress.

A portion of the canal has been covered, leaving space for public gardens and playgrounds.

We end our walk at the Bastille, where the Canal St-Martin meets the Seine. Time to rest and ponder what part of Paris we'll explore next.

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