A Paris Birthday

9 October 2016

Canal Saint -Martin cruise

Everyone takes a cruise on the Seine but this 2.5 hour journey was far more interesting! Our photo guide the other day dos not even realize there were locks in Paris!

The Canal Saint-Martin is a 4.5 km long canal in Paris. It connects the Canal de l’Ourcq to the river Seine and runs underground between Bastille and République.

Construction of the canal was ordered by Napoleon I in 1802, in order to create an artificial waterway for supplying Paris with fresh water to support a growing population.

The canal appeared in Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s famous 2001 film Amélie, in which Amelie is shown skipping stones at the locks of the canal.

The cruise left from the quay near Musee’ d’Orsay and travelled down the Seine.

Harry grabbed us coffee and croissants to enjoy on the ride.

enjoying a chocolate croissant

Interesting views along the Seine!

firemen training

The cruise then turned into the Port de L’Arsenal where it entered an underground stone vault two kilometres long.

Indiana Jones fan

The boat then has to pass through a series of locks to be able to continue. Basically they work by stopping the boat at the gate (lock) shutting another ‘gate’ behind the boat and them slowly flooding the area to allow the boat to rise before opening the lock so the boat can continue.

The first one is fascinating to watch but they  do get a bit boring as it takes about 8 minutes each time. There is plenty to see along the canal side and you can people watch those passing over the bridges above. All together there are four double locks and two swinging bridges.

plenty of time for selfies

refugees camping along the canal

It ended at the Parc de Villette and as it was a Sunday there were plenty of Parisean families out and about with the kids.

Alongside the Canal Saint Martin, there is the The Canal de l’Ourcq which is much lesser known but also offers tours and is interesting to visit (and perhaps less crowded and touristy!)  The Canal de l’Ourcq
From here we headed to a perfumery to buy my birthday treat but it was closed as it was Sunday! How civilized. Instead we went to Place Dauphine where the Paria cafe scene was filmed in Me Before You. We had lunch in a small bistro there.

One for my students

Next we had a quick visit to the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs Elysses.

Our dinner booking at the Eiffel Toweradvised us to come at least 45 minutes early so we headed to our apartment to get changed and set out again.

58 Tour Eiffel

The view of the Trocadero was stunning.

Dinner was 6:30 and service concluded at 8:15 so it did feel very rushed. It was a set menu and we had to choose all three courses immediately. Please don’t ask about the choice of foie gras. I was wanted to try something French but I just couldn’t eat it 😩


marinated Mannakara peppercorn trout from the Pyrennes, aromatic fromage frais and citris dressing
mild apiced prawns, celery remoulade, grapefruit, pomegranite dressing
duck foie-gras, quince and white balsamic marmalade, toasted brioche


bedf, onion confit, mushroom, bacon and red wine sauce
nashed potatoes
roasted chicken supreme with herbs, salsify, grenale potatoes, parmesan and vrai jus


flakey pastry with poached pears and walnut whipped cream
profiterole, vanilla ice cream, hot chocolate sauce
matured French cheeses

Au revoir 47!

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