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Cruising from the “Musée d’Orsay” (Center of Paris) to the “Parc de La Villette”, PARIS CANAL is an operator which offers the majesty of the Seine River, the monuments and the charm of the Canal St Martin.
You can also start the tour from the Parc de la Villette and end up at the Musée d’Orsay, which is what I choose to do.
The construction of the Canal was ordered by Napoléon in 1802. The canal was used to supply Paris with goods to be carried by boat.


Musée d’Orsay

You’ll embark close to the Musée d’Orsay on the Seine river and pass by the “Tuileries” garden, the “Musée du Louvre”, the “Pont des Arts”, the “Institut de France”, the “Ile de la Cité and “Notre Dame” cathedral.
You’ll pass by a few “Hotel Particuliers” (Private Mansions) on the “Ile St Louis”. Suddenly the adventure begins, with the first lock and the entrance to the “Canal St Martin”. The boat will go through nine locks, will pass by a couple of Swing bridges and go under a few footbridges as it glides on the water.


After the first lock you arrive at the “Port de l’Arsenal”which is a boat basin, now a marina for pleasure boats. A little further the boats enters a tunnel a little over a mile long that runs under the “Bastille”.
The tunnel is lit by the light coming from many light holes through which perse the day light. It is like going through a fairy land. Once you are out of the tunnel the boat goes slowly through different neighborhoods, like a romantic voyage through time.
It is like a river excursion combining some of the most beautiful monuments of the city of lights and more secrets sides of Paris as you go through the 11th and the 10th arrondissements of Paris.
In the 19th century these areas were mostly occupied by working-class laborers. Since then it has attracted well-to-do professionals eager to take up residence in apartments with views of the canal, also attracting new restaurants, cafés, and fashion boutiques. 
The boat passes by the statue of Frederic Lemaître, a famous french actor (1800-1876). Then the “Hospital St Louis” built in 1611 by Claude Vellefaux at the request of the King of France, Henri IV. A little further we pass by the “Hotel du Nord” made famous by Marcel Carné’s movie of the same name, with Arletty and Louis Jouvet.

Bassin de la Villette

Before entering the “Bassin de la Villette” we can admire the “Rotonde de la Villette” built by the Architect Claude Nicolas Ledoux. It was the gateway to Paris for offices to collect taxes on the goods entering Paris via the canal. Then we arrive at the futuristic “Parc de la Villette” ultimate stop of the cruise. 
It is the third largest parc in Paris, 137 Acres. The parc houses one of the largest concentration of cultural venues in Paris. 
  • The “Géode” (géodesique dome) built in 1985 that holds the Omnimax theatre were movies are projected IMAX in surround sound.
  • The :Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie”, the largest science museum in Europe promoting science and science culture, including also a Planetarium.
  • The “Cité de la Musique” which opened in 1995 which is dedicated to Musique. It includes an amphitheater, a concert hall (1,000 seats) and a Music Museum.
  • The ”Philharmonie de Paris” designed by the architect Jean Nouvel which opened in 2015. The new Symphonie Hall with 2,400 seats was designed for orchestral works, Jazz and world music.
  • The “Zenith”, a 6,000 seats indoor venue hosting major concerts, Rock and Pop Music as well as sporting events.
To go back to the center of Paris you can walk through the Parc de la Villette and take the Subway called Porte de la Villette.
If you want to have lunch, when you get off the boat (or before your cruise if you start from Porte de la Villette) walk on the canal bank to the quai de la Marne. You can find a couple of small restaurants. “Maison Becquey” and “Simonetta” (this one is known for their Pizzas)
Information : The 2 hour 30 cruises on the Seine river and the canal Saint-Martin have French and English commentaries and are daily from the 3th of March to the 16th of December (outside from these dates : on demand for groups of more than 40 persons). (
  • Departure at 9.45AM from Quai Anatole France, in front of the Musée d’Orsay, Paris – arrival in the center of the Parc de la Villette.
  • Departure at 14.30PM from Parc de la Villette, in front of “Folies des Visites du Parc”, (Red structure by the small  bridge that crosses the canal). Paris – arrival at the Musée d’Orsay.


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