After exploring Paris metro tunnels and abandoned stations we went to biggest underground river in Paris is Saint-Martin Canal.
The Canal Saint-Martin was designed by Napoleon‘s engineers in the XIXth century to bring drinking water in Paris. The Canal connects the Bassin de la Villette to the Seine upstream with a drop of twenty-five meters. Canal Saint-Martin has nine locks and two swing bridges and it measures 4.5 km long, more than 2 km of which is underground.
The canal’s underground part is covered by a vault which was illuminated every year by the Japanese artist Keiichi Tahara (he died on 6th June 2017 so let’s see what happens from this year). Tahara’s installations illuminated the vault unexpectedly at the passage of the cruise boats. This part of the canal is also frequently used for shooting films. Movies like Ratatouille or Queen Margot filmed some of their scenes here.
Gaspard de Chabrol, prefect of Paris, proposed building a canal from the river Ourcq, 100 km northeast of Paris, to supply the city with fresh water to support a growing population and help avoid diseases such as dysentery and cholera, while also supplying fountains and allowing the streets to be cleaned. Construction of the canal was ordered by Napoleon I in 1802 and construction took place until 1825, funded by a new tax on wine.
The canal was also used to supply Paris with grain, building materials and other goods, carried on canal boats. Two ports were created on the canal in Paris to unload the boats: Port de l’Arsenal and the Bassin de la Villette.
By the 1960s, traffic had dwindled to a trickle and the canal narrowly escaped being filled in and paved over for a highway.
Today, the canal is a popular destination for Parisians and tourists. Some take cruises on the canal in passenger boats. Others watch the barges and other boats navigate the series of locks and pass under the attractive cast-iron footbridges. There are many popular restaurants and bars along the open part of the canal, which is also popular with students. We are illegal tourist so explored canal were sneaking throw the hole in grade.