You know that Paris is famous for the river Seine and grabbing a scoop of Berthillion ice cream nearby…but do you know the canals of Paris as frequented by Parisians? Don’t miss out on checking out the Canal St. Martin and Canal de l’Ourcq, both respectively located in the north-east side of town.

A picnic is one thing, a picnic by the canals is a whole other – this is where the heartbeat of Parisians rests, and a picnic nearby either of the canals can turn into an experience of meeting new groups of people. The Canal St. Martin is 4.5 kilometers long, running underneath the Republique and Bastille metro stops and bordering the respective arrondissements (10, 11 and 12). Initially constructed in 1802 by the orders of Napoleon the 1st, the canal is probably best known today due to a scene in the film Amelie featuring the titular character skipping some rocks.

The Canal de l’Ourcq joins the Canal St. Martin and is about twenty times the size of the Canal St. Martin, connecting into the 19th, 20th and 18th arrondissement as well as neighboring suburbs such as Pantin and Bobigny. Nowadays, the area around the Canal de l’Ourcq is on the hipster up and up and gentrifying quite quickly.

After a long night of drinking and someone busting out a guitar to play their rendition of Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” (which is incidentally the song we keep hearing the most on the streets of Paris this summer), you’ll walk away from these canals with some new phone numbers and memories.

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