The Canal St. Martin In Paris
The Canal Saint-Martin was built in 1802 when Napoleon I initiated and passed a request to have it developed. When the canal was created, the population in Paris was about 550,000, which was increasing at a rapid rate. Napoleon hoped that by creating the canal, he could create a new freshwater supply, which could rid the city of diseases that were a serious problem back then.
The Canal Saint-Martin wasn’t the only channel to be developed during that time. The city was growing quickly, and city officials wanted to make it as modern as possible. This meant that the landscape had to be altered to accommodate the changes. Over 20 years, the city created three separate waterways.
The Length of Three Canals
The total length of the three canals spanned over 80 miles. Of the three, the Canal St. Martin is the most popular. This particular canal connects the Canal de I’Ourcq with the River Seine. When the channel was created, people really appreciated its beauty. They also discovered the benefits that went along with it.
The Canal St. Martin begins from Bassin de I’Arsenal, which is located on the side of the River Seine. From there, the canal travels underground, beneath the Place de la Bastille. From there, the channel heads north towards Bassin de la Villette, which connects to the Canal de I’Ourq and the River Ourcq. Due to the canal’s location and length, it is one of the most popular water passages that run through Paris. It is older than 200-years-old, and the citizens of Paris love it. Because the canal is so important, it is drained very few years and kept clean and well-maintained.
The main benefit of the canal was the clean water that it produced for the city. Soon, it became the main thoroughfare where food and building supplies could be brought in for the residents of Paris. With the connections to a major river, the trade and commerce in Paris flourished. Today, it is more of a tourist attraction. Tourists love to use the beautiful setting. Along the banks of the canal are numerous bistros, and the beautiful bridges attract the tourists.
A Well-Known Symbol
The canal has been a symbol of Paris for years. It has been the subject of many painters because its beauty makes an excellent backdrop. It has also been used as a location for many movies over the years. Because the Parisians are so proud of their canal, they do their best to keep it clean. Every 10 to 15 years, the canal is emptied and cleaned from top to bottom. Because millions of people pass by the canal each day, it can get littered with trash. This is why regular cleaning is so important.
The Paris canal drained for the first time. The finds are unrealistic. It was last emptied in 2001, and it was drained and the people working on the project collected nearly 40 tons of refuse from the canal. Some of the items found were shocking. Under the water, they found a car, washing machines, gold coins, and two 75mm shells that originated from World War I.
January 4, 2016
At the end of 2015, Paris officials realized that the canal was dirty, and the water wasn’t clear. They decided that it was time to drain and clean the canal. It was expected to take three months to get it completely drained and cleaned. To get the job done as quickly as possible, the city recruited citizens to help out. The project required them to move 3 million cubic feet of water, and the cost of the job would be about $10 million. Before the real cleaning could begin, the fish needed to be safely removed from the canal. To get them out, officials emptied the water until there were only 20-inches left. This helped the people collect the fish safely, and move them to another waterway. The task of moving the fish took three days.
By January 7th, the water was entirely drained from the canal. People were shocked when they saw what had been left behind over the last 15 years since the first cleaning took place. The people working found hundreds of glass bottles, shopping bags, and traffic cones. What many people found shocking was the large number of bicycles found in the canal. It wasn’t just bicycles that were discovered. They also found two motorbikes.
Other Strange Items
As if a large number of bikes and motorbikes weren’t strange enough, they found supermarket carts, chairs, dustbins, suitcases, and even a toilet. How did a toilet end up at the bottom of the canal? Hopefully, the people of Paris learned a lesson since the last cleaning, and they will stop the pollution. This is the only way to preserve the canal’s history and beauty.