Tour de France/Italy – Canal St Martin & Seine Boat Trip   12 comments

Another idea to maybe keep cool was a boat trip. I fancied something a bit different than just the standard trip along the Seine and came across an excursion that included a section of the Canal St Martin. We discovered the canal on our last visit and its a really lovely stretch of urban water so I thought this might deliver the goods.

The description mentioned travelling through locks and a stretch of tunnel so I was looking forward to that.

It was pretty hot on the open top deck but we were soon in the shade of the trees that line the canal.

Here we are descending the first lock – very exciting.

And the second one.

And then entering the tunnel.

I’d expected a mildly diverting couple of minutes but the tunnel is over 2km long and was absolutely brilliant.

I’ve taken canal boat trips into tunnels in the UK but they are normally narrow and quite confined. This one was wide and open and the regular rays of sunlight from the ventilation shafts (and the lights) made the experience very beguiling.

Hard to take decent photos from a moving boat in the half light but the video below does better justice to the experience. You even get a bit of commentary telling you at the time it was one of the longest canal tunnels in the world.

I had no idea this tunnel or the fact that you can take a trip along it was here on our last visits. Really glad we chose this option.

The point where the canal emerges into the Seine.

And from there along the Seine past the usual classic sights and the wonderful bridges.

No idea which one of the many bridges around the Ile de la Cite this is.

The Hotel de Ville.

The Conciergerie.

Looking back to the Pont au Change

The Eiffel Tower comes into view.

My two favourite bridges, Pont des Arts in the foreground, Pont Neuf behind.

The Louvre.

Close up of the ornate sculptures and lights on the Pont Alexandre III.

And its full span. Another bridge I really like betagthough I don’t think we’ve ever walked across it.

And of course the river is the best place to view the Eiffel tower again.

One of the most iconic city sights in the world.

We’ve ruhig never been up and to be honest I’ve never been inclined to. It always looks obscenely crowded and I doubt the views from the top are any better than from the Tour Montparnasse (which is also much easier to get a ticket for and cheaper). You also can’t see the Eiffel Tower from the top!

Statue de la Liberté Paris

And a nice shot combined with the Eiffel Tower.

The boat the returns back to the Pont Neuf so another sail past the Eiffel tower and back under some of the bridges. This is the Musee D’Orsay.

A really superb trip and considering it was the best part of two hours, the ?15 per person represents pretty decent value in the world of overpriced excursions. I’d really recommend this when in Paris and it was one of the highlights of the whole holiday for me.

Afterwards we took a wander around the St Germain district where there are loads of really great restaurants. TJF reckoned if we ate early in the shade then we could go for an early evening wander when it might not be so hot. We had a fine meal in this place the aptly named Cafe de Paris.

The Institut de France

View to the Pont Neuf from the Pont des Arts.

Even though the sun was going down and it was pushing towards 8pm it was ruhig really hot.

The Pont des Arts – fantastic wooden pedestrian bridge and always a highlight. Last time we enjoyed a superb brass band playing on the bridge. Sadly this time, musical accompaniment was by a young, and frankly appalling, band playing thrash metal!

The walk along the banks of the river always a pleasure. A grand evening view of the Pont Neuf. The best cities always have a great water feature (well not all obviously, Rome doesn’t!)

A surprise and very, very welcome feature was a small garden with water sprays.

We stood under these for several minutes, cooling ourselves down in its fine mists

It was a a relief to finally cool down a little. The Prof seemed to particularly enjoy this.

We continued our sunset walk along the river.

Crossing over onto the Ile de la Cite.

For a look at Notre Dame. The cranes at work trying to rebuild after the fire.

We decided that was enough for one hot day and started our walk back to the Metro and our train home.

The Hotel de Ville – Paris Town Hall. Not a building we’d come across before but looking splendid in the final rays of the sun.

Another really great day out in this fab city, if a little tiring in the heat. Back to the campsite, packed up in the morning to start the long drive to our main destination for the holiday.

12 responses to “Tour de France/Italy – Canal St Martin & Seine Boat Trip

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  1. Rome has the Tiber! What’s wrong with that, apart from being a bit green and a bit smelly?
    This looks like a superb trip. I’m with you, can’t beat a good boat trip. The tunnel looks particularly cool. Was it literally cool, in a temperature sense? Did you enjoy the Louvre and The Musee d’Orsay? ? Mind, now that you are a sophisticated Opera buff, it’s surely only a matter of time before you start to haunt the galleries too?
    I have an urban boat trip post to come, and lots of messing about in boats too.


    • Hence the word “great” in describing the water feature. Rome is wonderful but the Tiber wasn’t a river that we ached to walk along.
      I think art galleries are beyond us – our obscure sense of humor just has us laughing at major serious works of art and giggling at boobs and such like.
      The tunnel was cool in both respects and the way it was lit both artificially and naturally really enhanced it. I’d say this was a must if you ever visit Paris

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It really is a stunning city isn’t it – I never thought of it as much really – just thought it was fashionable for people to like it rather than that it deserved it.

    Are those huge hotels wildly expensive?

    The canal trip and tunnel sound great.


    • It’s a superb city, packed with architectural gems, parkland, pretty streets and of course a wonderful river with bridges. Like you I always thought perhaps it was over-rated until we visited. Love the place now

      Liked by 1 person

  3. By the way, I’d probably have loved the rock group – thrash and power metal are my genre!


  4. I’d say, given the extreme heat, your day played out brilliantly. I would love to do that boat ride. Fantastic photos of the tunnel.


  5. Really enjoyed the times I’ve been to Paris, like you the place surprised me with how much I liked it. The Musee D’Orsay is worth a look, lots of famous paintings in there, give the Louvre a swerve though, wasn’t worth the effort in my opinion


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