Canal ride in Paris

Is the 2 1/2 hour boat ride on the Canal Saint Martin worth the time or does it get boring?

Posted by Rose
922 posts

What's your boredom factor? The Canal Saint-Martin has a series of locks and bridges. Nothing in Paris bores me. I find everything about it endlessly fascinating. It's no theme park ride, but is an enjoyable way to experience the canal and the neighborhood that it traverses from an angle other than walking.

Posted by Ed
9110 posts

One-way is enough. It's of high enough priority that it should be scheduled at about day twelve or thirteen of your visit unless you just need to sit down for a while.

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
3252 posts

I did it once as I wanted to take photos from that vantage point and just wanted to hang out with the person I was with... but I don't need to do it again. Lots nicer to walk. I actually enjoyed the boat ride in Strousburg much more than the one in Paris.

Posted by Norma
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
4515 posts

Yes, but the Science Park at La Villette where the boat ride ends is fascinating, especially if you have kids with you.

Posted by Dick
Olympia, WA, USA
1186 posts

I'd do it sooner in the visit than Ed would, but not if you only had, say, 5 days or so. After the start in the boat basin you go through a tunnel with colored lights which is not as attractive as they hope, but you hear some history. When you emerge you have streets and buildings on both sides and you go through a number of locks. Those in the front row have the opportunity to get splashed when the locks open, which is sort of a kick the first time. The Parc de la Villette at the north end is a science park, I haven't been in the buildings but I'm sure it's interesting. You can return to the center by metro or bus. I'd like to explore the canal area by foot, and probably will this fall. The boat basin (marina) where the ride starts, just south of Bastille, combines people-watching with boat-watching for hours of fun. We hung out on the sidewalk above for awhile watching the boats and boaters come and go, people setting up for dinner on canal boat decks, etc.

Posted by Bets
2796 posts

I admit this doesn't really answer your question, but it is information that might be of use to you or someone else.
If you just want a ride that's a little different from most of the boats going up and down the Seine, you can take the Canauxrama Seine ride for two hours from the same people who offer the canal ride. The Seine ride is offered only two evenings a week (Wed. and Sat. I think); it leaves at 6 pm and 9 pm, from the Arsenal at the foot of Bastille, and passes through a lock (with a metro line rattling over your head) to reach the Seine. When we took the ride last summer, there were only about 10 other passengers. It's 12 euros if you buy your ticket on line and 16 walk up. We got a senior discount, too. Although I've ridden up and down the Seine at least 20 times, it never gets boring but this ride is the best I've ever done.

Posted by Alexander
Quad Cities, IL/IA
340 posts

Bets, I am taking your advice and booking that tonight! It looks amazing!!!!
Thanks for the suggestion!

Posted by Bets
2796 posts

@Alexander, I know you're too young for the senior discount, but it's worth your time and money. We're taking it again this year too, in a couple of weeks.

Posted by Alexander
Quad Cities, IL/IA
340 posts

It'll be perfect to grab dinner and go to the 21h00 trip. Even though I'll be solo (and naturally those trips are best with a loved one), I'm still excited. It'll be a "Paris, je t'aime" moment! Thanks again!

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
4934 posts

I did it a couple of years ago. It was billed as "romantic." It wasn't. The guide was very good and it was pleasant, but I didn't think it was a wow. And, yes, after the second swing bridge and second lock, it's pretty dull. The area along the canal is very pretty, nice for a walk. I did this on about my 5th visit to Paris (all of which were at least a week and usually two). That's about where I'd rank it, unless you are really into the mechanics of it.