The first week of October still felt like summer. Hot and relentlessly sunny … so unParisian. The “Exploring Paris” photography class walked the length of the Canal Saint-Martin looking for light, texture, form, and personalities (and shade under the tree-lined quais!) What exactly was the essence of this canal, with its nine locks, two swinging bridges, and eight arched footbridges?
The history lays the groundwork. Napoleon ordered the construction of the canal in 1802 to link with the Canal de l’Ourq to supply fresh water to the city. The canals also served as a transportation system for food, building materials, and other goods; and factories and warehouses were built along the quais.
The wide-open water of the Bassin de la Villette connects the two canals and now provides a place for boaters of all ilk … canoes, kayaks, and crew boats. (You can reserve a boat for free if you’re a Paris resident; just take your trusty EDF bill to show your place of residence).
The Rotonde de la Villette commands the south end of the Bassin. It was built as part of the wall around Paris to prevent people from importing goods into the city without paying taxes. The building housed the tax administrators and guards.
Now, this area is a plaza for people of all trades who just want to find a peaceful place to perch. The fountains are especially tempting … for those who want to sit near and feel the cool water … and those who want to dive right in.
Special Note: WICE Photography enthusiast Sophia Pagan opens her "Silent City" exhibit this Thursday, October 13. Please join in celebrating her success at the vernissage beginning at 19h30. Bel' Air Café Bar, 6 rue Germain Pilon, 75018 Montmartre.