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Photographer's Note

One of the more interesting things I've seen recently in Paris is the Saint-Martin Canal, by means of a cruise boat (piloted by a laid-back, long-haired fellow, as you can see).

The Canal Saint-Martin was originally ordered by Napoleon, with the twin purposes of providing a water supply and a shortcut to eliminate a stretch of the Seine with many bends in it. From about 1900 on it became a busy industrial waterway, but declined after about 1960. It escaped being filled in and has since become a canal for pleasure and tourist vessels. It descends a total of 26 metres to the point just south of Bastille, through 4 sets of double locks. Water is still drawn from the canal where it widens into the Bassin de la Villette, for public gardens, fire hydrants and fountains.

The view here was photographed heading north from Jaurès towards the area of the Parc de la Villette which has been established on each side of the canal. The boat is about to pass between the two 'magasins généraux' of the 19th arrondissement, the one on the right being the older and now refurbished, the one on the left a modernistic reconstruction of the magasin that was destroyed by fire in 1990. These magasins, built between 1845 and 1853, had served originally, I believe, as storehouses for grain and flour, but the old one is now turned over to offices and studios and suchlike. The more modern is home to a youth hostel, hotel and restaurant.

Beyond, one can see the last draw-bridge in Paris, the pont de la rue de Crimée, about to be raised for the boat, of course. Immediately behind it is a pedestrian bridge with yet another one further along. Closer shots of the Crimée bridge have been uploaded by Gildas JAN here and there.

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Additional Photos by Andrew McRae (macondo) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2997 W: 101 N: 5253] (20449)
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