Workers in the Canal Saint Martin pumping out the water
Events,  Life in Paris & France

Paris Canal Saint Martin is “unemployed”

Workers in the Canal Saint Martin pumping out the waterEvery fifteen years, Paris undertakes the cleaning of Canal Saint-Martin. In river vocabulary, “Chomage” is the process of completely emptying and cleaning a canal. The last “chomage (unemployment)” was fourteen years ago. Was I in Paris or flying across the Atlantic? Not wanting to rely on memory, I grabbed the camera. The sky was blue as I headed from the Bastille where the canal disappears under the promenade along Boulevard Richard Lenoir to République where it once again resurfaces. The Saint Martin Canal is one of Napoleon the first’s projects to provide drinking water to Paris. Construction began in 1805 and it opened in 1825.

Scan the code for a walk along the canal identifying the flora and the fauna with photos. Along Canal Saint Martin
Saw the sign and …

As I exited the metro at République the blue sky gave way to a change in the weather. Between two hail showers, I captured some images, including a native bird to the canal, the bergeronnette. The canal floor was still full of bicycles, strollers, tables, chairs, shopping carts, bathtub, lawn chair, etc. stuck in the muck. Only one firearm was found they say. The work is ongoing between January 4 and April 4 when five tons of pike, roach, perch, catfish will return to the basin and the nine locks and two swing bridges will once again welcome back the canal tourist boats and promenaders.

The television station, France 2, posted a video about Canal Saint Martin showing some of the first days of debris. Images in a video from the Mairie de Paris (Paris mayor’s office) on draining Canal Saint Martin is also available.

To read France 2’s and the city hall’s Website in English, use Google Translate. Visit this site for

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Saw the sign and ...

This Web site and and its blog articles are for travelers to Paris who are looking for advice from someone who lives in Paris. These tips are "for Parisians at heart". Many people would like to visit, some can and some cannot - so I will help you enjoy a glimpse of the city and its surroundings. This project has been ongoing since 2002. Prior to living in Paris (since 1992) my European history began in the early 70s with three years in Wiesbaden, Germany. My next foray onto the Continent was in the mid-80s after graduation from the University of Florida (where I met Erik): traveling around Europe and UK with my friend, Margie, hitchhiking around and working in Ireland. After living and working as a journalist in Sweden for four years, traveling on boats, the Trans-Siberian Railway, local trains and planes took Erik and I around the world. I began working as a flight attendant in 1990 for American Airlines, based in Chicago. We moved to Paris, France in 1992 where I commuted between Paris and Chicago for my flight attendant/stewardess job. Finally my inner voice said "Stop!" and I left American Airlines six weeks shy of 20 years January 1, 2010. Now that is over and I am back working as a journalist and photographer full time on - My videos are posted on YouTube on the colleensparis youtube channel. and I am active in Toastmasters 75. Enjoy!