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Canal St. Martin
“Simple pleasures are always the last refuges of the complex.” - Oscar Wilde
During Labor Day weekend, I overlooked predictable weekend getaways for a visit to Paris. With a certain hotel brand’s frequent points, I quickly jumped over the Atlantic to enjoy the inspirational City of Lights.
I have been fortunate to visit Paris numerous times, developing over the years certain routines when there: stop-over at a certain corner store to get my little convenient amenities, make a point to see what fresh goods await me at my favorite bakery, visit some favorite retail stores to get a sense of what’s going on, and my strolls after breakfast. Like in Manhattan, I have mostly stuck to my favorite neighborhoods.
On my recent trip, I slightly altered my comfortable habits by visiting another Paris neighborhood: Canal St. Martin. It was a bright sunny Sunday when I woke up. After a pleasant breakfast, I followed my friend’s lead where a sweet journey waited.
Napoleon ordered the Canal St. Martin to be built in the early 19th century. He wanted to avoid diseases like cholera, so he built this amazing water source for the city. The canal is about one hundred kilometers long—the last portion covered during 1960’s highway construction—between Rue du Faubourg du Temple to Place de la Bastille.
I fell in love with the canal and the surrounding neighborhood immediately, not for its familiar charming visuals as seen in “Amelie,” but for the approachable qualities and humble Parisian lifestyle that existed. I spotted design studios, artists’ ateliers, and other creative venues. I fantasized living in there with view overlooking the canal.
More than a pleasant walk, the stroll inspired simple pleasures like smiling and humming songs I’d forgotten about. I found myself giggling at my behavior while breezing along and over the Canal.
I hope that my photographs will represent the quality sweetness of the Canal St. Martin.