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Take a trip to the Canal Saint Martin and attend the outdoor film festival


There are places that simply cannot be neglected during your stay in Paris and the Canal Saint Martin is one of them. The area has a vibe all its own, with green spaces, charming small shops and upscale restaurants. And while you’re there at this time of year, why not wander along to the outdoor cinema festival and catch a movie beneath the stars?

The idyllic setting of the Canal Saint Martin

Built in 1825 and linking the Canal de l’Ourcq to the Seine, the Canal Saint Martin runs for 4.5 km across Paris. It widens at the Bassin de la Villette, the city’s largest artificial lake, and joins the Seine via the Bassin de l’Arsenal. Its construction was ordered by the Emperor Napoleon for the purpose of bringing fresh water into the city, but today the waterway is used predominantly for leisure purposes.

It has become a fashionable area, bustling with shops and international restaurants, and boasting an extensive green space called the Jardin Villemin, which forms the grounds of the Couvent des Récollets. This former convent was converted into a military hospital in 1870 to care for wounded soldiers returning from the battlefields of the Franco-Prussian War. Today it houses the Order of Architects of the Paris region.

There are nine locks distributed along the canal. As you stroll along its banks you cross several arrondissements: the 4th, 10th, 11th, 19th, and even the 12th. Take a look at the swing bridges of the Rue Dieu and the Rue de la Grange aux Belles, which replaced the old wooden bridges of the 19th century. You can also stroll along the picturesque Bichat, Alibert or Douane bridges. Lovers of French cinema will get a thrill from passing the famous Hôtel du Nord, the eponymous setting of the classic 1930s movie. On foot or by boat, it’s a unique and fascinating journey, with plenty to keep you occupied along the way.

Cinema in the spotlight and in the moonlight

While you’re in the vicinity of the Parc de la Villette, don’t miss the Festival de Cinéma en Plein Air. You can sit in the moonlight before a huge screen and thrill to your favourite films during this ever-popular festival, which takes place from July 22nd to August 23rd. Comfortably installed in a deckchair or on a blanket on the grass you can enjoy classics including Billy Wilder’s The Seven Year Itch and Akira Kurosawa’s Ran, as well as contemporary blockbusters such as Gravity. This year’s festival theme is Dress Code, exploring what costumes mean to the 7th art, from the white coat of a doctor to military uniforms to the spacesuit of an astronaut. Each Saturday also has presentations of short films by young filmmakers. It all adds up to an essential event for movie buffs. Be transported by the magic of cinema and then return to your room at the Hotel Danou Opera for sweet dreams.


Learn more:
• La Villette Basin
• Arsenal Basin
• Jardin Villemin (garden)
• Parc de La Villette


Hotel Daunou Opera, an elegant 3-star hotel in Paris, opera district

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