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  • Writer's pictureKate Woodman

Dimanche d’avril comme  l’été (an April Sunday like summer)

Updated: Feb 16, 2020


Dimanche dernier était un jour spectaculaire. Le soleil brillait, le ciel était bleu brillant, et la température était 27 C. C’était comme l’été! Tout le monde était dehors…..les parents poussant leurs bébés dans les landaus, les enfants sur leurs scooters, l’autres promenaient leurs chiens, beaucoup allaient aux vélos. Ils étaient dans les rues et les parcs, aux quais de la Seine et sur des bateaux dans la Seine, et bien sûr aux cafés et bistrots….parlant, riant, discutant, mangeant, buvant, reposant au soleil….mais tout Paris était à l’extérieur.

Last Sunday was a spectacular day. The sun shone brightly, the sky was a brilliant blue, and the temperature was above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Truly it was as if we leapt from winter into summer, skipping spring entirely. So of course, everyone was outside….parents pushing babies in their carriages, older siblings sailing alongside on their scooters (every Parisian child over the age of 2 has a scooter!), others walking their dogs and even more riding bikes. They were in the streets and parks, on the banks of the Seine and in boats on the Seine, and of course, in the cafes and bistro’s….talking, laughing, arguing, eating, drinking, sunbathing….to be sure, all of Paris was outside.

A crowded bateau mouche on the Seine

Moi aussi! J’ai fait un promenade longue dans mon quartier, le Marais, puis le long de la Seine et le Canal Saint-Martin. C’est vrai que les Parisiens aiment déjeuner en plein air :

Me too ! I went for a long walk through my neighborhood, the Marais, and then along the Seine and Canal Saint-Martin. It’s true that Parisians love to eat outside:

….in cafés

…..on the sidewalk where they work

…..on the street curb

….in a folding chair by the Seine

Le Canal Saint-Martin est un canal 4.6 km longue qui connecte le Canal de l’Ourq à la Seine.

Canal Saint Martin is almost 3 miles long and connects the Canal de l’Ourq to the Seine.

The canal is the red line ... the Seine is the blue line

Le canal a été construit au début du 19e siècle, pour fournir à Paris l’eau douce. La construction a été financée par un impôt sur le vin ! Le canal a été aussi utilisé pour fournir Paris de la nourriture, des matériaux de construction, et autres choses par les bateaux de canal. Presque la moitié du canal est couvert et il y a plusieurs serrures d'escalier doubles, par lesquelles les bateaux doivent passer. Aujourd’hui, ce n’est plus un canal marchant. La partie du nord est devenu un quartier à la mode où vivent artistes, jeunes professionnels et familles et on trouve là beaucoup de bars, restos, bistrots, cafés et boutiques. Mais au sud de la Bastille est le Port de l’Arsenal, le port principal pour visite de bateaux et résidence à Paris. C’est la-bas où j’ai marché.

The canal was constructed in the early 19th century, for the purpose of supplying Paris with fresh water. Contruction was funded by a special tax on wine! The canal was also used to supply Paris with food, building materials and other goods carried on canal boats. Almost half of the canal is covered and there are several double staircase locks through which boats must pass to traverse the length of the canal. Today, it’s no longer a working canal and the northern part has become a trendy neighborhood where artists, young professionals and families live. The neighborhood is filled with bars, restaurants, bistros, cafes and small shops. Instead of carrying cargo, the boats today are filled with tourists eager to explore this slightly out of the way neighborhood. But south of the Bastille is the Port de l’Arsenal, the principal port for boats visiting and residing in Paris and where the canal connects with the Seine. This is where I was.

From the Seine, you pass under a bridge and over a lock for the short walk along the canal up to Place de la Bastille. As with most public spaces in Paris, there are benches, gardens, play grounds and cafés to enjoy along the way. But I was focused on the boats.....

What better way to end my walk than with children in paradise!!

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