• France's news in English
Famed Paris canal to be emptied for cleaning
The Canal Saint-Martin in Paris. Photo: AFP

Famed Paris canal to be emptied for cleaning

Oliver Gee · 30 Dec 2015, 11:29

Published: 30 Dec 2015 11:29 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit
\What do you think is at the bottom of the Canal Saint-Martin?
Well, you can probably take a look for yourself if you're in the tenth arrondissement of Paris in the first four months of 2016.
City officials are planning to drain the waterway in January - and then thoroughly clean and renovate it.
The last time this happened was in 2001 when workers carried out maintenance on some of the locks - so who knows what the cleaners might find.
One thing that seems very likely is fish. Workers collected 18 tonnes of them (which were released further downstream) during a clean up effort in 1999, as well as fridges, tyres, and car parts.
A previous clean-up in 2011. Photo: AFP
You can imagine more than a few Velib rent-a-bikes will be down there too. 
The huge cleaning job will begin at the northern side of the canal at Place de la Bataille de Stalingrad, and will be conducted all the way along to the Rue du Faubourg du Temple where the canal heads underground. 
It will be made possible by the construction of a watertight dam further north-east at the Bassin de la Villette.
The canal is a hugely popular summer hangout for locals and tourists alike, many of whom sit along the banks watching the barges cruise to the Seine River. 
And the cleanup couldn't have come sooner, with residents' frustration peaking during the summer after a heatwave drew larger crowds to the watering hole. 
Story continues below…
"The canal is no picture postcard... it's a jungle. One big rubbish bin," one irate resident told The Local at the time, soon after the launch of the Collectif du Canal Saint-Martin blog, which was created to draw attention to the litter problem. 
The waterway has seen better days in the past, and was made world famous in the film Amélie, when Audrey Tautou skimmed stones along the surface. 
It's a safe bet Amélie's stones won't be among the most intriguing treasures uncovered from the depths of the canal. 
A previous clean-up in 2011. Photo: AFP
Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Where exactly in France are Calais migrants being sent?
Photo: AFP

Here's where the 8,000 migrants in Calais are heading.

The annoying questions only a half French, half British person can answer
Photo: Beery/Flickr/AFP

Being half French, half British is means you get asked a lot of questions (and some of them can be a little annoying.)

Migrants bussed out of Calais Jungle to all corners of France
All photos: AFP

Hundreds of migrants are being bussed across France on Monday ahead of the demolition of the Jungle camp.

The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
A Prophet. Photo: YouTube Screengrab

Looking for something to watch?

The must-see French films of the millennium - Part Two
Rust and Bone. Photo: YouTube Screengrab

The newest French films you need to see before you die (or alternatively when you get some spare time).

Election Watch
Presidential hopeful reckons a pain au chocolat is 10 cents

So France happily takes the pastry out of him.

French ministry of defence officials die in plane crash
Screengrab: eddydeg/Twitter

The French Ministry of Defence officials were killed on Monday when a light aircraft went down on the island of Malta.

Revealed: The ten most stolen cars in France
A Smart car in Paris. Photo: JR_Paris/Flickr

Thieves in France are getting a taste for luxury cars, it seems.

Analysis - France migrant crisis
Migrant crisis won't end with Calais 'Jungle' closure
All Photos: AFP

The Jungle camp may be being cleared but this won't be the end of the migrant crisis in France.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie 'to sell their French chateau'
All photos: AFP

Want to live where Brangelina got married?

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available