Bassin de la Villette

The Bassin de la Villette connects the Canal de l’Ourcq to the Canal Saint-Martin.

Bassin de la Villette and Quai de Seine
Bassin de la Villette and Quai de Seine

The 800m long by 70m wide man-made reservoir starts by Pont de Flandre, a beautiful swing-bridge that links Place de Biche to Rue de Crimée.

It ends at Place de Stalingrad, an elegant square dominated by the beautiful Rotonde de la Villette.

The footbridge Passerelle de Moselle connects the Quai de Seine on the north bank to the Quai de Loire on the south.

The Bassin de la Villette was inaugurated on December 2, 1808, the anniversary date of Napoleon’s coronation.

Its purpose was to store water that was then distributed to Paris’ many public fountains, street pumps and sewers via a network of canals.

It today serves as a marina for Paris river cruises and is part of the Canaux Parisiens.

This 130km long river network includes Canal de l’Ourcq, Canal Saint-Denis, Canal Saint-Martin and Canal de L’Arsenal.

Canal de l’Ourcq

The Canal de L’Ourcq was built between de 1802 and 1826, but was inaugurated on the same date than the Bassin de la Villette.

Rotonde de la Villette seen from the Bassin de la Villette
Rotonde de la Villette seen from the Bassin de la Villette

The 96,6 km long Canal de l’Ourcq was initially created to supply drinking water to Paris from the Marne River and its tributary, the Ourcq, but today only supplies water to the Canaux Parisiens.

It has a drop of 15m that requires several locks to allow barges to reach the Bassin de la Villette where it ends.

The banks of the Canal de l’Ourcq and Bassin de la Villette, that are located within the City of Paris, were rehabilitated and landscaped in the 1990s.

They today provide green space for recreational activities such as cycling and hiking.

You can also rest on one of many benches installed under the shade of trees, visit the weekly flee market, or join some regular anglers (but beware, you need a fishing license!)

Directions: 19th district – Place de Stalingrad
Metro: Stalingrad on Lines 2,5,7 or Jaurès on Lines 2,5,7bis
Coordinates: Lat 48.884709 – Long 2.371603

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