When Authorities Drained This 200-Year-Old Canal, What They Found at The Bottom Was Extraordinary

It is a cloudy day in Paris, and a throng of people has converged in a bid to have a glimpse of what is taking place along the Canal Saint-Martin. They kept their eyes glued to catch every moment of every inch the murky waters of the canal were receding as authorities drained the iconic waterway. As the water receded, the things uncovered from the 200-year-old canal will leave you in absolute astonishment.


Historically, the 4.5 Km canal was constructed after Napoleon Bonaparte I put a signature to provide a go-ahead. The primary objective that compelled him to build the canal was to provide clean drinking water for the 550, 000 Paris residents, though there was a possibility that the population could even grow further. Additionally, Napoleon hoped that the accessibility to clean water would help mitigate the rampant health cases reported about Cholera and Dysentery.


Within the ensuing decades, three canals were constructed with for the same purpose. Apart from the Canal Saint-Martin, authorities oversaw the successful construction of the Canal de l’Ourcq, and the Canal Saint-Denis. With a length of 108 Km and a width of 3.4 m, the former wound its way from Port-Aux-Perches to Bassin de la Villette, to join the Canal Saint-Martin. On another token, the latter connects with Canal de l’Ourcq at the north-northwestern orientation of the Bassin de la Villette.


Presumably, Canal Saint-Martin is the widely known of the three, and silently flowed underground from the Bassin de l’Arsenal, all through the Place de la Bastille, a place frequently alluded when speaking about the French Revolution of 1789-1799, because it was at this site that a prison was unexpectedly attacked. Nonetheless, the canal also passes at a location of proximity to the Place de la Republique before flowing to the Bassin de la Villette where it joins the two aforementioned.


In central Paris, the Canal covers a total of three miles along the 10th arrondissement, which is a renowned fashion-oriented district but has recently been robust with elated nightlife and an attractive tourist-receptive district.


Paris, typically referred to as the City of Light, was discovered to behold loads of hidden secrets, veiled by the dark waters of the canal. The uncovering of some bizarre materials from the Canal Saint-Martin seemed to jar a lot of fuss from the Parisians who stayed glued to the draining operation. The first time the canal got drained was in 2001, and during this initial project, over 40 tons of wastes were removed from the water. What stood wrapped up in strangeness were the gold pennies, bullet and bomb shells from the World War I. More suspense was elicited when an automobile that dates back to that era was lifted from the canal.


The draining project that was undertaken this time round, however, did not jar up much of a historical character to the scene, because there were no gold coins, nor a WWI bullet shell to keep people’s eyes wallowing in the miasma of some displays of historical objects. What the crowd was served this time round was a spectacular display of objects that were nothing short of dowdy.


As the waters were receding with continuous draining, wheelie bins, mopeds, and bicycles were recovered from the depths of the base of the canal. A toilet came into plain sight in the canal and was recovered as one of the essentials that were decomposing to add to the murk. That added a pang of humor to the whole endeavor.


Initially, as the workers drained the water to about 50cm, they purposefully waded the water in a bid to recover more items, they ended up dealing with living “things” as well. The working personnel safely fished out virtually 5 tons of trout, carp, and bream that were subsequently transferred to better breeding grounds. The fish were carefully weighed and identified before their relocation. The new location could not be a comfortable haven for the fish but is surely a better option than the existing alternative.


After the recovery of these items that could have otherwise remained in oblivion, it is quite unfortunate that Parisians and other migrants had to dig deep into their pockets to pay for homes along the canal’s vicinity. The prices reach up to a whopping $9000, just for the acquisition of property along the 10th arrondissement, oblivious of the hidden mysteries beneath the highly regarded district.


On another end, hundreds of thousands of bottles and cans were collected as the water was being drained away.


Further, as the collection of clean-up staffs carried on with the job, they also got to have a peek at the gross suitcase that laid beneath the water.


One crew member was left with no other option but to go pick up a traffic cone from revealed surface.


Additionally, Parisian shopping trolley could not have missed from the recovered bunch: Real evidence that Paris, is a destination for shopping.


An office chair was also among the collectibles. Its discovery evoked a level of skepticism. Was an office personnel missing a much-anticipated party in the 10th arrondissement that the user traveled on the wheels of the chair? Quite ridiculous, right?


Coming to witness the physical impact that the draining project had on the view of the Canal Saint-Martin, you will have to rub your eyes to determine that you are not dangling in a reverie but reality.


The waterway has assumed a lush and aesthetic look. In fact, the canal is an inspiration to many artists, as its walls are littered with compelling graffiti, and its bank has a vast multimedia space designated solely for art.


The canal has also lured tourists and Parisians alike, who come to have a view of the badges as they navigate through road bridges and the litany of locks.