What lies beneath

Thursday, July 7th, 2016
  • On reflection

    It’s not a photoshop effect, but rather the simple reflection of buildings that line the Canal Saint-Martin in Paris. If you saw the 2001 film ‘Amélie‘, by Jean-Pierre Jennet, then you would have seen the iron footbridges and tree-shaded quays of the canal as they formed the backdrop in some of the film’s most atmospheric scenes.

    The 4.5 km (2.8 mile) canal connects the Canal de l’Ourcq to the river Seine and runs underground between the Metro stations Bastille and République. In January this year, the canal was drained for cleanup and maintenance work. The complex operation, which involves removing all the fish, as well as tonnes of mud covered trash, cost the city €9.5 million (US $10.3m).

    Before the water was returned to the canal at the end of March, a vast quantity of trash was removed. The trash at the bottom of the canal included hundreds of wine bottles, as well as dozens of bicycles, Velib rental bikes, phones, computers, office chairs, suitcases, rolls of carpet, shopping carts, and even a handgun! Unfortunately for those with the hapless task of wading in the pungent thick mud, no gold coins, jewellery or treasure of any kind was recovered.

    See photographs of the empty canal before the trash was removed.