The Canal de l’Ourcq !!

This is awesome, and we love it. We have taken several boat rides into my belle France but seldom lately . I came up with this idea because the Canal de l’Ourcq passes by a very memorable town for me, Meaux in Seine et Marne dept77. Therefore, here is my black and white, but one personal picture for the memories, my contribution to the canal. Hope you enjoy the ride as I.

The Canal de l’Ourcq boating on it at 8 kph passing many levies and wonderful sightseeing, La vie est belle ! Leaving La Villette in Paris you passed by La Ferté Milon birthplace of Jean Racine in route passing Pavillons sous Bois and Aulnay sous Bois towns, Finally, you reach Villeparisis in Seine et Marne dept 77 ! Here is where the Honoré Balzac family stayed in 1819 and wrote first at 19 and lived with Laure de Berny one of his love stories.

You continue to reach Claye-Souilly an old port (now great shopping mall I shopped) .They specialise on the fabrication of textile of Jouy of great impressions by a Victor Hugo. Facing the church you see an elevated bridge the only one other than in rue de Crimée 19éme Paris that still have these bridges in France. You passed by picturesques Précy sur Marne where the Marne river can be rough. Here you see French culture again with Yves Duteil, (where he was the mayor) and film Barbara  en liberté ,the black eagle of French songs. At Trilbardou the canal take a twist on the Marne river with a huge levy having to climb to get it to work. Near where the Marne is very close to the Canal de l’Ourcq at Villers lés Rigault you have another elevated levy that give the Marne pumped waters. You passed now by Meaux, my dear memorable Meaux, and continue to another melancholy town Varreddes a place of gathering for old mariners and a big levy too. The boating is done slowly here maybe 4 kph.

From Lizy the ride is smooth to get to May en Multien where was a location of the great war or WWI Battle of the Marne in September 1914. There is a pretty church here from the 16C and we continue to Crousy sur Ourcq, and the ruins of the Château de Gesvres as well as the dungeon of the Château du Houssy. The entire river now is canalise leaving the Seine et Marne with a small incursion into the Oise dept 60 then the Aisne dept 02. The popular saying is “You will see , this canal de l’Ourcq if you visited often, you will love it !” The best ride ever for me and unfortunately is not done anymore by Canauxrama 13 quai de la Loire, Paris 19éme.

A bit of the history tell us that it was king François I with the ideas of Leonardo de Vinci that first thought about this canal to bring water to Paris, Later, king Louis XIV with the push of the Duke of Orléans created toll section called Canal of the Duke on a portion that was navigable to the east of Meaux. In the 18C, with Paris water shortages, Napoléon I ordered a study to be done to provide more water to Paris, this is done by engineer Pierre-Simon Girard creating the project of the Canal de l’Ourcq in 1802. Wars and demise of Napoléon caused delays that until 1822 the first boats rode on it from La Ferté Milon to the La Villette in Paris.

My wonderful anecdote on Meaux, the “daughter of the Marne river !” Passing Vignely and Villenoy (birthplace of Yvette, late dear mom of my late dear wife Martine) you come into Meaux under the pont Saint Rémy bridge. Here powerful motor boats do the trip Paris Meaux in less than 3 hrs at a speed of about 15 kph. The city of the Eagle of Meaux confessor of Louis XIV and Bishop of Meaux Jacques Bénigne Bossuet developped on a, curve bent of the Marne river. It had always canals such as Cornillon, Chalifert, and Ourcq historically gave Meaux an important function of exchange commerce. You have the right bank the town, and the left bank the market and traditionally commercial district, (indeed still today). This is more evident by the pont Vieux or old bridge , aka market bridge. From the defense system created by the Counts of Champagne only rest the tour du pot de chambre. The market went thru several and the one today is covered with metal surrounded by old houses (where you get the real Brie de Meaux cheese of kings, the king of cheeses Vienna 1815). The passarelle des Moulins, you reach the city center. There you have the ramparts, bishop’s city of the 4C, Cathedral St Etienne 12C to 16C. The Vieux Châpitre or old chapter 13C, the bishop’s palace faces it since 1155. There is a French garden some say done by André Le Nôtre in 1640. At the end of the garden the bishop Domenique de Ligny had done a pavilion Bossuet a small house attach to the ramparts where in 1926 became the museum of the writer and library of Bossuet. Very nice indeed and getting more attention as a base for Disneyland Paris. Pic the Marne with the market afar and the boat basin for the ride to Paris and me !

Meaux marne river et Pedro

The city of Paris on things to know about the Canal de l’Ourcq:

The Paris tourist office on the Canal:

Nowdays you can take the ride on the Marin D’Eau Douce base is located on the Bassin de la Villette, between the MK2 cinema and the Passerelle de Moselle. Exact 37 Quai de la Seine. Their webpage on the canal de l’Ourcq trip:

There you go folks, a beautiful romantic and historically incline boat ride to one of the best canals in France, the Ourcq. Hope you enjoy the post and do try it when possible, worth the detour.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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2 Comments to “The Canal de l’Ourcq !!”

  1. Has quedado muy bien en la foto. Un saludo de España.

    Liked by 1 person

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