The Canal Saint-Martin is a 4.5 km long canal in Paris, connecting the Canal de l'Ourcq to the river Seine. Over nearly half its length , between the Rue du Faubourg du Temple and the Place de la Bastille, it was covered in the mid-19th century to create wide boulvards and public spaces on the surface. The canal is drained and cleaned every 10–15 years, and it is always a source of fascination for Parisians to discover curiosities and even some treasures among the hundreds of tonnes of discarded objects.
Construction of the canal was ordered by Napoleon I in 1802, in order to create an artificial waterway for supplying Paris with fresh water. The water diverted from the river Ourcq would support a growing population and help avoid diseases such as dysentery and cholera, also supplying fountains and allowing the streets to be cleaned.
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