Shocking Things Found in a Paris canal after Draining it

The Canal Saint-Martin is one of the more significant canals in Paris. Running through and under the center of town, the canal is a popular tourist attraction, as people watch barges navigate through its many locks and around the various road bridges that it winds around. It was featured in the cult hit 2001 film Amélie, as well as other works of art throughout the years. Every 10 to 15 years or so, the canal is drained and cleaned, revealing all the trash and detritus that has been thrown into the canal. It’s a fascinating look at the debris of city life, and a reminder to maybe not throw things into the canal every now and then!

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Normally, the canal is tranquil

Normally, the canal is tranquil

Peaceful, even. It looks just like your run-of-the-mill urban river; a nice place to sit down and have lunch. You’d never imagine that, underneath its calm surface, there lies buried treasure.

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Step one: Dam the canal

To clean the canal, they obviously need to get rid of all that water. The canal runs from a second canal to the river Seine, so in order to be able to access the canal’s bottom, they use a massive crane to dam the whole mess up. It’s still a long process to get all the water actually out of the canal, but they need to dam it to have a chance to get in there and clean things.

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Step two: Save the fish!

It turns out, when you have a large body of water, you get a bunch of fish living in it. That’s science, for you. It’d be cruel for the sanitation department to just let all these fish slowly asphyxiate as all the water runs out, so they send guys in with long nets to catch them, place them in buckets, and move them to a canal which actually will have some water in it.

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Ugly looking things, aren’t they?

Some fish are beautiful and have brilliant colors. Some of the fish from this particular canal, however, won’t be gracing any works of art anytime soon, like the one this worker is carrying.

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Let the fish census begin!

All the fish are weighed and identified before they’re relocated. This can’t be a particularly pleasant process for the fish to go through, but it does at least keep them alive, which is usually a plus.

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What did they find in the canal? They’re still collecting, but let’s start with…a suitcase!

That suitcase looks like it’s been in the canal since it was last drained, 15 years ago. Hopefully, no one needed any of the clothes that were in there. It must smell terrible.

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A traffic cone

Thanks, Paris, but I could have figured out not to drive into the river without placing a traffic cone there. Alternatively, this could be the end result of some Parisian road rage, with an aggravated driver, fed up with construction, protesting by tossing the familiar orange cone into the canal. That outta show them!q

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A shopping cart

Cleanup on aisle three, cleanup on aisle three. Attention Paris shoppers, we’re having a special on, uh, muddy fish. And traffic cones. And other various pieces of flotsam and jetsam. Thank you for shopping Canal Saint-Martin, your one-stop shop for urban trash.

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“Yeah, dudes, I bet I can totally jump the canal if I get a long enough run-up. I saw them do this on TV. It’s going to be super-awesome. Everyone come watch and film me! Here I goooooahhhhh!” *Splash*.

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Some overturned tables

Another note to self—do not open a riverside café alongside the Canal Saint-Martin. One angry customer, and oops, there goes your tables into the water. That’s not something you have to deal with in most places!

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OK, seriously, now we’re getting bizarre. Everything else makes sense that they would be by the river and maybe accidentally fell in, but someone had to throw this bedspring in intentionally. That’s just littering, people.

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A dolly

I want to know where the thing they were carrying ended up! Hopefully, they managed to deliver whatever heavy object they were moving before the dolly was consigned to the bottom of the canal.

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That’s a bad turn there. At least on a bike, there’s only so fast you can be going before you find yourself plunging into the river. Hopefully, these got pushed in to the canal on a comical fashion, rather than something more serious. They look intact enough, until you take into account he mud and the mold.

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Just every kind of piece of rubbish imaginable

There’s already enough pollution in our water as it is without bikes and tables and bikes and bottles and bikes and more bikes falling in! It’s terrible for wildlife, it’s terrible for the quality of the water you drink, and it’s just generally disgusting. Next time, use a trash can—avoid the canal!