Port de l’Arsenal in Paris

The Port de l’Arsenal is also known as the Bassin de l’Arsenal, which is at the start of the Canal Saint-Martin by the River Seine and is now used as a marina for pleasure boats, even though it was originally a commercial port.

A bit of history

There was once an arsenal that was located at the current location dating back to the 16th century, yet with the destruction of the Bastille fortress during the French Revolution along with its fosse, or ditch, that had been used to draw water from the River Seine to supply the moat, the Bassin de l’Arsenal was excavated.

As you will already have realised, it kept the name of its origins and what the area has been used for, hence the Bassin de l’Arsenal, which became a major commercial port for the city of Paris during the 19th and 20th centuries, where goods were loaded and unloaded on barges, boats or local transport vehicles, whether it be from the River Seine or from the opposite side of Paris.
Port de l’Arsenal marina offices
However, over the years the Port de l’Arsenal was becoming more disused and there were even talks about filling it in, but instead, nothing happened and the area at the Bassin de l’Arsenal became even more disused and virtually abandoned.

Yet a plan was put in place to change the Port de l’Arsenal into a marina, but it was only in 1983 that its purpose totally changed after a decision by the Mayor of Paris was made, and it was converted into a leisure port.

About the Port de l’Arsenal Marina in Paris

The Port de l’Arsenal Marina in Paris is now run by the Association for the Leisure Port of Paris-Arsenal and is a part of the France National Voies Navigables de France system, which translates in English to the VNF, Navigable Waterways of France.
And it is since the 1980s that the Port de l’Arsenal has also been known as a Port de Plaisance, which is French for a pleasure port, where you will now find on an average around 180 boats moored up, some of which are used as charters or holiday rental boats in Paris, whereas others are owned privately.

However, even if you do not have a chance to enjoy one of the pleasure cruises or boat tours in Paris like on the Canauxrama, or even a romantic getaway for a weekend holiday staying on one of the rental boats, you could still admire the boats and marina by taking a stroll, or lazing around at the Jardin du Port de l’Arsenal.

Not forgetting that you can also enjoy the Pont Morland bridge and its floodgate, which is one of the oldest parts of the Canal Saint-Martin and this is also part of the Reseau des Canaux Parisiens, which translates to the Paris Canal Network.

Visiting the Port de l’Arsenal

Old crane at Port de l’Arsenal
Boats along Port de l’Arsenal
The Port de l’Arsenal, or Bassin de l’Arsenal, is located right in between the River Seine and the Place de la Bastille and forms part of the border between the 4th and 12th Arrondissements of the city.

And when it comes to using the public transport in Paris, you will find that the nearest Metro stations are the Quai de la Rapee stop via line 5 or the Bastille stop that serves the lines 1, 5 and 8.

Alternatively the Bus lines 20, 29, 65, 76, 86, 87 and 91 along with the Noctilien Night Bus Service via Lines N02, N11 and N16 will also get you within walking distance of the pleasure marina, its garden, bridges and other tourist attractions close by.