Bassin de la Villette (La Villette Basin)
A pretty artificial lake in the northeast of Paris, the Bassin de la Villette is celebrated as both a cultural hub and a relaxing place to enjoy the fresh air. Host to cafes, movie theaters (including the MK2 Quai de Loire and the MK2 Quai de Seine), and live music venues (including La Péniche Anako), the lake is also just a quick stroll from the Parc de la Villette, which itself offers ample green spaces and museum attractions.
The Bassin de la Villette is included on off-the-beaten-track tour itineraries and is featured on various canal tours of the city. It’s also easy to discover independently.
Things to know before you go
- The Bassin de la Villette is free for all to visit (swimming facilities, hosted as part of the Paris Plages event, are also free to access).
- The pond can be crossed by a pedestrian bridge (the Passerelle de la Villette), and a shuttle boat (the Zéro-de-Conduite).
- The Base Nautique de la Villette offers free rowing and canoeing classes to kids and adults on Sundays; call the Saturday beforehand to book your place.
How to get there
The Bassin de la Villette can be reached by numerous forms of public transportation. Take Métro lines 2, 5, and 7bis to Jaurès station. Alternatively, use bus lines 48 or 54, or travel on foot, by car, or by Vélib’ bike.
When to get there
The Bassin de la Villette is always accessible to visitors. That said, it is at its most popular during warm and sunny weather—particularly from early July to early September, during the Paris Plages event (a long-running summertime festival).
Summer at the Bassin de la Villette
Several festive, summer events are held at the Bassin de la Villette each year. L’Été du Canal (The Summer of the Canal) is a popular festival held in July and August, and includes canal boat rides, live entertainment, and other events at the Bassin de la Villette and surrounding waterways. Paris Plages (Paris Beaches), held from July–September, also sees three swimming areas, complete with changing facilities and lifeguards, installed on the lake.
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- Buttes-Chaumont Park (Parc des Buttes-Chaumont)
- La Cité des Sciences et de L'lndustrie
- La Villette Park (Parc de la Villette)
- Musée de la Musique
- Gare du Nord
- 10th Arrondissement
- Canal Saint-Martin
- Le Manoir de Paris
- Place de la République
- Musée Edith Piaf
- Basilique du Sacré-Coeur
- Place du Tertre
- Montmartre Museum (Musée de Montmartre)
- Gourmet Chocolate Museum