Our cruise on the Seine was an enjoyable 90 minutes, a very relaxing way of viewing the river activity, the beautiful buildings on the riverbanks and the many bridges. The cruise commenced close to Notre Dame, and continued on past the Ile de la Cite the birthplace of Paris many thousands of years ago.
We saw many famous buildings including the Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, Conciergeire, some magnificent bridges and a variety of barges, ferries, pleasure boats, floating restaurants, house boats and other activities that occur on a working river. An excellent commentary accompanied the cruise.
Our cruise boat was fully enclosed with a glass ceiling which made photography difficult. If doing the cruise again I would take a ferry that offered elevated outside seating on top of the cabin. The higher elevation from the water would give a better view of the buildings and give greater photographic opportunity. Also I would take a cruise from Pont Neuf as there are better ferries operating from this location.
I hadn't tried it before, but my fifth time in Paris I went for a night-time cruise on the Seine and I didn't regret that. I had tried a cruise on the Seine before, but during the day, and it can't be compaired to the beauty of Paris lit up in the dark at night-time!
I took the latest trip with the company 'Bateaux Parisiens' which started at 23:00 (11pm). The cruise takes you by some of the famous sights including the Eiffel Tower and around the two Islands Ile de la Cité and Ile St.Louis. It costs 10 euros and you'll be able to sit outside on the roof of the boat. The tour will be commented by in both french and english.
Look at the website for more info...
I had so wanted to take a Bateau Mouche when in Paris my 1st & 2nd trips but each time the Seine overflowed. Thus I was unable to take a Bateaux Mouche dinner cruise nor could I walk along the quais. A tad disappointing.
But this February I got to do a Bateaux Mouche tour at night! It was cold but beautiful! I chose the Bateaux Mouche because it goes past the tip of Île St-Louis in one direction and then goes past the Eiffel Tower (they timed it during my trip for when the tower was sparkling - ahhh!), past the Ile des Cygnes around the small Statue of Liberty. If you've seen the Harrison Ford film Frantic then you've seen this manmade isle, the Ile de Cygnes (isle of swans) during the climax scene of the movie.
Vedettes du Pont Neuf (the same company that Celine & Jesse rode in Before Sunset!
Batobus - various departure points
Photos: February 2006 & April 2003
Cruising on the Seine gives you a whole different perspective on Paris and is a nice break from all the walking you are bound to do there. There are several options and the one I liked leaves from Pont Neuf and cruises for about an hour. There are also some that leave from in front of the Eiffel Tower and some more expensive ones that serve dinner aboard. The cruises are enjoyable both in the daytime and at night. Many buildings (including the Louvre) are beautifully lighted at night. Evening cruises are more romantic and the boat's staff loves shining their lights on the lovers smooching along the banks.
It may seem like the ultimate tourist cliché, but taking a Seine River Cruise is a great way to introduce and orient yourself to Paris. In about 60 minutes you get a great perspective on this large and complex city and begin to sort out what you really want to do.
To be sure, the banks of the Seine are lined with the most heavily visited tourist "hot-spots",perhaps, in the whole world. But, they are not busy because they are boring...they're busy because most of us have dreamed are whole lives of seeing them.
There are several cruise lines which have staked out different departure points along the Seine...any of which will likely be fine. The cruise line we used was Les Vedettes du Pont-Neuf which departs from the west end of Ile de la Cite at the base of Pont-Neuf. The fare was 11€, however, we could have saved 4€ by purchasing our tickets online...but, it was Paris and we were "in the moment".
Intro Photo: We boarded at the Pont-Neuf which, while it means "new bridge", is actually the oldest bridge in Paris. It was new, however, in 1607 when Henri IV named the span. It is said that the characterized stone faces which line its perimeter are those of Henri's critics other nay-sayers who claimed that the bridge would never last.
Photo 2: This was our first view of the Eiffel Tower. In the foreground is the Pont Alexandre III which opened in 1900. It is described as the prettiest or most elegant bridge in Paris, however, I suspect that if it had been built anywhere else than in Paris it might have less charitable reviews. It is referred to as an Art Nouveau design, however I think Hector Guimard or Jules Lavirotte might have a different opinion.
Photo 3: I have to admit to a certain guilty enjoyment at studying the voluptuous nymphs which adorn the center of Pont Alexandre.
Photo 4: Here we pass the Musée du Louvre and the lower banks of the Seine promenade.
Photo 5: At this point the Seine splits to go around Ile de la Cite and Ile St-Louis. We are about to pass under the Petit Pont which connects to the left bank. Also, of course, we are approaching Notre Dame Cathedral.
We got a Bateau-mouche from near the Eiffel Tower which took us right up the length of the Seine, past Notre Dame and back. It took about 1 hour. There was on-board commentary and music. We passed under many of the bridges, saw the Louvre, Musee d'Orsay, the Conciergerie and Notre Dame from the boat. Recommended for a relaxing hour on the river!
On both my trips to Paris, I took boat tours along the Seine river, sometimes more than once. In my opinion the best time to go is right before sunset. You will witness Paris as the sunsets and as it becomes night. Nothing is more breathtaking.
Since many of Paris main attractions are visible or are directly on the shores of the river, this is also a very pleasant way of seeing the sites. Besides the regular tours there are dinner cruises as well.
I recommend all first time (and subsequent) visitors to take a Seine river cruise. One good company to try is the Bateaux Mouches. They go down the Seine and give a recorded overview of all the sights that are located along the Seine. Like a sightseeing tour bus this boat tour gives one an idea of what Paris has to offer and you can always return to visit a particular sight in detail later on.
This is a great way to see a number of the sight of Paris without walking. Sit and enjoy the view from the Seine. In the photo, I'm showing the original model for the Statue of Liberty, seen from the boat.
For sure you will see the Seine River when you are in the heart of the city of Paris. In the picture I posted, you will see the river from the top of the Eiffel Tower.
The river and its banks is one of the most perfect urban landscape in the world. There are many attractions on the rivers banks like the Notre Dame, the Louvre, and the famous Eiffel Tower.
You will also see beautiful bridges that crossed the Seine River and one of the most famous is the Pont-Neuf. If you want to enjoy more of the Seine River and its bridges, I would recommend you to go for a river cruise especially at night as the river banks are illuminated. It is very colourful and relaxing after a full day tour of the city. The cruise will give you an idea on the many other attractions that Paris can offer.
A cruise on the Seine is a highlight of any trip to Paris, there are many companies that offer trips on the Seine and it can be as simple as using the boats for transportation like the hop on hop off Batobus, you can do one hour narrated cruises or you can do dinner cruises.
I liked doing it in the late afternoon so you can see the sights in both daylight and dusk when all the lights are coming on, on my most recent visit in July 2011 we did a 11:15am cruise using Bateau Vedettes du Pont Neuf which leave from beneath the Pont Neuf bridge. If you book online you can save 5E per ticket so I did that and paid 8E. You don't reserve for a particular boat, you just show up and exchange your voucher for a ticket. If you're not sure if you are going to do a cruise, you can also print a voucher from their website to save 2E.
It looked like they had a couple of different boat types, the one we went on was a double decker with the bottom deck covered and the top deck uncovered. The tour lasts an hour and goes as far west as the Eiffel Tower, going back to the east it circled around the two islands in the Seine, the Ile de St. Louis and the Ile de Cite.
A few other options are Canauxrama, Bateuax-mouches and Vedettes de Paris.
Canal / river cruising in some cities is boring,
but cruising the Seine in Paris at dusk after the lights began to come on and Tour Eiffel changes from chocolate iron to glowing gold was easily worth the time and money.
Bateaux-Mouches is the one I heard most about, but I happened by chance to be near Pont Neuf when I saw Bateaux Les Vedettes du Pont-Neuf so I took that one instead.
My favorite boats of theirs are "Europa" and "Sisley" as they are small and unconvered & open in good weather ( it is the smaller boat in back).
They had a "live" tour guide (no recordings, thank god) who narrated the tour in both English and French.
There was a little bar (Captain's Bar) next to the loading dock with drinks you could take with you on the cruise.
Sipping a glass of bloody-red wine as we glided down past Eiffel and returned all the way up river to Tournelle bridge past Notre Dame made the cruise even more memorable.
The web site has all the info, as well as a 2-Euro discount coupon to print out and take with you, so with the coupon it's only 9 Eu instead of 11.
To get the free coupon click below and then click on top-right where it says "Internet Discount"
Bateaux Vedettes Free Cruise Discount CouponUPDATE - buy online and get 4 Euros off:
at this link:
buy online and save 4 euros
instead of printing the coupon, you buy your ticket online in advance;
Print the Internet ticket in which is included your order number;
then take it with you and show it to them whenever you decide to cruise.
4 Euros off of the std 11Eu cost is imo a great deal.
OK, so if you may never get a shot at this, here it is in daytime and nightime:
Seine cruise videos daytime or nightime
I thought it was worth it and I am sure I will do it again.
A great way to see a lot of the city without having to walk for miles is to take one of the many low-profile boats that give visitors tours of the river. The cruises give an excellent view of Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, and severasl other sites. Perhaps the biggest benefit of the cruises is that theypresent a very convenient and thorough way of seeing all the gorgeous bridges that cross the river. You'll still need to walk around to see a lot of the major sites, but I highly recommend a cruise anyway.
For an really uniqui view of the city, take one of the cruises after dark. Paris at night is a gleaming jewel that should not be missed, especially the dazzling Eiffel Tower covered in lights.
I have been on submarines, nuclear and not, battle ships, aircraft carriers, ferries, harbor cruises and even sail boats, but none of these was as exciting nor offered the beautiful scenery as my trip down La Seine on a Bateaux Mouches!
When visiting Paris you absolutely must take a cruise down the "Grande Rue" of Paris, La Seine! This is a relxing way of experiencing the city. Many sites, famous and not so famous come into view, creating a desire to see more and more of Paris.
One sight I did not expect was a miniature Statue of Liberty looming up out of the waters of la Seine!
Fondest Memory of Paris:
The Islands in the middle are connected to the main land on either side by beautiful old bridges. Later I went back to the Seine, I crossed many of those bridges and though I got lost several times I never felt anything but awed at the things I saw.
There were bookstores, outdoor cafes, guards standing at attention, refreshing fountains and parks to rest in, old and beautiful buildings, people strolling along the quay and a great little restaurant that I stop to have lunch at.
Later I found out the names of some of the places I had been to such as the "Left Bank" in the Latin Quarter and other places, such as the restaurant, I never did get the name of. I wish for you such unforgettable experiences!
A nice way to explore Paris along the river Seine is by taking a cruiseboat. Cruises are offered at day as well as at nigh (highly recommended) and start right at the foot of the Eiffel Tower at Bateaux Parisiens - Pier 3, Port de la Bourdonnais and goes all the way past Ile de la Cite and back for about 1 hour. Commentary on the monuments are offered in 13 languages on handsets.
An alternative tourstart is also offered from Ile de la Cite.
Prices were 11 EUR for adults.