Best Paris Seine River Cruises
On our first few trips to Paris, we avoided taking a bateaux-mouche or glass-topped "fly boat" cruise as being "too touristy." We could not be more wrong. Seeing Paris from vantage point of the Seine River is an experience not to be missed. Cruises run morning, noon and night, but we highly recommend taking an evening cruise. At night, Paris monuments are illuminated with millions of lights reflected on the dancing waters of the Seine. Once you see Paris on an evening cruise, you will understand why Paris is known as the "City of Lights."
You'll find Seine River cruises in all price ranges, from expensive private yachts to cheap water buses. There are cruises for all audiences - from children learning about Paris, to honeymooners looking for romance, to "foodies" wanting to combine a gourmet meal at a table with a view of a lifetime. To help you narrow which cruise is for you, we compiled our list of "The Best Seine River Cruises."
Best Cruise for Budget Travelers - Batobus
See Paris like a local by taking the Batobus or "water bus". You "hop-on and hop-off" at 8 locations along the Seine river, including the Eiffel Tower, the Musee d'Orsay, the Louvre and the Notre Dame Cathedral. The Batobus is not a sightseeing cruise - instead the water bus is public transportation used by Parisians to navigate through the city. For families traveling with young children, the Batobus is an exciting alternative to the Paris Metro.
Batobus stop along the Seine river.
Buy a day pass for 14€ or 21€ for a week at the Batobus website or at any Batobus stop in Paris. Check the website for schedules. The Batobus runs less frequently in the winter.
Best Romantic Cruise - Yachts of Paris
For an intimate and romantic experience, have dinner on the luxury European yacht, the Don Juan II. Less a tour boat than a floating mansion, the 1931 Don Juan II contains a library, leather armchairs, mahogany bar, designer linens and tableware.
A romantic evening to remember - an intimate dinner for two on the luxury yacht, Don Juan II.
You'll dine on a six-course tasting menu by Guy Krenzer, executive chef at the famous Parisian restaurant, Lenotre, while admiring the illuminated monuments of Paris. The setting is intimate - only 14 tables are seated for dinner. Price for dinner and the 3-hour cruise is 198€ per person not including wine.
Best Cruise for a Night on the Town - Bateaux Parisians
Combine dinner and dancing on a glass-canopied Bateaux Parisians cruise. You'll enjoy a gourmet dinner including wine and champagne with entertainment by a French band followed by dancing on the intimate dance floor. Pick either a romantic cruise with slow-dancing or a festive cruise rocking on the Seine. The price of the cruise varies from around 70€ for an interior table to 188€ per person to dine outside under the stars on the bow of the ship.
Imagine that this is your view while dining on a Bateaux Parisians cruise.
Best Casual Cruise - Vedettes Pont-Neuf
If you aren't interested in dining, take a Vedettes Pont-Neuf tour. You'll cruise up the Seine river and listen through headphones to an English tour guide describe the historical significance of famous Parisian monuments. Feel free to sit outside for an unobstructed view, or relax in comfort inside the glass canopied interior. Bring your own champagne and toast to Paris for an inexpensive romantic moment. The hour-long tour is 12€ for adults and 6€ for children with frequent departures throughout the day and evening. Check the Vedettes Pont-Neuf website for cruise schedules, virtual tours and discount tickets.
Best Cruise for Fashionistas - Bateaux-Mouches
If you love the idea of shopping for the perfect Parisian outfit, then wearing it to dinner, combine a Seine river cruise with an elegant night out on a Bateaux-Mouche dinner cruise. Known for its attention to detail and modern restaurant boats, Bateaux-Mouche, meaning "fly boat", was the first Parisian company to develop glass-topped sightseeing boats in 1949. Dress in your finest and enjoy a gourmet meal made with fresh, local produce and meats as a roving French band serenades you with romantic tunes. Unlike other Seine river cruises, all tables on a Bateaux-Mouche cruise face a glass wall with a dazzling view of the City of Lights.
Modern, glass Bateaux-Mouche or "fly boat"
Since all food is prepared from scratch daily, with advance notice, the chef can prepare you a special meal to take into account any allergies or dietary restrictions you may have. The price for a Bateaux-Mouche dinner cruise starts at 95€ per person and includes a bottle of wine for two. Evening attire is required.
Best Champagne Cruise - O'Chateau
There is no better combination than sipping champagne and enjoying stunning views of Paris as you leisurely cruise up the Seine River. On a one-hour O'Chateau Champagne Cruise, you'll sample three different types of champagne on a private yacht's outdoor deck - perfect for sunny Paris days. The tour is casual with a sommelier conversationally describing the champagnes while giving you time to enjoy the view and take photos. The price for O'Chateau Champagne Cruise is 45€ per person.
Best Cruise for Children - Bateaux Parisians
The Bateaux Parisians Enchanted Cruise is a one-hour tour with actors describing the history of Paris in song and stories. Throughout the cruise, two elves, Lila and Philou, engage children by dancing through the aisles and asking silly questions. The cruise in in French, but my English-speaking children could follow along with the elves's carefree pantomime and singing.
Entertain and Educate Your Child on an Enchanted Bateaux Parisians Cruise.
A Paris institution, the Enchanted Cruise, has entertained over 350,000 locals and tourists over the last 11 years. The price for the Bateaux Parisians Enchanted Cruise is 11€ for one adult and one child.
Author: Cheryl Montgomery