Best cruise and dinner cruise on the Seine in Paris

Best cruise and dinner cruise on the Seine in Paris

The emblematic activity to do on the water in Paris is cruising in a Bateau Mouche on the Seine at nightfall, when the city lights up. We go through the islands, we see Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Palace, There are several boats that do this cruise. We looked for the best cruise to do on the Seine in Paris, and the best dinner-cruise.

1. The cruises on the Seine in Paris

There are 3 main categories of cruises on the Seine:

  1. Sightseeing cruises, to see the buildings. It is a boat trip that lasts about 1 hour. They operates all day long, at all hours.
  2. Cruises on the Seine and the Canal Saint-Martin in Paris. It’s a longer trip, it lasts about 2 hours and passes through the locks of the canal.
  3. Cruises with dinner, and sometimes also live music. The cruise lasts longer, between 1h30 and 2h30.

There are also several companies that offer Bateau Mouche cruises in Paris. The best known are Vedettes de Paris, Bateaux Parisiens or Bateaux Mouches. Each company has its own style of fly boat, always with large bay windows to see Paris well, and also an outdoor platform.

Bateau Mouche. The Bateau Mouche is a style of boat typical of Paris and France in general. The first tourist boat in Paris dates from the Universal Exhibition of 1837!

1.1 Sightseeing cruises on the Seine in Paris

All sightseeing cruises do pretty much the same tour, and they pass by all the iconic spots in the city. The prices are also quite close. However, each company has a different starting point, so choose the one that best suits your stay.

There are also slightly more original cruises, such as the one that includes a tasting of several champagnes (see availabilities here)

Places where the cruise passes:

  • Eiffel Tower. The Eiffel Tower dominates the city of Paris. From the water, we discover it from another angle. Originally, it was a temporary construction for the Universal Exhibition of 1900. But it remained!
  • Musée d’Orsay. The Musée d’Orsay is located in the former Orléans station, built for the Universal Exhibition of 1900, like the Eiffel Tower. Today it is the largest museum in the world for Impressionism.
  • Palais du Louvre. It was the main residence of the kings of France for almost 300 years, before they moved to the Palace of Versailles. Today, it is one of the largest museums in the world.
  • Ile de la Cité, Ile Saint Louis. The 2 islands are very special, many want to live there but real estate is very expensive! The best, Ile Saint-Louis, represents the end of the cruise on the Seine in Paris, where the boat turns around.
  • Notre Dame de Paris. The Cathedral of Paris is also an emblem, thanks to the novel Victor Hugo. We do prefer other churches in Paris, like the Panthéon, or other Cathedrals like the one in Chartres, Reims or Orléans.
  • Hotel de Ville. The town hall of Paris.
  • Pont Alexandre III. The most beautiful bridge in the city is a gift from Russia to France to symbolize the friendship between these peoples. It was also built for the Universal Exhibition of 1900.
  • Pont des Arts. It is a small pedestrian bridge, but it is known because many young people meet there in the evening. And lovers come here to mark their love with a padlock. It’s a very pretty place because you can see the tip of the Ile de la Cité, with the two arms of the Seine.
  • Hôtel des Invalides. You can see it from a bit far from the Seine, but you can recognize it by its golden dome. From the outset, this building has housed wounded and disabled French soldiers.
  • Trocadéro and the Palais Chaillot. The Palais de Chaillot is also a building built for the Universal Exhibition, but the one in 1937. It is in the direct line of the Eiffel Tower.
  • Grand Palais. It is a large space that hosts exhibitions or events. It was also built for the Universal Exhibition of 1900.
  • Jardin des Tuileries. The garden just in front of the Palais du Louvre
  • National Assembly. One of the most important buildings in France: it is the seat of the Parliament, where the laws are voted.
Best Cruise Paris

Some longer cruises go down the Seine to the Statue of Liberty in Paris. A replica of the famous New York statute, a gift from France to the United States of America. Click here to see our unusual places in Paris.

Water bus – Batobus. Batobus is a “bus” on the water. It is not a cruise, it is used to go from one place to another. For example, to go easily from Notre-Dame de Paris to the Eiffel Tower, you can take the Batobus. It will always be nicer and prettier than the RER C! It’s not really a cruise, but the boats are glazed and therefore offer a panoramic view.

Audio guide. There is usually an audio guide included, but a special kind: it is an application on the phone. So you need to have your phone and your own headphones. It’s pleasant to use your own equipment. On the other hand, it can be more complicated with children.

Best Seine River Dinner Cruise in Paris

There are 2 services for a dinner cruise on the Seine in Paris:

  • 1st serve. Dinner is early, before 7pm. The boat trip is also shorter.
  • 2nd Course: Dinner is later, from 9pm. It’s usually a longer boat ride with live music as well. It’s a more expensive option as well.

Best dinner cruise on the Seine in Paris: 1st or 2nd service. We explain later that the best time to take a cruise is in the evening at nightfall. So we will prefer the 1st service in winter, when the sunset is earlier, and the 2nd service in the evening, when the day lasts longer.

Bateau Mouche Paris

Menu on the dinner-cruise. The menu of a dinner cruise is of high quality and typically French. We are talking about Foie Gras, Coquille Saint-Jacques, Piece of Beef or even several Cheeses.

There are also different companies that offer a fairly similar service:

Cruises on the Seine and the canal

Choosing a cruise on the canal and the Seine in Paris is very different. We spend most of the time on the canal, which is much narrower than the Seine. The cruise usually ends at Parc de la Villette, at the far end of Paris.

The boats are often a bit smaller than the ones on the Seine.

Popular Paris? There are no historical monuments on the route, only normal building. Nevertheless, it is a very pleasant ride. The quays of the Canal Saint-Martin are always crowded in the evening, and this little arm of water under the trees is very romantic.

Locks. The canal rises to the north, so you pass through several locks during the cruise. It’s quite unusual to take a boat lift.

Underground. Part of the canal cruise in Paris is underground. The canal is covered between Place de la Bastille and Rue du Faubourg du Temple (between République and Belleville). It’s quirky, but it’s also a less enjoyable part.

Eiffel Tower Cruise Paris

When to take the cruise on the Seine

The best time to take a cruise on the Seine is in the early evening, when the sun begins to set and the buildings of Paris begin to light up. Paris is a very well lit city. All the monuments are very well highlighted, and it’s a different city that we discover at night.

The highlight of the show is when you pass in front of the sparkling Eiffel Tower. Splendid.

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