It is impossible to visit Paris without a sightseeing cruise on the Seine: it is one of the most engaging and romantic experiences to be had in the French capital.
There are numerous tourist boats offering these tours along the banks of the Seine. Aboard the boats that navigate the placid waters of the Parisian river, you can follow its picturesque banks, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and contemplate the French capital from an unusual angle.
In fact, you can admire, from the comfort of your seat, the Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Orsay Museum, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, the Conciergerie: a prestigious parade of iconic and surprising sights that will make your trip unique.
At 776 kilometres long, the Seine is a very important waterway connecting Paris to the English Channel. It originates in Burgundy at Saint-Germain-Source-Seine and flows into the English Channel in northern France.
Passing through the middle of the French capital, the Seine offers visitors a unique opportunity to discover Paris from a different angle, along the water. A cruise on the Seine is a must if you are planning a trip to Paris. Along the water, you can admire the architecture of its most emblematic monuments: the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, Notre-Dame and the Eiffel Tower.
Itineraries of different durations are proposed, day or evening, with or without meals included. On board you will find everything you need to make this a unique and unforgettable experience.
Although the embarkation point differs from one company to another, the route of the walk along the Seine is the same for all boats: normally, the cruise lasts about 1 hour. Whichever company you choose, you can admire the same monuments. In fact, the boats go up the Seine following the left bank, turn after the Ile de Saint Louis, and then turn back admiring the right bank of the Seine.
The only exception: Canauxrama. In fact, this company’s Seine cruise allows you to see the replica of the Statue of Liberty, which other companies do not offer for this type of itinerary.
The 1-hour cruise offered by Bateaux Parisiens turns out to be the most popular and purchased by tourists from all over the world visiting Paris. However, there are other alternatives that differ in the additional services offered on board which we invite you to discover in our article.
There are several companies that will take you to see the most famous sights in Paris, with different options of on-board services and experiences.
But how do you choose the right type of cruise for you? The various options differ according to duration and the type of experience you are looking for. The comfortable boats are equipped for simple 1-hour excursions, where you will be shown the sights from the water by trained guides. Or you can choose enchanting panoramic barges where lunches, dinners, aperitifs and dancing evenings are served in elegant and romantic surroundings.
Whichever you choose, admiring Paris from the water is a different way of touring the capital: from the river you get a completely unique perspective. For many tourists, a cruise on the Seine is a chance to take a restful break, to treat themselves to a moment of relaxation after endless walks around the city, while continuing to visit Paris. It is perfect, for example, for those who have little time at their disposal: by letting the boats take them through the most famous sights of Paris in a single tour.
Those who have always dreamt of Parisian romance, on the other hand, can treat themselves to a night tour, perhaps with dinner or a sunset aperitif on board. This is the ideal way to treat yourself to a unique moment: with its bridges and monuments expertly illuminated, Paris turns into a giant film set at night.
Undoubtedly the most classic and economical way to discover Paris along the banks of the Seine. During this 1-hour cruise on the Seine, you will enjoy splendid panoramic views of the main monuments of Paris and learn a lot about their history thanks to an audio guide.
The boats leave every 30 minutes and are by far the most popular and the best compromise for those who are short on time and want to spend little. This cruise is undertaken by all companies: the itinerary is always the same. Only the type of boat and service on board changes.
The dinner cruise on board is probably one of the most romantic ways to discover Paris, the most beautiful city in the world.
Aboard an elegant boat with panoramic windows, you can enjoy a fabulous 3-course dinner (starter, main course and dessert) while admiring the Eiffel Tower, the Musée d’Orsay and many other iconic sites of the capital during a cruise lasting about 3 hours.
Undoubtedly, this is a recommended option for couples wishing to indulge in a unique and unforgettable moment: the view of Paris at sunset, slowly glowing its brightest, is an unparalleled experience.
There are several options available, offered by the various companies: aperitif and champagne only at sunset, wine tasting, sunset dinner, dinner at night, dinner plus dancing, dinner with live music, dinner with entertainment. You will be spoilt for choice.
The same companies that offer the classic 1-hour sightseeing cruise also offer the lunch variant.
This cruise is longer, generally 2 to 3 hours, and is more expensive, but it will allow you to combine lunch with a visit on the Seine, thus saving a lot of precious time.
Moreover, the quality of service is always very high: in some cases, lunch is even gourmet, expertly prepared by excellent French chefs. The experience is undoubtedly worth the price of the cruise and will allow you to relax aboard elegant boats, savour refined Parisian cuisine and admire the capital’s most famous monuments.
Cost-effective and time-saving, the option of taking both a cruise on the Seine and a visit to one of Paris’ most important monuments with a combined ticket.
There are various options but the most popular include entry to the Louvre Museum or a lift up to the Eiffel Tower. In this case, your ticket will allow you to benefit from priority access, without waiting: not only will you have access to the first and second floors, but you will continue your visit to reach the top level and admire the most beautiful 360-degree view of Paris. Immediately afterwards, you will embark again from the pier at the foot of the Eiffel Tower to start your cruise on the Seine, which can be done at any time, even in the evening, to enjoy the illuminations.
There are various types of combination tickets, which always include entry to a museum plus the tourist cruise on the Seine. There are also variations with tickets for the Moulin Rouge show, the Arc de Triomphe or the Musée d’Orsay.
There are several cruise companies, which will take you to see the most famous spots in Paris, with different options of on-board services and experiences. As already mentioned, the itinerary is always the same.
The Bateaux Parisiens company has been offering its services since 1956. Comprising a fleet of 13 panoramic boats (5 for gastronomic cruises, 8 for tourist cruises on the Seine), it allows several million tourists each year to discover the capital along the Seine.
Tourist cruises on the Seine in Paris are carried out on board glazed trimarans. You can then board the upper deck for an incredible view of the capital’s most beautiful monuments.
You can choose your departure point: from Port de la Bourdonnais, near the Eiffel Tower, on the left bank in the 7th arrondissement or from Quai de Montebello, near Notre Dame, in the 5th arrondissement.
The Vedettes de Paris benefit from an ideal location, offering departures from the foot of the Eiffel Tower. Present since 1976, the company is distinguished by a fleet of smaller, more traditional boats. With a maximum of 250 passengers per boat, the tourist cruise is therefore more intimate and cosy. In addition, optional services such as snacks and champagne are offered on board.
If your trip takes place in winter and you do not want to miss the view from the outside deck, fleece blankets are provided to keep you warm.
Audio commentaries are broadcast on board during the cruise in 3 languages: French, English and Spanish, but documentation is available in 8 languages (German, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic).
The Bateaux-Mouches company is a real institution, the most famous and popular in Paris, in operation since 1949: it welcomes several million tourists on board its boats every year. Loudspeakers broadcast commentaries in several languages and their 1-hour sightseeing cruises are a favourite with tourists.
The Bateaux Mouches can accommodate up to 1000 people on the same boat, departures are very frequent and the boats are equipped with panoramic windows. The upper deck is uncovered, allowing a perfect view for cruises on the Seine in Paris, ideal for taking exceptional photos.
Departures start from Pont de l’Alma, on the right bank in the 8th arrondissement.
This is not a cruise on the Seine in the traditional sense, but a boat that allows you to do the same itinerary on your own. In fact, the Batobus is actually a HOP ON HOP OFF boat : it works like a bus making 9 stops at major Parisian tourist destinations such as Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre.
With the same ticket you can get off wherever you want, visit the attraction next to the stop and get back on when you need to, thus continuing to follow the proposed circuit. The pass is valid for up to 48 hours, the boats pass every 30 minutes and you can use them without limit.
For those who wish to admire the Seine and its banks without too many tourists, we recommend a cruise on the Bateaux de Paris, a small company easily distinguishable by its small orange boats.
The sightseeing tour lasts 1 hour and 15 minutes. It only runs from April to September and allows a stop at the Eiffel Tower. If you want an even more atmospheric experience, you can choose the Louisiane Belle, the largest wheeled boat on the Seine: scenic, airy and luxurious, capable of creating intimate spaces and atmospheres.
The departure point is at Pont Saint-Michel, at 12 Quai des Orfèvres.
This company is mainly dedicated to the exploration of Parisian canals such as the Canal de l’Ourcq, the Marne and the famous Canal Saint-Martin. However, it also offers an evening cruise on the Seine, which lasts about 2 hours with a guide on board to provide commentary in English and French.
Departure is from Port de l’Arsenal located near Place de la Bastille. Unusual note: during the tour you will pass through a lock, which allows the boat access to the Seine. The itinerary is slightly more complete than those offered by other companies.
There is no best time to take a cruise on the Seine. Obviously spring and summer, which constitute the high season, from April to September, provide the ideal weather and conditions to admire Paris in all its splendour. This translates into the possibility of enjoying the journey outdoors, on the bridges of the boats and taking incredible photographs.
Of course, the high season is also the busiest, with more rides available but a real crush of people thronging the boats and museums. In these months, booking a cruise well in advance is almost compulsory, especially on long weekends and during school holidays.
In winter and autumn, the magic of Paris is renewed with the melancholic charm of foliage and Christmas illuminations. As there is always room, advance booking is not necessary and the cruise experience is guaranteed by the cosy, heated interiors of the boats. After a day spent walking around the city in the cold winter chill, the cruise can be a welcome break in the warmth, to relax and admire the view in comfort.
City Card allow you to save on public transport and / or on the entrances to the main tourist attractions.