When a river runs through the heart of a city, that almost always means sightseeing by boat is an excellent idea – and in Paris that’s absolutely true. Taking a Paris boat tour during your stay gives you a completely different perspective on the city, one you can’t get by staying on land.
There are many options for boat tours on the Seine these days. Some of them are more geared for tourists with limited time in Paris, others are more often frequented by locals (yes, there are boat tours the Parisians take, too!).
Here are your options for boat tours in Paris.
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Seine Sightseeing Tours
These boat tours are typically more brief, and often have running tour-guide commentary available via headsets or loudspeakers. Some companies have open-top boats, offering outdoor seating (delightful in nice weather). These tours are aimed at tourists, so that’s who else you’ll be sharing the boat with. Some companies offer tours more geared toward kids, too, so look for that when you’re browsing your options.
The largest boat tour companies are:
- Bateaux Mouches – The most famous and longest-running boat tour company in Paris, they offer tours both with meals (lunch or dinner) or without. Tours depart from Pont de l’Alma. Prices range from €11.50 for a regular tour to €55 for a lunch cruise and €99+ for a dinner cruise.
- Bateaux Parisiens – They offer tours both with meals (lunch or dinner) or without. Tours depart from Port de la Bourdonnais (near Eiffel Tower) or Quai de Montebello (near Notre Dame). Prices range from €12 for a regular tour to €37 for a lunch cruise and €66+ for a dinner cruise.
- Vedettes du Pont Neuf – They offer only tours without meals, but have both daytime and nighttime cruises. Tours depart from the Ile de la Cite. The price is €13 for a tour (there are discounts if you book online).
- Vedettes de Paris – They offer tours both with meals (snacks/light meal or dinner) or without. Tours depart from Port de Suffren. Prices range from €12 for a regular tour to €20 for a “snacking” cruise, €45 for a champagne tasting cruise, and €82 for a dinner cruise.
If you’d like a more DIY tour experience, you can hop on the Batobus – Paris’ public transportation on the Seine. It stops at eight points along the river, so you can hop on and off as you like, and you can pick out landmarks with the help of a map or guidebook – or you can just enjoy floating down the Seine without having running commentary in your ear. A one-day pass on the Batobus costs €15.
Seine Dinner Cruises
Some of the companies listed above run both dinner cruises as well as regular sightseeing tours without meals, but other companies specialize in dinner cruises – they run nothing else. Two of these companies tend to be more frequented by Parisians – usually either when celebrating something or entertaining out-of-town guests – but don’t worry if you don’t speak French, because the staff speaks English. With these dinner cruises, the focus is certainly more on the food than the “tour” aspect of the experience – there isn’t going to be a running tour-guide commentary, for instance.
- Capitaine Fracasse – They offer only dinner cruises. Tours depart from Pont de l’Alma. Prices range from €50 (not including wine) to €70+ for dinner and wine. (Frequented mainly by Parisians.)
- Marina de Paris – They offer both lunch and dinner cruises. Tours depart from Quai Anatole France (near the Musee d’Orsay). Prices range from €36 for a lunch cruise to €52 for an “early dinner” cruise and €65+ for a regular dinner cruise.
- Paris-en-Scene – They offer both brunch and dinner cruises. Tours depart from Pont Saint Michel (near Notre Dame). Prices range from €39 for a brunch cruise to €29 for a dinner cruise (not including wine) to €35+ for dinner and wine. (Frequented mainly by Parisians.)
- Yachts de Paris – They offer mostly private event tours, but they do have a dinner cruise option individuals can book. Tours depart from Port Henri IV. The price is €198 for a dinner cruise (not including wine).