Taking a boat tour along the river Seine is a great way to see some of Paris’ best sights. Not only do you get to sit back, relax, and enjoy the view without lifting a foot, but there’s often an audio guide available, or even dinner and drinks! It all depends on what kind of boat tour you go for and, because there are quite a few, we decided to break it down, so that you don’t end up feeling lost at
Paris by Boat
Daytime Tour & Commentary
Unlike all the other companies, the Batobus offers a hop-off-hop-on service (hence it’s boat-bus name). Tickets are available in one or two-day passes, which is ideal if you plan on exploring some of the sights you see from the Seine. My suggestion is to start at the Gare d’Austerlitz after a morning strolling around the Jardin des Plantes, then hop off for a visit around the Louvre. Rest those weary feet afterwards and continue on round to the Latin quarter for a drink.
Stops are: Jardin des Plantes, Hotel de Ville, Louvre, Champs Elysées, Eiffel Tower, Musée d’Orsay, Saint Germain des Pres and Notre Dame. You can buy your ticket at any one, and boats pass every 20-25 minutes.
Cost for a tour: €16-18 / adult
Daytime Tours and Lunch/Dinner Cruises
The Compagnie des Bateaux-Mouches is Paris’ oldest and most famous boat-tour operator. Tours leave from the Pont d’Alma, between the Orsay Museum and the Eiffel Tower, and leave roughly every half hour for a seventy-minute round trip.
Cost for a tour: €13.50 / adult
The Bateaux Parisiens are probably your best bet if the weather isn’t kind, as their seats are under (glass) cover. Tours offer 13 different languages of commentary, available to listen to via headphones (provided). For the lunch and dinner cruises, the boats are smaller: lunch costs 57 euro per person, and dinner starts at 69 euro. Trips leave from the Port de Bourdonnais, opposite the Eiffel Tower.
Cost for a tour: €14-15 / adult
Vedettes de Paris
The Vedettes de Paris (not to be confused with the Vedettes de Pont Neuf) use smaller boats than their competitors, and look more ‘traditional’, which makes them a preferred option among romantics and boat-lovers. Tours last 60 minutes, leaving three times an hour from the Port de Suffren, and follow the same route as the other tour operators.
Cost for a tour: €13 / adult
Vedettes du Pont-Neuf
The advantage of the Vedettes de Pont Neuf is their location: they are easily the most centrally-located, in the 1st arrondissement by the Square du Vert Galant. They currently have a spring offer on, which makes it ten euro or less per adult for a boat tour.
Cost for a tour: (when not on offer) €14 / adult
Already done the Seine?
CanauxramaCanauxrama, partnered with the Vedettes du Pont-Neuf, offers boat tours of Paris’ canals: 4.5 km stretching from the river Seine (by Bastille) and the north-eastern Parc de la Villette. Unknown by many, the canal even goes underground for a short distance, and goes through several locks. It’s a fun alternative to the traditional Seine river tour, and shows you a different face of Paris, notably the hip Canal Saint Martin district. Check the site for prices. [More info]