The best cruises on the Seine in Paris
The mighty Seine stretches nearly 400 miles across France. In Paris, the Seine has been celebrated, filmed, romanticized and politicized, and it has been a key player in the history and colonization of the city.
Seine cruises are a great way to see Paris in a relaxed way. There are more than a dozen companies that offer Seine River cruises in various forms, from private motorboats limited to four passengers to large-scale boats for 200. There are also different price points, from 15 euros for basic one-hour trips to luxury dining. cruise with the cuisine of one of the best chefs in the world. Here are our recommendations for the best Seine River cruises, organized by operator.
On the same principle as the hop-on hop-off buses, Batobus is the only cruise on the Seine that allows you to board and disembark at different stops along the river. The nine stops include Jardin des Plantes (the botanical garden), Les Invalides, Hôtel de Ville, Musée d’Orsay, Louvre, Notre Dame, Place de la Concorde, Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the Eiffel Tower. The boats run during the day from 11:40 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Batobus offers a 24-hour pass at 17 euros and a 48-hour pass at 19 euros. You can also buy a week pass. One advantage of taking the Batobus, in addition to enjoying the view from the river, is that you can avoid heavy road traffic as you navigate to the various monuments of Paris. The boat’s amenities include food and drink vending machines, panoramic views thanks to the glass panels on the sides of the boat, and an open-air deck.
2. The Caliph
The Caliph is a private boat full of charm. A former industrial barge, it has been converted into a dining room on three levels and a bar with piano. Tiffany-style lamps and wooden beams give the upper-level dining room an intimate feel. The Caliph offers two-hour night cruises with a three-course dinner plus welcome cocktail and the same lunch cruise on Saturday and Sunday lunch. Specialties on the menu are goat cheese in puff pastry, sea bass fillet with tarragon sauce, and for vegans or vegetarians, a plate of shitake mushrooms, vegetables, tofu and rice served in a lemongrass sauce. The chocolate lava cake with vanilla ice cream from Madagascar is just one of the decadent desserts.
another option The Caliph offers a two-hour Champagne cruise for 24 euros per person.
3. Ducasse Sur Seine
World-renowned chef Alain Ducasse has expanded his restaurant empire by launching a luxury cruise on the Seine serving his signature cuisine, Ducasse Sur Seine.
A floating glass pavilion with floor-to-ceiling glass panels glides over the Seine in near silence as the boat runs on electricity. Chef Francis Fauvel, under the supervision of Alain Ducasse, prepares a contemporary French menu and can also accommodate specific requests for those with food allergies or special dietary needs.
A two-course lunch (starter and main course or main course and dessert) which includes a glass of wine, mineral water and coffee for 95 euros per person is an excellent buy considering the quality of the food and the service. Other lunch packages include a three-course lunch with or without paired wine and a four-course menu with wine pairings. Lunch cruises depart at 12:45 p.m. sharp and return at 2:45 p.m.
Night time is the right time for this cruise. The lights are dimmed, so you can enjoy the view of the illuminated Parisian monuments. You can either opt for the four-course dinner for 150 euros per person, or party hard and indulge in the personalized six-course menu accompanied by a flute of champagne and a glass of wine to accompany the various dishes. If you choose to splurge, you’ll also have a table to choose from and receive a surprise gift as a souvenir of your trip.
The dinner cruises take place from 8:45 p.m. to 10:45 p.m., and the boat embarks at Place du Trocadéro on the right bank.
4. Mouchés Boats
The oldest company carrying out cruises on the Seine is the Bateaux Mouches, that is to say fly boats. The boats have a capacity of 200 people and have a pre-recorded tour pointing out historical points of interest along the way. The price is 14 euros per person and you can buy tickets online or at their kiosk at the starting point near Pont de l’Alma. Double-decker boats have open and closed decks.
Boats depart every two hours on weekdays and every hour on weekends.
5. Lakana cruise in Paris
Want to cross the Seine in style by speedboat? Lakana Paris Cruises offers private cruises for up to four passengers (they also have two additional boats to accommodate larger groups) with extra stops that most cruises don’t include, like a view of the mini Statue of Liberty on a small island in the Seine. The 2.5 hour cruise option includes soft drinks and a bottle of wine for just over 100 euros per person, and there is also a 90 minute cruise for less than 80 euros. You can also rent boats for special occasions such as weddings, bachelor and bachelorette parties and birthdays.
As the boats are relatively small, Lakana Paris Cruise also offers cruises outside of Paris and on alternative waterways, including the Canal Saint-Martin and the Canal de l’Ourcq, which are man-made canals with different views of the Seine.
6. Parisian Boats
Bateaux Parisiens, one of the largest companies that operate cruises on the Seine, offers a full list of cruises ranging from simple one-hour dinner to luxury dinner and champagne trips.
At the top of the spectrum are the Premier Service lunch and dinner cruises, which include a three-course meal, a selection of cheeses, two glasses of champagne, two glasses of wine, mineral water and coffee and/or tea . These cruises also include a premium table at the bow of the boat where you have floor-to-ceiling windows with stunning views. A singer, accompanied by a musician, sings popular French and American songs.
The imaginative menu includes dishes such as chicken, apricot and pistachio pie, cod and potato ravioli with spring onions, roast chicken with chanterelle mushrooms and miniature turnips and, for dessert, a cream cake strawberry and meringue ice cream.
The lunch boat leaves at 12:45 p.m. and there are two dinner cruises: 6:15 p.m. and 9 p.m.
7. Green River Cruises
Green River Cruises is one of the few companies to offer a full-day, six-hour cruise excursion. A fleet of five pontoon boats that can accommodate a maximum of 12 passengers includes two electric catamarans.
The day cruise begins at a restaurant on a stationary boat moored in Paris in Green River’s private VIP lounge. Then, you’ll board the boat and cruise leisurely to Nogent-sur-Marne, a picturesque village just outside of Paris.
Green River Cruises also organizes one and two hour cruises.
8. Captain Smash
Capitaine Fracasse is a company that advertises some of the cheapest meal cruises. Prices start at less than 50 euros per person for a brunch cruise including savory dishes (like smoked salmon and avocado toast), fruit salad, cheese, pastries and breads, plus juices fruit and coffee or tea.
The dinner cruises offer three price ranges from just over 50 euros for a three-course dinner excluding drinks, less than 70 euros including a cocktail and half a bottle of wine, or less than 80 euros for a dinner with a champagne flute. There is a cheaper menu for children under 12.
The duration of the cruises varies from one hour and 45 minutes to two hours and 30 minutes.
- Although day cruises are fun, night cruises are extra special as you see the monuments of Paris illuminated. Plus, most cruises will pass the Eiffel Tower when the twinkling lights go out an hour after dark.
- Bring a sweater or jacket if you plan to go on the outside deck of the boat.
- Tipping is included in the price of your lunch or dinner, but it’s also customary to leave a small cash tip, usually between 3-5% of your bill.
- If you choose a dinner cruise, dress semi-formally – a dress, skirt, or dress pants for women, and for men, khakis or dress pants and dress shoes.
- Take extra time to figure out where the boat is moored and how you will get there.
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