Your French Guide for Choosing the Best Seine River Cruise

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Last Updated on 23rd November 2020 by Sophie Nadeau

Whether you’re searching for a unique experience, romantic dinner option, or simply want to experience Paris from another angle, you certainly won’t regret booking a River Seine boat cruise while in the French capital. Here’s your ultimate guide on how to choose the best Seine River Cruise.

Editor’s note: Though I love exploring Paris from almost every angle and especially enjoy seeking out the best Eiffel Tower views, there are a few River Seine cruises that have particularly caught my eye. I love that you can enjoy a romantic dinner cruise like this one and I love that less expensive cruises like this one are available for those on a budget!

Seine River Cruise in Paris, France

Why you’ll love taking a Seine River Cruise while in Paris

If you’re still unsure as to whether or not you should take a river cruise along the Seine, then here are a few points to consider: firstly, you can enjoy many of Paris’ major sights from the comfort of your seat. Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, the Musée d’Orsay, and even some of the Louvre Museum are all visible from the water.

Another reason to sit back, relax, and book a river cruise includes the fact that this is the kind of activity that can be done in any season and most weathers; come rain or shine, cold or heat, this is one thing to do in Paris throughout the year. Though Parisian picnics are indeed enjoyable and another great way to enjoy the banks of the River Seine, they’re not too fun in the rain!

eiffel tower vintage postcard

Next, it’s not too expensive to book a cruise and is possible on plenty of budgets, especially if you’re planning to mix up your Parisian itinerary with some of the best free things to do in Paris. Otherwise, you’ll get an entirely new perspective of the city and the chance to dinner dine on the boat or simply soak up the attractions!

Whichever cruise you end up selecting, it’s worth noting that, by and large, every boat takes roughly the same route. As a rule of thumb, the itinerary is as follows: boats begin on the left-bank close to Île Saint Louis. The cruises then sail alongside the left-bank, passing under 20 bridges en route!

From the boat, you’ll soon spy the Grand Palais, Petit Palais, Pont Alexandre III, Île de la Cité, the Parisian bouquinstes, and more Haussmannian architecture than you would ever have thought imaginable. The boats then turn around at roughly the Eiffel Tower before sailing back to the landing docks alongside the right-bank.

conciergerie paris

Best River Seine Cruise Boat Tours

1-hour River Seine Cruise

This classic Seine River Cruise is perfect for those with limited time and simply want to enjoy all of the attractions that can be seen from this angle. Lasting for just an hour, included in the price of your ticket is a skip-the-line feature and audio commentary during the boat ride. Check prices and availability here.

Original Sightseeing Cruise Tour (budget Seine River cruise)

For those on a budget, one of the cheapest ways to enjoy a River cruise is by booking a simply excursion like this one. The seventy-five-minute voyage departs from close to Notre Dame and will show you many of the main highlights which central Paris has to offer. If you want a little more information, then audioguides are available to rent. Check prices and availability here.

Batobus River Seine Shuttle Boat

If you’d like to make the most of the option to sail along the River Seine over the course of several days, then you’ll want to invest in this hop-on-hop-off option. Tickets are available to purchase for a period of 24 or 48 hours and allow you to get on and off the Batobus cruises as many times as you like. Check prices and availability here.

1-Hour Illuminations River Cruise

Hands down, one of the best ways to enjoy post-sunset in Paris is via a River Cruise. Enjoy the bright lights of the City of Light during this one-hour cruise. En route, you’ll enjoy famous monuments lit up; Musée d’Orsay and La Tour Eiffel to name but a couple. Check prices and availability here.

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Combi-tickets; Seine River Cruise & Other Attractions

Vintage 2CV tour + Cruise

One of the quirkiest tourist experiences you can enjoy in Paris is to take a tour of Paris by Citroën 2CV. These classic and vintage French cars were in production between 1948-1990. Today, these classic cars are the perfect way to experience Paris from a new perspective.

This combi-ticket will give you access aboard a classic Bateaux Parisiens cruise as well as give you the opportunity to enjoy the iconic sights of Paris via vintage car. If it’s raining, then you’ll still be able to go out in the car, only it will also be with a clear cover! Check prices and availability here.

Paris: Skip-the-Queue Eiffel Tower & Seine River Cruise

Though I would say that the best view in Paris is actually to be found from the top of the Arc de Triomphe, ascending the Eiffel Tower is definitely something you should make it your mission to do at least once in your lifetime. This combination ticket will give you access to the second level of the Eiffel Tower (with a skip-the-line function) as well as a one hour cruise along the River Seine. Check prices and availability here.

Top of the arc de triomphe: where to see fall foliage in paris

Foodie Seine River Experiences

Bateaux Parisiens 2-Hour Lunch Cruise

For a romantic and unique perspective on the city, consider purchasing a lunch cruise experience. This  à-la-carte lunch takes place over two hours, all the while sailing along the River Seine. The three-course dinner also includes wine, coffee, water, and cheese course options. During your journey along the River Seine boat tournest, you’ll also be treated to live music. Check prices and availability here. 

Paris: Evening Cruise with Dinner on River Seine

Enjoyed reading this guide to the best of Seine River cruises? Pin this article now, read it again later:

Your French Guide for Choosing the Best Seine River Cruise. Looking for the best of romantic Paris? This guide will show you the top ways to enjoy the River Seine in the city

About Author

Sophie Nadeau loves dogs, books, Paris, pizza, and history, though not necessarily in that order. A fan of all things France related, she runs when she's not chasing after the next sunset shot or consuming her weight in sweet food. Currently based in Paris after studies in London, she's spent most of her life living in the beautiful Devonian countryside in South West England!

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