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Last Updated on 2nd July 2017 by Sophie Nadeau

Is there anything more relaxing than being on the water? Whether it be at sea, on a lake or floating in the swimming pool, there is just something to alluring about spending time on the water. If you’re looking for something to do on the weekend in Paris but don’t fancy straying too far from the city, then you need look no further! Bois de Boulogne boat rental is the perfect activity for a Sunday afternoon…

If you don’t feel like going for a Sunday Brunch in Paris, or for one of the matcha lattés at Palais Royal, then why not try your hand at paddling your way around the largest lake in Bois de Boulogne for a couple of hours?

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renting a boat in bois de boulognerenting a boat in bois de boulogne

Bois de Boulogne: A History…

The park of Bois de Boulogne is one of the most famous in the city. With little parks like Parc Monceau being the norm, larger parks like Bois de Boulogne and Bois de Vincennes are harder to find. Declared a public park under the reign of Emperor Napoleon in 1852, it’s about 2.5x larger than Central Park in New York.

Very much unlike Central Park in New York, Bois de Boulogne is home to a Château (named Bagatelle), and English Landscape Garden, an amusement park and the tennis courts. I say ‘the’ because it’s where the French Open is held! The wood also happens to be home to the chic art collection and museum, the Louis Vuitton Foundation.

renting a boat in bois de boulogne

haha, me on the boat!

Bois de Boulogne Boat Rental:

So not only is there a palatial garden and a château, there’s also the chance to row on the largest lake in the park (obviously the best bit)!

Picture below: you can see the Eiffel Tower in the background, just to the left of the boat office!

renting a boat in bois de boulogne

Cost & Visit.

Although it is free to visit Bois de Boulogne, you have to pay to rent the boats. When you rent a boat, you have to put down a €50 deposit in cash (or a cheque). It’s a pretty steep sum and so I highly recommend going with a group of friends- you can sit up to 4 people per boat. However, don’t panic about getting your money back as this is returned promptly with the return of the boat!

Boats cost €10 for the first hour. You can rent boats from mid-February to late October: 12 midday – 5pm Monday-Friday, 10am-6pm at weekends.

What do you need to rent a boat? Well, I’d suggest wearing comfortable shoes as you have to climb into the boats! I’d also recommend clothes you don’t mind getting wet as how much you get splashed definitely depends on the rowing ability of your boat crew!

On a side note, when I went with my boyfriend and his family, I noticed that a number of people had definitely come prepared. People had brought Parisian picnics complete with wine and cheese. To be honest, it didn’t look like a bad idea!

renting a boat in bois de boulogne

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Renting a boat in Bois de Boulogne, Paris, France

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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!


  • […] of greenery that serves as an ideal escape from the noise. And what better way to do so than “boating on the forest’s lake“? While a perfect romantic choice for a couple, it can also be a splendid way for a solo […]

  • Joanna
    31st October 2016 at 6:52 am

    The deposit is quite high for renting a boat, I wonder why is though. I would like to rent one if I visit, I think that rowing on a lake is very relaxing and easy, and a great way to be near the water on a sunny day. It’s amazing that from some angles you can even see the Eiffel tower!

  • Jan Michael
    31st October 2016 at 1:11 am

    Isn’t it expensive to rent this boat? well i think because it is in Europe then everything is expensive. 🙂 anyway, it looks worth to get a boat and explore the beautiful place
    JM | Man Of Wanders

  • Munchkin Treks
    30th October 2016 at 9:23 pm

    Padding around Bois de Boulogne sounds amazing! I enjoyed reading about the history of the park as well. I have been to Paris a few times but have never visited Bois de Boulogne. I will definitely have to keep it in mind on my next trip.

  • Allison
    30th October 2016 at 9:15 pm

    I agree I am always drawn to the water. I would definitely rent the boat. Have no interest in the tennis though lol. I had no idea this was possible in Paris and I missed it in my last two visits. Next time!

  • Lydia@LifeUntraveled
    30th October 2016 at 8:11 pm

    Bigger than Central Park – wow! I love parks that are so close to the city – you feel like you’re in another world and yet there’s the Eiffel Tower! 🙂

  • Sarah
    30th October 2016 at 4:11 pm

    Oh dear! What a lovely scenery! I love boat paddling! Like I can’t resist doing one whenever an opportnity presents itself! Agreed, it’s always merrier to do it witha group of friends. Can you bring some drinks with you though? 🙂

  • Clare
    30th October 2016 at 4:05 pm

    It looks like a great place to visit, and so near to the centre of Paris. A place for me to put on my list next time I visit Paris as I have done a lot of the tourist things there 🙂

    30th October 2016 at 1:06 pm

    Cool! Didn’t actually know that you could do that! And surprisingly it’s not that expecting, regarding the fact that we are talking about Paris.

    I will definitely reconsider it when I’ll be traveling back to Paris (where I go quite often since I have friends living there 🙂

  • sarah
    30th October 2016 at 4:24 am

    Bois do Boulogne is such a cool park! No I always see other people with picnics and then think ‘ah that’s what we should have done’, but I never remember. The boats look like fun. And isn’t it amazing how far you can travel in Paris and still see the Eiffel tower?

  • the adventurer
    29th October 2016 at 3:29 am

    I would love to spend an afternoon at bois de boulogne =o) Beautiful photos!


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