Which Seine river tour in Paris should I pick?

When talking about the most romantic cities in the world, it's often a close battle between Paris and Venice. What these cities have in common (apart from millions of tourists) is the possibility to explore the city by boat.
Admittedly, a Seine river cruise at night is not as romantic as sailing with a gondola through Venice. But there is something in the Parisian air that is irresistable. That's why I would like to tell you about all the options you have to book a Seine river cruise.

seine river tour

What do you see during a boat trip on the Seine?

It doesn’t really matter which Seine cruise you choose, because you’ll always follow the same route more or less. In most cases you leave from the Eiffel Tower and then you pass the Grand Palais, the Notre Dame, the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay. You sail to the Institute of the Arab world (on the Ile Saint-Louis) and then you return.

seine river cruise night

Are you looking for something romantic? Then book a boat trip on the Seine in the evening. Paris is beautifully illuminated!

What types of Seine tours are there?

The classic:

One hour Seine river tour

I’ll start with the least romantic, but most popular Seine river tour option. During this cruise, you follow the path that I mentioned a bit higher up in this article, which takes about an hour in total. If you wish, you can listen to the audio guide or you can simply enjoy the beautiful scenery. You can also opt for a boat trip on the Seine during the evening if you want it to be a little more romantic.

For the gourmets:

Boat trip on the Seine with dinner

If you want to combine the pleasant with the useful (or vice versa) you can cruise on the Seine and enjoy good food at the same time. You enjoy the best that French cuisine has to offer, all while seeing how the City of Light got its nickname.

For the bon vivants:

Champagne tasting during a Seine tour

If you want your Seine tour to be a bit more memorable, you can always combine it with some sparkling champagne. During your cruise you’ll also get more information about this famous French drink and the sights that pass by.

For the romantics:

Seine night cruise with live music

The lights of and on the Seine, live music and a delicious dinner… What else could you wish for while visiting Paris? This tour is ideal for those who want to propose to their lover or for whoever has something to celebrate!

For the practical people:

Eiffel tower and Seine cruise

Because you’re so close to the world’s most famous tower (sorry, Pisa), you obviously want to climb this bad boy too. The good news is that you don’t have to wait in line for hours, but that you can skip the queues with this combination ticket!

Everything included:

Eiffel Tower, Seine cruise and Moulin Rouge!

This is the most expensive option, but you also get a lot in return. You start with an exclusive dinner on top of the Eiffel Tower, where you won’t only enjoy a delicious dinner, but also a breathtaking view. Then it’s time to tour on the Seine and you finish off the evening with an extraordinary show at the Moulin Rouge! Voulez-vous coucher avec moi? Ce soir? Bien sûr!

seine cruise

A cruise on the Seine is quite fun!

Which company do I pick for a river tour on the Seine?

If you just want to buy a ticket on the spot, you have a lot of choices. The largest companies are Bateaux-Mouche, Batobus and Vedettes du Pont Neuf. In itself, the Seine cruises are more or less the same, but the Vedettes boats are slightly smaller and therefore offer a more personal experience. On all boats you can always buy something to drink.

seine boat trip

A boat trip on the Seine is much more fun than you think. You see a side of the city that you would otherwise never see.

I want to sail a boat on the Seine myself! Is that possible?

Unfortunately, pleasure boats are forbidden on the Seine, but Marin d’Eau Douce offers a particularly nice alternative. First, you pick a boat for 5, 7 or 11 people and with that boat you have access to 40 kilometers (25 miles) of waterways in Paris: the Canal Saint Martin, the Canal de l’Ourcq and the Bassin de la Villette. They have (only) 21 boats available so you should book a bit in advance if you would like to have your own, private boat. The prices are also very affordable. For a boat up to five people, you pay 40 euros for one hour, 70 euros for two hours and 90 euros for three hours.

seine night cruise

Enjoy the view! At sunset, Paris becomes even more beautiful!

Ten fun facts about the Seine

  1. With its length of 777 kilometers (483 miles), the Seine is the second longest river running entirely through France.
  2. The source of the Seine lies in a village called Source-Seine which lies 30 kilometers (18,5 miles) northwest of Dijon in the northeast of the country.
  3. This source is 471 meters (1545 ft) above sea level.
  4. The mouth of the Seine is more than sixteen kilometers (10 miles) wide. It’s also one of the most navigable rivers in France and since the era of the Romans it has already been playing an important commercial role.
  5. If you’re thirsty and want to drink some water from the Seine, I would think twice. The quality of the water was very low in the past, but in recent years the river seems to be (slowly!) cleaning up. The Atlantic salmon even swims in the river again! But that doesn’t mean that you can drink from a glass of Chateau Eiffel…
  6. In total, the Seine flows only thirteen kilometers (8 miles) through Paris from the east to the west. The average depth of the Seine in the city is about 9.5 meters (31 ft).
  7. Because the Seine runs through Paris, it divides the city into the Rive Gauche (left bank) and Rive Droite (right bank). The Île de la Cité is one of the only remaining natural islands in the city (Ile Saint-Louis is the other). On the Île de la Cité you can find the famous Nôtre Dame cathedral and the gorgeous Sainte-Chapelle.
  8. In total there are 37 bridges within Paris and a lot more outside the center. The Pont Neuf is the oldest bridge over the Seine in Paris. This one was built from 1578 to 1607.
  9. In 885 the Vikings used the Seine to invade France. Their army of more than 40,000 warriors could easily sail to the heart of the country. You can see how they did this in the great TV-series ‘Vikings’.
  10. Finally, the name is derived from the Latin Sequana, the Gallo-Roman goddess of the river.
seine tour

The Seine river is very long… So there’s more than enough to see when you’re cruising the Seine!

Whether you choose for a romantic boat trip on the Seine in the evening, or a nice Seine river tour with dinner, a cruise on the Seine is a great way to explore the city. Escape the bustle of Paris and relax, possibly with a glass of champagne. Santé!

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