When I was doing research for things to do in Paris, cruises along the Seine River continually popped up. I wondered whether it would actually be interesting or if it was just another tourist trap. The fact that some of those city travel passes offer a free boat ride made me even more suspicious. But, after looking into more and talking with friends who tried it, we decided to take the plunge and take a Paris boat tour during our trip.
Best Paris Boat Tour — Sightseeing VS Lunch or Dinner Cruise
Now, you should note that there’s a huge difference between a sightseeing boat tour and a lunch or dinner river cruise. Many online reviews tend to reflect people’s opinions on the food and the price which includes the meal. This is not the boat tour I am referring to. Instead, I was looking into a Paris boat tour in which you ride along the Seine for about an hour and see the sights. No food is involved. That also means the tour is much, much less expensive. We ended up paying about €15 per person, though some Paris boat tours can be as low as €10. The restaurant cruises (what they’re called on the boat operating sites), well, can cost €60 to €100 and up.
If we were going to take a boat tour in Paris, it would be to actually see the city from a different perspective. But, if we were to do that while dining on a boat, more attention would be on the eating than looking around. At least that’s how we felt. So, we opted for the sightseeing only cruise and couldn’t have been happier with our choice.
Choosing a Company to Book Your Paris Boat Tour
We decided to jump on a sightseeing boat tour with Bateaux Parisiens. I had also looked into Bateaux Mouches and Vedettes du Pont Neuf but I didn’t like how the seats were arranged rows. That way you couldn’t get up and move around or your view would be completely blocked in some people decided to stand up.
On Bateaux Parisiens, the top level had two rows, stadium-style, facing the outside of the boat. This way, everyone had a good view and, in case you did have people blocking your view, you could simply move. We also found that most of the people sitting around us took turns to get good photos. There was a group of irritating young girls, though. They had no concept of other people being on the boat and were somehow always in the way. Oh, well. That’s just part of traveling with other people around.
Paris Sightseeing Tour — Views from the Seine River
As for timing, we boarded the boat right before sunset. We were able to still see the sights. But, when the sun went down and the night lights came on, the city took on a whole other vibe. To see the sky glowing behind shadows of historical architecture was beautiful. It was also a treat to look at the lit-up bridges and awe at the Eiffel Tower as it sparkled for a few minutes every hour. (You’ll love the slideshow below!)
Should You Book a Paris Boat Tour?
I have taken boat tours in other places before. So, at first, I was kind of on the fence of whether we should do a sightseeing cruise in Paris or not. But, I’m glad we decided to go for it. We enjoyed the sightseeing boat tour in Paris immensely. The ride was smooth and the weather was perfect. Too, it was interesting to see so many famous sights from a different perspective and people-watch to our hearts’ content. If you ever get the opportunity, try doing a boat tour in Paris. You won’t regret it!