How to Choose the Best Seine River Cruise for Families and Couples

July 19, 2020

by Rina Bernardo

Young woman enjoying beautiful landscape view on the Seine overlooking Eiffel Tower
Photo by Adobe Stock

The Seine River is without a doubt one of France’s national treasures. It spans over 777 kilometers and is the second-longest river in France after the Loire River. Attracting millions of tourists every year, you can walk along the riverbanks or enjoy a small picnic, or hop on a boat for a Seine River cruise. A cruise also allows you to explore Paris from a different perspective as you pass by iconic sights such as the Eiffel Tower, the Grand Palais and Petit Palais, and the Musée d’Orsay.

 

Its beauty has also served as an inspiration for many painters, including Claude Monet and Henri Matisse, and was featured in the popular novel, Les Miserables. Truly, the Seine River is a sight to behold, and seeing it should be one of the things to do in Paris for every traveler.

 

If you are planning to visit Paris, consider going on a Seine River Cruise. There are plenty of tour operators offering cruises at different times, along with added extras like meals and tickets. All you need to do is to arrive at your departure point, hop on, and sit back as you enjoy the view.

How to Choose the Best Seine River Cruise?

Open top boat cruising on the Seine River

Photo by J Shim on Unsplash

Choosing the best Seine River cruise can be a bit tricky since most tour companies offer similar itineraries. However, there are a number of factors that you should consider before purchasing a cruise ticket. Aside from the price, duration, and boat size, here are additional items you should take into consideration:

 

Departure Point

Consider getting a Seine River cruise that has an accessible departure point. If you’ll be going on a separate tour before your cruise, you may want to get a cruise whose departure point is near the last stop of your tour. That way, you don’t have to waste time getting from one place to another.

Languages Offered

Most European river cruises offer English commentaries on their tours, but there are some that offer commentaries in different languages. Check beforehand if they offer your preferred language to make sure that the language barrier won’t hinder your cruise.

Accessibility

This is mostly for those with reduced mobility, or for tourists in wheelchairs. The best Seine River cruise should overall be accessible. Some boats include wheelchair-accessible ramps, tables, and/or elevators while some provide tourists with their own wheelchairs.

Extras

Most tours include sightseeing with additional commentary, but there are others that offer extras such as meals. Brunch, lunch, and dinner cruises are popular especially for couples since they get to enjoy a delicious meal while overlooking the Seine River. They also offer a special “proposal cruise” for those who want to pop the big question on board the Seine. Other offers include Eiffel Tower tickets, Paris city tours, and cabaret tickets.

Our Recommendation: The Best Seine River Cruises

Vedettes du Pont Neuf Seine River cruise

Photo by skeeze on Pixabay

 

1. Bateaux Mouches Seine Cruise

The Bateaux Mouches cruise is one of the most popular river cruises, due to its distinct open-top boats and orange seats. As one of the oldest Seine river cruise providers, they take pride in their top-quality service and cuisine. Their sightseeing cruises last one hour and take you around most of Paris’ popular landmarks including the Louvre, the Conciergerie, and the Notre Dame. Walk-ins are allowed to board the cruise, but since this is popular among tourists, there are high chances that you’ll share the boat with hundreds of them.

 

Departure Point: Port de la Conférence
Languages Offered: Commentary is available in English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean
Accessibility: Priority access for the disabled available. No wheelchair-accessible toilets at the boat
Extras: You can have your photo taken on board. Special cruises are available for Valentine’s Day, Bastille Day, and other holidays

2. Bateaux de Paris Seine Cruise

For families and couples who prefer a smaller crowd, the Bateaux de Paris sightseeing cruise is the best Seine River cruise to book. Bateaux de Paris is a relatively new company in the market, but they are known for their private events and their smaller orange boats. Their 1 hour and 15-minute sightseeing cruise runs only from April to September and offers stopovers at the Eiffel Tower for those who want a convenient way to head to the world-famous monument.

 

Departure Point: Pont Saint-Michel (12 Quai des Orfèvres)
Languages Offered: No commentary offered on the sightseeing cruise. An audio guide can be purchased for 3 EUR
Accessibility: A wheelchair-accessible toilet is available onboard, but access to the boat is only through stairs
Extras: Snacks and drinks are available for purchase on board (own expense)

3. Batobus Seine River Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Cruise

Similar to hop-on hop-off bus tours, the Batobus sightseeing cruise allows you to board and alight from any of the designated stops. With 24-hour and 48-hour passes, you can easily weave between exploring Paris and enjoying a panoramic tour onboard a state-of-the-art boat. The Batobus hop-on-hop-off cruise has 9 strategic stops, including the Louvre, Notre Dame, and Place de la Concorde. While this is a convenient way of getting around Paris, this isn’t the most wheelchair-friendly since most stops can be accessed via stairs.

 

Departure Point: Stops include the Tour Eiffel, Musée d’Orsay, St-Germain-des-Prés, Notre-Dame, Jardin des Plantes, Hotel de Ville, Louvre, Place de la Concorde, and Invalides
Languages Offered: Commentary is not available
Accessibility: Access to the boat is possible with a wheelchair, but access to most stops is through stairs.
Extras: Batobus Pass+ tickets are available for those who want to combine an Open Top bus tour with the sightseeing cruise

4. Bateaux Parisiens Cruise

The Bateaux Parisiens Seine River Cruise offers two departure points near the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame. That way, you can start or continue your sightseeing after your cruise ends. Bateaux Parisiens also uses modern, open-top boats to guarantee the best views of Paris as you cruise along the Seine. Sightseeing cruises last for one hour and pass by the Musee d’Orsay, Institut de France, Pantheon, Cite de la Mode, and more. This sightseeing cruise is also one of the more popular choices, attracting millions of tourists every year.

 

Departure Point: Port de la Bourdonnais (near Eiffel Tower) and Quai de Montebello (near Notre Dame)
Languages Offered: For the cruise departing from the Eiffel Tower, commentaries in French, English (U.K.), English (U.S.), German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Polish, Dutch, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean are available. For the cruise departing from Notre Dame, French, English, Spanish, and German is offered. Additionally, audio headsets are available for free.
Accessibility: Wheelchair accessible toilets are available at Le Bistro Parisien
Extras: A family-oriented cruise including activities and music is available, but is only offered in French

5. Vedettes de Paris Seine Cruise

The Vedettes de Paris cruise is a one-hour sightseeing cruise that takes you around most of Paris’s important sites. Aside from its regular sightseeing cruises, Vedettes de Paris also offers thematic cruises that tackle economic development and art. Families with children can also join the Mysteries of Paris cruise, a special cruise that explains and educates everything one must know about the City of Love.

 

Departure Point: Port de Suffren
Languages Offered: Commentary is available in French, English, and Spanish), and descriptive pamphlets are available in Italian, German, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Arabic, and Turkish
Accessibility: Wheelchair accessible toilets are available onboard and in the boarding area. Passengers in wheelchairs can be accommodated if they can climb 3 steps before boarding the boat.
Extras: Snacks and drinks (including alcohol) can be purchased on board. Sightseeing cruises with drinks are also available.

Seine River Lunch and Dinner Cruise

Siene Sunset dinner cruise in Paris

Photo by Adobe Stock

 

Bateaux Parisiens Lunch and Dinner Cruise

Aside from its sightseeing tours, Bateaux Parisiens also offer lunch and dinner cruises. Made from fresh and seasonal produce, they serve mostly traditional French cuisine. Enjoy this gastronomic experience as you cruise along the Seine River in Paris on board your glass boat. As you enjoy your lunch or dinner, be serenaded by the live band. The lunch cruise starts at 12:45 while the dinner cruise starts at 18:15 and 20:30. Bateaux Parisiens lunch and dinner cruise also offer special menus for events like Valentine’s Day, Bastille Day, Christmas, and New Year.

 

Departure Point: Port de la Bourdonnais
Languages Offered: Commentary is not available
Accessibility: Wheelchair accessible toilets are available.
Extras: Vegetarian options and menus for special dietary needs are available as long as they are informed upon booking

Bateaux Mouches Lunch and Dinner Cruise

Get the best view of Paris as you enjoy a Bateaux Mouches Lunch and Dinner Cruise. Their a la carte menu includes starters, main courses, cheeses and desserts, and an impressive selection of wines and cheeses. Bateaux Mouches is also one of the few companies that offer a brunch cruise every Sunday, the perfect start to a day of sightseeing. Their extensive menu also caters to tourists with specific dietary needs and those with allergies.

 

Departure Point: Port de la Conférence
Languages Offered: Commentary is not available, although guests are provided with route maps
Accessibility: Priority access for the disabled available. No wheelchair-accessible toilets at the boat
Extras: Special menus for Valentine’s Day, Christmas, New Year, and Mother’s Day is available

FAQ

1. Where to Buy Seine Cruise River Tickets?

Seine River cruise tickets can be bought online and on the spot at ticket offices. Most companies offer online bookings for convenience so all you need to do is to show up with your online ticket or confirmation email. Booking on the spot is also okay, but take note that you might not get your desired cruise time depending on the number of tourists. It is also highly recommended to purchase tickets online for a lunch or dinner cruise since you might want to have the menu adjusted if you have special dietary concerns or allergies.

2. What time is the best for Seine River Cruise?

Taking a Seine River Cruise in the morning is ideally good because you get to see the intricate details of the bridges and buildings you’ll be passing by. However, one must also see Paris at night on a river cruise. Seeing the buildings illuminated by twinkling lights as you cruise past the bridges and arches.

June and August are normally the most popular months for a cruise along the Seine River because of the weather. The Christmas and New Year season also attracts more tourists since you can experience how the French celebrate their holidays. If you are planning the perfect Eurotrip, you can also consider spending the yuletide season in France and enjoy a Seine River cruise.

3. How Long is the Seine River Cruise?

Most of the sightseeing cruises take about an hour or an hour and thirty minutes. Other cruise providers have 2.5 hour-long cruises for those who want to see more of Paris’ sights and landmarks. Lunch and dinner cruises are also generally one hour or two hours.

4. How Much Does a Seine River Cruise Cost?

Seine River cruise tickets are priced depending on the inclusions. Regular sightseeing cruises start at 10 EUR. Lunch cruises start at 79 EUR and dinner cruises at 99 EUR. Additionally, Seine River cruise tickets are more expensive during special holidays, especially during Christmas and New Year. These special cruises include lunch or dinner, drinks, and some New Year’s cruises may include a stunning fireworks show.

5. Where do Seine River Cruises Depart From?

Departure points for Seine River cruises depend entirely on the activity provider. For example, Bateaux Parisiens depart from Port de la Bourdonnais near the Eiffel Tower while the Vedettes de Paris cruise departs from Port de Suffren. While there are different departure locations, they are all easily accessible and are near important landmarks.

6. What to Expect on a Seine River Cruise?

Some of the landmarks that can be seen along the Seine River in Paris include:

  • Eiffel Tower
  • Île de la Cité
  • Île Saint-Louis
  • Musée d’Orsay
  • Louvre Museum
  • Grand Palais
  • Petit Palais

 

Sail Away on a Scenic Cruise

With a multitude of choices, there’s a perfect Seine River tour for every family, tourist, and couple. Enjoying a Seine River cruise lets you see the iconic City of Light from a different perspective. You can enjoy your cruise while having a tasty brunch, or at night as you feast on a full-course dinner while admiring the view of Paris as it is illuminated by dazzling lights.