Discover the capital by water

With a few "ifs", we could put Paris in a bottle and cruise down the Seine! On a fun boat cruise - or on a bike ride or a walk - you can (re)discover Paris and its finest monuments from the Seine. The capital's legendary river is an open stage for the precious jewels the city has to offer visitors and residents alike. From the Eiffel Tower to Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral, via the Pont Neuf and the Invalides, a cruise on the Seine is an opportunity to enjoy an unparalleled view of the City of Light's must-see monuments. Those who want to learn more about the monuments can take a guided cruise, while others opt for a romantic dinner cruise or a private boat. Whatever you choose, you're sure to have a fabulous time.

Vue aérienne de la Tour Eiffel et de la Seine.

- © Azlan Stock / Shutterstock
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What can you see on a cruise on the Seine?

A cruise on the Seine usually begins in the vicinity of the Eiffel Tower, the face of the capital and a must-see for any self-respecting tourist. Visible in the distance, the Iron Lady has a reputation that would make the likes of Margaret Thatcher green with envy. The best spot to see this cult monument is between the Bir-Hakeim and Alma bridges. Opposite, the Trocadero with its square and gardens is a must-see from the river, near the Pont d'Iéna. Don't forget to look back to see the Bir Hakeim bridge on which Leonardo DiCaprio and Marion Cotillard shared a few lines in the film Inception.

A barge on the Seine in front of the Eiffel Tower.

- © Catarina Belova / Shutterstock

Between the Debilly footbridge and the Pont de l'Alma, keep your eyes peeled for the Palais de Tokyo, a marble-covered museum dedicated to modern and contemporary art. On our left, before we pass this Zouave on the Pont de l'Alma, emerges a gigantic (fake) flame: the Flame of Liberty, a life-size reproduction of the torch on the Statue of Liberty in New York.

Between the Léopold Sédar Senghor footbridge and the Pont Royal, the Musée d'Orsay does not go unnoticed. This former railway station now houses one of Europe's largest museums, a must-see for lovers of Impressionist art. A little further on, after the Pont des Invalides, the sumptuous dome of the Grand Palais rises into the sky. This monument to the fine arts houses the largest glass roof in Europe.

The Musée d'Orsay seen from the Seine.

- © Kiev.Victor / Shutterstock

We then pass under an arched bridge that is probably one of the most beautiful in the capital: the Pont Alexandre III. From the Seine, you have a privileged view of its gilded statues, stylised lampposts and other ornaments. On the right, the dome of the Hôtel des Invalides is resplendent!

The cruise continues towards the Place de la Concorde, accessible from the bridge of the same name. Next to the fountains and before the Ferris Wheel, the iconic Luxor obelisk is easy to spot from the river. It marks the start of the Tuileries Gardens, the largest and oldest French garden in Paris. It extends as far as the Palais du Louvre, between the Pont du Carrousel and the famous Pont des Arts, on which the lovers' padlocks have unfortunately been removed.

The Alexandre III bridge with the Invalides dome in the background.

- © Susanne Pommer / Shutterstock

As we continue to sail, the Seine literally splits in two before our eyes and the outline of the Ile de la Cité appears before us. The boat passes under the Pont Neuf, which despite its name is in fact the oldest bridge in Paris. Between the Pont Saint-Michel and the little Pont Cardinal Lustiger, tourists scratch their heads at the walls of this building next to the Palais de Justice and the Hôtel de Dieu: the Préfecture de Police, just a few metres from a certain 36 Quai des Orfèvres. The façade of Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral is revealed and its forecourt is besieged by visitors eager to get inside or to reach the top of the capital's most visited monument.

Notre-Dame Cathedral, Paris, seen from the Seine.

- © Marco Saracco / Shutterstock

From the back, the building is all the more deserving of a photo - you'd even think it was another monument, as the back is so different from the front. Once over the Pont de l'Archevêché, the ideal spot for this postcard shot will be near the Quais de la Tournelle, just before the bridge of the same name. Just beyond the Île de la Cité and its famous cathedral lies a second, much smaller natural island: the Île Saint-Louis. The artists Camille Claudel and Paul Cézanne lived on this peaceful and pleasant island in the centre of the capital.

L’île Saint-Louis avec Notre-Dame de Paris en arrière-plan.

- © Jose Luis Stephens / Shutterstock

It's finally time for the boat to turn around and head back to its starting point. Crossing to the other side of the Ile de la Cité, at the Pont d'Arcole, the view of the Hôtel de Ville and its splendid facade is breathtaking. Built in 1357, the building was rebuilt in 1874 after the terrible fire of 1871.

Spend a night on the Seine!

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Practical information for your cruise on the Seine

Some of the capital's most beautiful monuments are located on the banks of the Seine, and can be seen in a whole new light from the river. That's why it would be a shame not to treat yourself to a cruise on the Seine during your next stay in Paris.

👉 Which cruise to choose?

There are a thousand and one cruises on the Seine! From simple walks with commentary in 36 languages to gourmet dinner cruises and private boats, you're bound to find something to suit you! You can even be tempted by more unusual offers such as a night on a yacht, a floating show or a themed cruise for 14 July or New Year's Eve.

The best-known companies are Bateaux-Mouches, Bateaux Parisiens, Vedettes de Paris and Vedettes du Pont-Neuf, but there are many others just as good. Embarkation points vary from company to company, so you may want to include them in your selection criteria. Last but not least, Paris changes its face as the day goes by: in the early hours, at sunset or at night - choose your cruise time carefully!

⏰ Schedules for cruises on the Seine

Timetables for cruises on the Seine obviously depend on the companies and types of cruise. For classic cruises, i.e. one-hour guided tours, expect to see a departure every 30 minutes from 10am to 10pm. However, check with the company you have chosen.

👛 Prices for cruises on the Seine

Prices also vary according to the type of cruise and the company:

  • One-hour guided cruise: from €12 (free with the Go City All-Inclusive Pass and the Paris Passlib')
  • Aperitif cruise: from €19 (free with the Go City Explorer Pass and the Paris Passlib')
  • Lunch cruise: from €54
  • Dinner cruise: from €55
  • Etc...

Don't hesitate to take a look at activity comparators such as GetYourGuide, Viator or Civitatis to find the cruise of your dreams at the best price!

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📍 Where to take the boat?

  • The Bateaux-Mouches leave next to the Pont de l'Alma, at the Port de la Conférence.
  • The Bateaux Parisiens leave not far from the Eiffel Tower, at the Port de la Bourdonnais.
  • The Vedettes de Paris board at the Port de Suffren.
  • Finally, the Vedettes du Pont Neuf await you next to the Pont Neuf, at 1 square du Vert Galant.

If you choose a cruise with another company, find out beforehand where you can board!

A few tips for your visit

  • Weather permitting, sit outside to make the most of the view of Paris.
  • If the commentary is broadcast over loudspeakers, try to find a seat close by so that you can hear it clearly.
  • Most cruises on the Seine are accessible to PRMs, but check with the company you choose.
by Editorial Team
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Further reading
At the summit of the Iron Lady...
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At the summit of the Iron Lady...
It alone symbolises Paris and France abroad and, along with the Statue of Liberty, is one of the best-known monuments in the world. It is, of course, the Eiffel Tower. This great iron...
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Notre-Dame de Paris, the most visited monument in the world!
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