Few cities are as created by, tied to, and defined by their rivers as Paris is by the Seine. After all, it's the reason Paris exists in the first place. The river also provides a unique vantage point for visitors. From a bateau mouche cruising along the Seine you get a real sense of how the historical heart of Paris is strung out along the banks of this river. So many of the city landmarks can be seen from the boat — the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Islands of Paris, the Louvre, and much more.
A river cruise is one of our top recommendations for those who want to see the city in a different way. Personally, we are fond of sipping champagne while cruising along the river of the City of Light. (No surprise there!) Find romance, dine in style, or combine your cruise with other activities for a complete evening out in Paris.
It's hard to top a nighttime cruise along the most romantic river on Earth while savoring a classic multi-course French dinner. You see so many of the iconic sights of Paris while you share a meal with your special someone. Our top dinner cruise recommendation, and readers' favorite is an unforgettable dinner cruise along the Seine that includes VIP seating and a special multi-courses meal.
This activity is not only our personal favorite Seine River cruise, it's one of our top recommended things to do in Paris. And why not? It's hard to beat this VIP experience that shows you all the top Paris attractions from a river boat, while you're seated in an exclusive VIP section in the front of the boat (and on the exclusive private deck) and while a sommelier pours you three flights of bubbly. Read our review to discover more about why we loved it.
As lovely as Paris is during the day, by night it assumes even more of a magical quality. (After all, it's called the City of Light for a reason.) Nowhere is this more apparent than from a bateau mouche slowly making its way up and down the Seine. And, of course, if you're out at night in Paris you're going to want to have dinner. That's why many of our recommended nighttime cruise activities include a 3-course French dinner — on the boat, on land, or even on the Eiffel Tower.
If you know us, it won't be a surprise to hear that we like to be treated special, particularly when relaxing in the city we love the most. (You do too, don't you?) So we've included a curated selection of Seine River cruise VIP events that involve special treatment or exclusive activities, such as dinner on a private yacht, a VIP dinner cruise with a private city illuminations tour, and a 2-day stay on a luxury yacht.
The complete Paris nighttime experience — that's what these river cruise activities offer you. Combine a cruise with dinner plus a Paris cabaret at the most famous night-club in the world.
Or, imagine dining on the Eiffel Tower at Alain Ducasse's Eiffel 58, followed by a leisurely night cruise down the river, then being whisked over the foot of Montmartre to the famous Moulin Rogue for the show and champagne. Those are just a couple of options, read our reviews to find out more.
For families and groups of travelers and for those who want to see as much of the city as possible in daylight, a daytime cruise is a perfect fit. Sightseeing cruises are fun, and we often like to expand our day cruises to make them even more memorable. So we also recommend a Seine River cruise with lunch, or signing up for the combined Seine River and Paris canals tour (we love that one), or, of course, cruising the Seine while sipping champagne.
The Rive Gauche and Rive Droite (Right and Left Banks of the Seine) are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
• At a whopping 482 miles (776 km) long the Seine River is more than double the length of its arch rival, London's River Thames which measure out a mere 215 miles.
• Stone tools have been recovered the Seine Basin that date from 500,000 to 200,000 BCE. The Seine has been a vital commercial waterway since Roman times and, even before them, the Gauls.
• The Seine cuts through the center of Paris, dividing the Left Bank from the Right Bank. Half of the city's 20 arrondissements border the river.
• The Left Bank is on your left as you cruise westward down the river, towards the Atlantic. The Right Bank in on your right.
• The Seine flows into the Atlantic at the ports of Le Havre (right bank) and Honfleur (left bank).
• There are 37 bridges that cross the river within the city of Paris. The most famous are Pont des Arts, Pont Royal, Pont Alexandre III and Pont Neuf (the oldest bridge, completed in 1607).
• The Seine frequently floods. In 1910 there was extensive flooding in Paris. In 2003 over 100,000 art works were moved out of the city when a flood warning was issued.
In 1431, Joan of Arc's ashes were scattered into the Seine from the medieval Mathilde Bridge in Rouen.
• Since 2002, the annual Paris Plage transforms the paved banks of the river into a beach with sand, umbrellas & entertainment for 3 weeks in August.
• During the 1867 Paris International Expo the first steamboats, called Bateaux Mouches, were introduced and became an instant hit! Today they are the most popular boats on the river. (But, no longer steam-powered!)
• The World Rowing Championships were held on the Seine in that same year (1867). The winners were the underdogs, a Canadian team from New Brunswick. O, Canada!
• In 1881 the Statue of Liberty was barged down the Seine in sections en route to an ocean steamer, headed to New York City.
• Starting in 1802 floating swimming pools were a feature on the Seine and were, in fact, used in the 1924 Olympics.
• During World War I river steamers were used as hospital ships and wounded soldiers could be seen as they were transported to Le Havre.
• In 1944 the Seine was a target in Operation Overlord, AKA the D-Day landings. One of the Allies' goals was to reach the Seine within 90 days — they met that goal.
Seine River Cruises
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