All photos from deck of Seine river cruise
Although a very touristy thing to do, a Seine river cruise is a great way to experience Paris from a very unique perspective. For about one hour, a motorized boat glides you down and around a small but historically significant part of the River Seine.
As you float along, you will pass an array of important buildings, monuments and bridges that profoundly contribute to the history of Paris. Included are the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, the Concierge, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Eiffel Tower. An audio will point out and provide context to noteworthy sites.
Cruises typically depart every hour from the banks of the Seine. I think the best cruise time, at least in the summer, is 9pm. You get the best of both worlds - 1) Paris at dusk or the “golden hour” as it is called by photographers. Weather permitting, you will have a beautiful sun set as your backdrop to the City of Lights. 2) Paris at night in all its illuminated glory. It is really quite a beautiful site. And by the time of your disembarkment, the Eiffel Tower will be twinkling big time. Yes, this is also very touristy but it is actually quite thrilling to see.
One thing I really honed in on during my last cruise was how much Parisians actually use the river Seine. We saw ritzy private parties with music float past our boat, restaurants in docked barges, groups of people dancing salsa and young lovers cuddling. It was “real Paris” unfolding before us on the banks.
A Seine river cruise is pretty affordable. I paid (July 2021) 17 euro or about $20.00. Sometimes you can get a cheaper rate if you pre-order online. Finally, a popular way to guarantee a reduced cruise rate is to purchase the ticket in conjunction with a Hop-On, Hop-Off tour bus tour.
My Seine river cruise liner was called Bateaux Parisians. Docking area and ticket box can be found in front of the Eiffel Tower, facing Trocadero. Simply go down the stairs, pass the souvenir sellers, you can’t miss the line. Enjoy! Bon voyage!