Feel like having a cruise on the Seine? Many companies offer discovery tours to visit the capital and its landmarks. Choosing one may be hard; this is why I gathered the best discovery cruises and compared the services on board to help you choose. Prepare to board! 🚢🚢
In a Nutshell
- The most reliable: Bateaux-mouches
One of the oldest cruise companies. It has proven its worth and conquered the hearts of many tourists. By the way, it is the cheapest company, as well as the one that has the most departures.
- The best located: Bateaux parisiens
To be fair, all cruises have the same itinerary but some have a more interesting departure gate than the others, which is the case for the Bateaux parisiens company. The departure gate is next to the Eiffel tower.
- The most unusual: Batobus
Batobus has an atypical concept: being a “river” bus. Just like in a regular bus, you can hop on and off at the stop you want to, allowing you to travel in the capital with a pleasant view. Be careful however, it is not a guided tour but just a means of transport to visit Paris.
- The smaller groups: Vedettes de Paris
This company has the smallest boats with the least people on them. You will enjoy a cruise in a small group. A real person will guide you through your visit, not an audio guide.
- My favorite: Vedettes du Pont-Neuf
The company is committed to changing its boats, one by one, for more eco-friendly ones.
The best discovery cruises on the Seine
These cruises do not include any lunch or dinner. If you want to eat on a boat, you should read this article where we compare in detail many lunch and dinner cruises.
It is impossible to talk about discovery cruises without mentioning the Bateaux-mouches. Since 1949, its aim has been to “bring you around Paris by taking its most beautiful avenue: the Seine” (Jean Bruel, its founder).
Bateaux-mouches has six boats for its discovery cruises each of which has a capacity of 1,000 passengers.
Their cutting-edge technology boats allow you for a 360 degrees view.
Departure times: During the low season (from October to March), there is a departure roughly every 40 minutes from 11 a.m to 9:20 p.m every day of the week. During the high season (from April to September), there is a departure roughly every 30 minutes from 10 a.m to 10:30 p.m every day.
Duration: 1 hour 10 minutes for a 15-kilometer cruise of about
Prices: €14 for adults (13 years old and over) and €6 for children (4 years old and over). Free for children under 4.
Snacks on board: no snacks
Departure gate: Pont de l’Alma, a less than 15-minute walk away from the Champs-Elysees
Subway and RER: a 2-minute walk away from Alma-Marceau station (M9), a 12-minute walk away from Franklin-D. Roosevelt (M1) and a 2-minute walk away from RER C Pont de l’Alma
Commentary: French, English, Spanish. Brochures are available in 27 different languages.
Bateaux Parisiens offers you the occasion to discover the most famous landmarks of Paris, in modern fully glazed boats with an exceptional view on the upper decks.
There are toilets for your convenience and free wifi access.
People with reduced mobility are welcome on board.
Toilets for disabled people are available on the dock, in the company’s bar-restaurant, on pontoon number 2.
Departure times: One departure every hour every day, between 12 a.m and 10 p.m
Duration: one hour
Prices: €15 per adult, €7 per child (from 4 to 11) and free for children under 4 and babies.
Snacks on board: no snacks but the company has a bar-restaurant on the docks
Departure gate: Eiffel Tower
Subway and RER: a 10-minute walk from Bir-Hakeim (M6), an 8-minute walk from Trocadéro (M9) and an 8-minute walk from RER C Champ de Mars – Tour Eiffel
Commentary: 14 languages on the individual audio guides (included in the price) and a special version for children on the audio guide (in French only) are available. A real travel guide only available in the lower part of the boat is also present.
Vedettes du Pont-Neuf
In 1959, a boat dealer decided to start a cruise business in Paris.
That is when Vedettes du Pont-Neuf was born. It was a major success.
The boats have a capacity of about 300 passengers and an upper deck.
There is a heating system inside to suit every season.
The night cruise (departure at 9:15 p.m) shows you the shining Eiffel tower. You must not miss that.
Aware of the environmental issues, the company is gradually replacing its boats with electric and hybrid boats that will not pollute the Seine with non-recyclable waste.
Departure times: A departure at 11 a.m, 3 p.m, 4:15 p.m, 6:45 p.m, 9:15 p.m. In the summertime, there are departures from 10:30 a.m to 10:30 p.m.
Duration: one hour
Prices: €14 per adult, €7 per child (from 4 to 12) and free for children under 4 and babies.
Snacks on board: crepe or cookie + beverage (€5), sandwich (€7), glass of champagne (€8)
Departure gate: Pont-Neuf, right in the historic centre of Paris, on the Île de la Cité
Subway and RER: a 2-minute walk from Pont-Neuf (M7), a 7-minute walk from Louvre (M1), a 12-minute walk from Cité (M4), an 8-minute walk from RER Châtelet and a 6-minute walk from RER B St-Michel
Commentary: French. With its free mobile app “Vedettes du Pont-Neuf”, you will have access to live commentaries in other languages. You can also print commentaries and itineraries from their website in other languages (English, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, Dutch, Swedish and Danish).
As its name suggests, the concept of the company is to offer a river bus network.
There are nine stops where you can hop on and off the boat to discover the capital at your own pace.
You pay a 24-hour pass to hop on and off as much as you want during that time.
You can also get a 48-hour pass if you need more time to visit. If you book online, you will have to print your ticket if you want to embark.
Departure times: From Wednesday to Sunday, a departure every 15 minutes from 11:40 a.m to 6:30 p.m (the last departure is at the Tour Eiffel departure gate).
Prices: €17 for a 24-hour pass per adult and €8 per child (between 3 and 15 years old). €19 for a 48-hour pass per adult and €10 per child. Free for children under 3 and babies.
Snacks on board: no snacks
Departure gate: At any of the nine stops
- Tour Eiffel
- Les Invalides
- Musée d’Orsay
- Cathédrale Notre-Dame
- Jardin des Plantes
- Hôtel de Ville
Subway and RER:
- For the Tour Eiffel departure gate: a 10-minute walk from Bir-Hakeim (M6), an 8-minute walk from Trocadéro (M9), an 8-minute walk from RER Champ de Mars – Tour Eiffel
- For the Les Invalides departure gate: a one-minute walk from Invalides (M3), a 6-minute walk from Alma-Marceau and Iéna (M9) and a 5-minute walk from RER C Pont de l’Alma
- For the Musée d’Orsay departure gate: a 6-minute walk from Assemblée Nationale (M12) and a 4 minute-walk from RER C Musée d’Orsay
- For the Saint-Germain-des-Prés departure gate: a 4-minute walk from Saint Germain des Prés (M4)
- For the Cathédrale Notre-Dame departure gate: a 5-minute walk from Saint-Michel (M4), a 3-minute walk from Maubert – Mutualité (M10) and a 5-minute walk from RER B Saint-Michel—Notre Dame
- For the Jardin des Plantes departure gate: a 5-minute walk from Jussieu (M7), a 2-minute walk from Jussieu and Gare d’Austerlitz (M10), a 2-minute walk from RER C Gare d’Austerlitz
- For the Hôtel de Ville departure gate: a 6 minute-walk from Hôtel de ville (M1 and M11)
- For the Louvre departure gate: a 13-minute walk from Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre (M1 or M7)
- For the Champs-Elysées departure gate: a 7-minute walk from Concorde (M1) and a 5-minute walk from Champs-Elysées – Clémenceau
Les Vedettes de Paris
The Vedettes de Paris boats are the smallest cruising boats on the Seine, which is perfect for those who are looking for smaller groups.
A real travel guide will explain the history of Paris landmarks, its secrets and multiple anecdotes about the capital.
It is possible to hop off after 30 minutes to visit the nearby neighborhoods and to hop on again without paying anything extra.
Departure times: One departure every 30 minutes from 11 a.m to 7 p.m.
Duration: one hour
Prices: €18 per adult, €9 per child (from 4 to 11). Free for children under 4 and for babies.
Snacks on board: €8 for a glass of champagne, €5 for a crepe or cookie, €7 for a sandwich + a cookie + a drink
Departure gate: Next to the Eiffel tower
Subway / RER: a 10-minute walk from Bir-Hakeim (M6), an 8-minute walk from Trocadéro (M9) and an 8-minute walk from RER C Champ de Mars – Tour Eiffel
Commentary: French and English. For other languages, please download the free mobile app “Vedettes de Paris”.
Comparison table of the discovery cruises on the Seine
||French, English, Spanish. Brochures in 27 languages.||
||14 languages (individual audio guide) + a special version for children (in French only)||
|Vedettes du Pont-Neuf||
||French. On the mobile app, commentaries and itineraries are available in 12 languages.||
||/||Pass 24h :
|Vedettes de Paris||
||French and English. Other languages are on the mobile app.||
Do I have to make a booking for the cruise in advance?
No, it is not compulsory but it is better to do it to be sure to have a seat. You can buy your tickets at the ticket office up to 15 to 20 minutes before boarding.
When do I receive confirmation of my cruise booking?
Are there any stops during the cruises?
No, there are no stops, except for the Batobus company.
Is luggage allowed on board?
Bulky luggage (other than handbags, backpacks and computer bags) is not accepted for the safety of all. Please feel free to leave them in public or private luggage lockers.
Are pets allowed onboard?
No, animals are not accepted, except for guide dogs. However, Batobus does accept dogs as long as they are kept on a leash with a muzzle or in a bag for small dogs.
Are there toilets onboard?
No, except for Bateaux Parisiens (toilets on board and toilets for the disabled on the dock).
Are cruises canceled if it rains or snows?
Snow and rain do not disrupt traffic. However, if the water level is too low or too high, the Batobus boats will not set. But this is extremely rare.
Is it possible to eat onboard?
No, not on the discovery cruises. There are special lunch and dinner cruises but a reservation is required. However, Vedettes de Paris and Vedettes du Pont-Neuf sell snacks on board if you are a bit hungry.
Are there any cruises on Sundays and bank holidays?
All companies have cruises on Sundays and bank holidays, except for government restrictions. However, Bateaux Parisiens company has no cruises after 5 p.m on the second Monday of January.
Do you recommend a day or night cruise?
We recommend the late day cruises, which are unforgettable with the city lights and the setting sun. And if you are lucky, you will see the Eiffel Tower sparkle (every hour for 10 minutes when it’s dark).
Can I cancel a cruise and get a refund?
You can get a refund if you cancel 72 hours in advance.
Can I change the date of a booking?
Yes, it is possible. You must make the request 72 hours (or at the latest 24 hours) before boarding. The new date must not exceed 6 months after the initial date and will be assigned according to the availability of the companies.
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