Top 5 Parisian Boat Tours
Just like in Venice, boat tours are a rite of passage when you are visiting Paris. Picture yourself streaming down the Seine on a beautiful péniche, one evening and being able to catch a glimpse of Paris’ most famous neighborhoods such as le Marais, Saint-Michel or the Champ de Mars with your friends or your special someone. Believe me, it does not get any better than this.
There are endless possibilities when it comes to boat tours in Paris. The key for this article was trying to make sure that each of the selected tours was different from the other, unique.
Photo by Joe deSousa, sourced from Unsplash
The perfect tour, for me, should have comments and some insights about the place you are visiting. I think it is important to watch and learn at the same time. Which is why most of the tours I picked for this article offer that option.
If you are a native Parisian like me (not bragging at all) or if you have lived here for a long time, you have probably heard of them. Bateaux Mouches offer various tour possibilities. You can just take a basic tour along the Seine with a guide or it can be a more complete tour where you can have breakfast, lunch or dinner with music playing in the background while observing the city at the same time. It is probably the nicest option if you came with your special someone.
Dinner on one of the Bateaux Mouches tours, sourced from their website
The boat itself is quite large and can hold about a thousand passengers. The upper dock has multiple seating rows where you will be able to enjoy the basic tour and the lower dock is the restaurant.
The basic tour lasts over an hour and costs 14 euros for adults and 6 euros for children. If you would like to do the tour and have a meal on board, you will have to pay at least 60 euros per person. Yes, French cuisine is even more expensive when you are on a boat. Boarding is at Port de la Conférence, near Pont de l’Alma.
Let’s be honest, the subway in Paris is not exactly pleasant. The metro tunnels are old and smelly and the rides are always too crowded. Taking the bus would be a nice option if it were not for the never-ending traffic in this city. So what if you could take a boat instead?
Photo by Riley Bathauer, sourced from Unsplash
Similar to Venice’s Vaporetto, the Batobus is the perfect way to get to Paris’s top spots, without having to take public transportation. Batobuses have nine stops, which include the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and many more. You just need to buy a pass and you will be able to hop on and off the boat at any of these nine stops. There are no guides on the boat since it is not an actual guided tour but you can still ask the employees questions about the city or the trajectory if you feel like it, they will be more willing to help.
The tickets can be bought online or at different ticket shops in the city. A single day pass will cost you 17 euros, a two-day pass will cost you 19 euros and a yearly pass will cost you 60 euros. Of course, there are special rates for children and students; you can have a look at them on the website.
If you are planning a family trip and you have small children, Croisière Enchantée is probably the perfect boat tour for them.
Sourced from Croisière Enchantée website
Finding ways to entertain your children in a foreign city can be tough especially because there is nothing fun about walking and visiting museums and monuments all day. I personally have never really been interested in museums, but if your children are anything like me they are sure to love more interactive activities – this one might just be the cherry on top.
Croisière Enchantée offers an amusing tour along the Seine meant exclusively for children. On board, they will be able to watch two comedians tell stories about Paris with songs and some games will also be involved. The only downside is that the show is in French only.
I still believe it could be an exciting experience for your children, especially if they are already learning French. A single ticket will amount to 15 euros, whether it is for you or your kids. Boarding is at Port de la Bourdonnais in the seventh arrondissement of Paris.
Funnily enough, the Seine is not the only waterway in Paris. I remember back when I was a little girl, my mom would sometimes take me and my siblings to the Parc de la Villette where the Canal de l’Ourcq runs or to this small playground right next to the Canal Saint-Martin and we would be able to see those huge cruise ships float down the canal. They had “Canauxrama” in big letters written on them. I used to dream of going on them.
Canauxrama’s Canal Saint-Martin boat tour begins at Port de Plaisance de Paris Arsenal, which is at Bastille and ends at the Bassin de la Villette. It lasts two and a half hour and costs 18 euros per person. It offers comments in both French and English.
Boat tour, sourced from their website
If you are looking to get out of the city for a few hours, Canauxrama offers three tours that will take you to some beautiful parks and forests outside of Paris, where you will be able to take walks and have picnics before going back. Each one of these tours has a different boarding place so you will have to check the website beforehand. They will cost you at least 38 euros per person. It is not that expensive compared to tours that include a simple restaurant meal and I personally think that it could be a very relaxing experience, whether you are with friends, family or your special someone.
MARIN D’EAU DOUCE
If you do not feel like following a group of tourists and a guide around all day or standing oddly by while the captain of the boat quickly passes through all of these beautiful spots from which you wish you could get a little closer, Marin d’Eau Douce is the perfect option because you’ll get to drive your own boat. It can be another nice way to impress your kids if you are on a family trip or to show off in front of your friends or your special someone. You could even pretend it is your boat. I might be tempted to try that, now…
Boat hire from Marin d’Eau Douce, photo sourced from their website
If you are vacationing in Paris, Strasbourg, Lille or Meaux then you are in luck. Marin d’Eau Douce is a company that allows you to rent small electric boats for a few hours or an entire day. There are different sizes of boats, one that can hold up to five people, and another that can hold up to seven people and another one that can hold up to eleven people. You do not need a license to steer the boat, you just have to be over 18.
They all have an electric motor. After renting them, you will undergo a safety briefing at the base and then will be able to start your little journey.
Boarding in Paris is at the Bassin de la Villette.
Rates depend on the size of the boat. The bigger it is the more expensive it gets. Three hours in a small boat will cost you 90 euros, half a day in a medium sized boat will cost you 140 euros and an entire day with the biggest boat will cost you 300 euros.
If you get seasick, remember that we offer free walking tours in Paris, I promise there will not be any cruising involved.
So there we are. I think I have given you all the information you needed. Have a safe boat tour and make sure you do not forget your life jacket, it might come in handy! Alright, it was just a joke, I am sure everything will be fine. Ahoy, Mateys! Or as we say in French “ohé, ohé, matelots”!