Seine river cruises in Paris – tickets, prices, timings, duration, route

Seine river cruise in Paris

A Seine river cruise is one of the best ways to see Paris. 

These river cruises are popular because they help you catch the highlights of the city in a short time. 

The boats float along the Seine River as you marvel at the beauty of Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Musée d’Orsay, Notre Dame, etc. passing by. 

With so many companies offering Seine River Cruises, it is impossible to decide on one without an expert’s help. 

In this article, that’s what we will try to do – help you decide on a Seine River Cruise in Paris.

1. Best Seine River Cruise
2. Best Cruise Companies in Paris
3. Seine River Cruise tickets
4. Combo tours with cruise
5. Seine Cruise FAQs

Summary of best cruises

Best Sightseeing CruiseBook Now
Best Lunch CruiseBook Now
Best Dinner CruiseBook Now
Best Champagne CruiseBook Now
Best Cruise for FamiliesBook Now
Eiffel Tower + Seine CruiseBook Now
Crazy Horse + Seine CruiseBook Now
Dinner Cruise + Eiffel + Moulin RougeBook Now
River Cruise + The LouvreBook Now

Selecting the Seine River Cruise

There are more than ten companies that offer numerous kinds of river cruises in Paris. 

Besides, there are different flavors of cruises – some plain sightseeing, and some are lunch cruises and some dinner cruises. 

And then there are select themed cruises that get launched for days such as Christmas, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s day, Bastille day, etc. 

That’s why choosing the right Seine River Cruise is no easy task. 

What’s the best Seine cruise for someone may not be the best for you. 

Continue reading to know what all you must consider before booking your Seine River Cruise.


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Factors affecting river cruise experience

Nine factors influence your cruising experience on Seine River.

Before booking your Seine river cruise tickets, please read and understand them –

1. Location of the port of departure

Since the Seine boat tour is short, a convenient departure location helps you club one or more Paris attractions. 

If your river cruise sets sail from Eiffel Tower or Notre Dame, you can then club them together and make it a 3-4 hour activity. 

2. Price of Seine cruise tickets 

Almost every Seine River Cruise in Paris allows kids under four years of age for free. 

Adult tickets range from 14 to 20 Euros while the kids aged 4 to 12 get approximately 50% discount on the adult tickets and thus end up paying 7 to 10 Euros. 

The price difference isn’t much between the numerous cruises, but if you are on a budget or if you are a large group, it does make an impact.  

3. Type of narration and languages

What is the point of being on a Seine River Cruise and not knowing what you are seeing?

That’s why narration is essential during your river cruise in Paris. 

Live guide

Some Seine boat tours have live guides who narrate stories and anecdotes about the buildings and places you will get to see.

Most times, they also take questions from the cruisers.

Usually, the Live Guides speak both English and French. 

Pre-recorded narration

Pre-recorded narration is also quite popular among Seine River Cruises. 

Such narrations are available in many languages (sometimes even up to 20 languages). 

Some boat tours even give printed handouts in multiple languages. 

Some cruise companies provide their own audio devices, for you to listen to this pre-recorded guided tour.

In recent times, some of the cruises have started asking the visitors to download their free audioguide app on their smartphones. 

The only problem with a smartphone audio guide is that you need headphones (or earphones) to listen.

4. Type and size of boats

There are two types of boats – the pleasure boats and the restaurant boats. 

As you may have guessed by now, if you are planning a pure sightseeing cruise, you will be boarding a pleasure boat. 

Pleasure Cruise Boats on River Seine
Some of the Pleasure boats on River Seine are covered while some are not. Image: Tripsavvy.com

If you book a lunch or a dinner cruise, you will be boarding a restaurant boat. 

Dinner Cruise Boats on River Seine
Restaurant boats are always covered and completely air-conditioned. They also offer 360 degree views. Image: Parisinsidersguide.com

As for the size of the boat, they come in varying sizes. 

The most popular Seine River Cruise company has massive boats, but that also means a lot of people. 

Therefore, we recommend medium-sized boats for your river cruise in Paris. 

5. The route the cruise will take

Seine River Cruise Route
Download Print Version / Map: Lonelyplanet.com

Since the Seine river runs through the city of Paris and all the major attractions are lined up next to it, there is no difference in the routes the different companies follow. 

Some of the major landmarks you will see when on your Seine River cruise are:

1. The Eiffel Tower
2. Musée du Louvre
3. Musée d’Orsay
4. Notre Dame Cathedral
5. Pont Neuf, the oldest bridge in Paris
6. Île de la Cité and Île Saint-Louis (the two islands)

The routes change if you end up booking a Parisian Canal cruise as against a Seine River cruise, so be watchful. 

6. Duration of the Seine River Cruise

Almost always, the Seine sightseeing river boat tours are one hour long. 

Lunch and dinner cruises tend to be two hours long. 

You may spend anywhere from 15-30 minutes boarding the cruise. 

7. Frequency of the cruise

While booking Seine River sightseeing cruise tickets, you don’t need to select any time. 

On the day of your cruise, you can land up at the departure point, show your ticket and board the next boat. 

That’s why it is essential to book a Paris river cruise with companies offering cruises at a regular frequency. 

During the peak months (April to September), the popular cruise companies usually have one boat leaving the shores every 30 minutes. 

During the non-peak months of October to March, a cruise sets sail every hour. 

8. Type of experience

You can choose between a Sightseeing Cruise on River Seine or a Food Cruise (also known as a Restaurant Cruise). 

During a sightseeing cruise, a live guide or an audio guide helps you explore the city while during the restaurant cruise, the prime focus is dining. 

The boat crew may point out significant attractions for you, but that’s about it. 

Most of the time, restaurant cruises offer live musical entertainment.

Formal dress code is a must for all dinner cruises (no jeans, sports shoes, shorts, or caps). More on Dinner Cruises on River Seine

9. Available offers 

Since there is a good demand for Seine River cruises, there are hardly any direct discounts or offers. 

However, if you have bought a Paris Pass or are planning to buy one, you can go on a Paris River cruise on a discount. 

The next best way to get a discount on your Seine River Cruise tickets is to book one of the many combo tours of Paris, which also includes a cruise.


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Companies that offer Seine River cruises

Many companies offer highly rated Seine River Cruises. 

However, four of them stand out for the quality of experience they provide. 

At the end of this section, we also share our favorite River cruise operator in Paris. 

1. Bateaux Mouches Seine Cruise

Bateaux Mouches is the oldest company offering River cruises. 

They have the biggest boats – double-decker open-top boats with orange seats.

Their cruises leave from Pont de l’Alma (right bank) in the 8th arrondissement.

They don’t offer live guides, but their pre-recorded narration is available in most of the popular languages, including English. 

Adult ticket (13+ years): 14 Euros
Child ticket (4 to 12 years): 6 Euros

Infants get in for free. 

Final Word: Since they are the biggest company offering river cruises in Paris, and since they have massive boats it gets crowded. 

We DO NOT recommend them. 

2. Canauxrama Seine Cruise 

Canauxrama offers two-hour long scenic boat tours along the Seine River. 

Their cruises generally set sail in the evening, from Marina Arsenal facing 50 Bd de la Bastille (near Place de la Bastille). It is in the 12th arrondissement.

Their boats come in numerous sizes, and a live guide on the vessel points out the landmarks in English and French. 

Adult ticket (13+ years): 18 Euros
Child ticket (4 to 12 years): 9 Euros

Infants get in for free. 

Final Word: This company is better known for its canal cruises than Seine cruises. 

Also, since they aren’t available all through the day and the frequency of their Seine cruises is low, we DO NOT recommend them. 

3. Vedettes de Paris Seine Cruise

Vedettes de Paris operate relatively smaller sized boats, and they offer run-of-the-mill Seine cruises.

Their River cruises leave from Port de Suffren (near Eiffel Tower) in the 7th arrondissement. 

There is no live guide, but one can hear pre-recorded narration in French, Spanish, and English. 

Adult ticket (12+ years): 15 Euros
Child ticket (4 to 11 years): 7 Euros

Infants get in for free. 

Final Word: Tourists who have been on these Seine River Cruises have been neutral about this boat tour operator. 

We recommend them only for their Champagne Cruise on the Seine

4. Vedettes du Pont Neuf Seine Cruise

Les Vedettes du Pont Neuf offers a barebones Seine Cruise. 

They offer basic 1-hour cruises on the Parisian river, in their small and medium-sized boats. 

Their departure point is very close to Notre Dame – Square du Vert Galant near the Pont Neuf on the edge of Île de la Cité.

Live guides alternate between English and French during their commentary.

Adult ticket (13+ years): 14 Euros
Child ticket (4 to 12 years): 7 Euros

Infants get in for free. 

Final Word: Since they are a cost-conscious cruise operator, there is no guarantee on the quality of boats and live guides. 

We DO NOT recommend them. 

5. Bateaux Parisiens river Cruise

Bateaux Parisiens is the most popular company offering cruises on river Seine.

They have medium-sized boats with the lower level covered by glass. 

Their cruises depart from two places:

– From Port de la Bourdonnais (near the Eiffel Tower)
– From Quai de Montebello (near the Notre Dame)

They offer both Sightseeing Cruises and Restaurant Cruises

Usually, a local guide is available in the lower level of the cruise boat, and in the upper level, you must rely on a pre-recorded narration. 

The local guide alternates between English and French. 

During peak months of April to September, they have a cruise sailing out every 30 minutes. 

And during the non-peak months of October to March, their frequency is one every hour. 

Final Word: This company offers the best Seine River Cruises because of the following reasons: 

– Comfortable two departure points you can choose from
– Excellent frequency ensures you don’t have to wait long
– Just the right size of boats mean, you aren’t sailing the Seine with 100s of other tourists

Continue reading to learn about the Seine River cruise tickets they offer –


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Seine River Cruise tickets

Having identified Bateaux Parisiens as the best Seine Cruises company, let’s see the different cruises they offer. 

But before that – 

How online Seine River Cruise tickets work

The moment you purchase the Paris River Cruise tickets, they get emailed to you.

On the day of your visit, show the tickets in your email, on your smartphone, and board the boat. No need to take printouts!

Since you would have bought these tickets online, you get to skip the line at the attraction’s ticket counter.

Now for the five types of Seine River experiences, you can book – 

1. Sightseeing cruise on the Seine

This ticket gets you one hour on a cruise boat, which sails through the Seine river, even as you marvel at the city’s monuments. 

Many tourists believe that this is the best Seine sightseeing cruise ticket out there. 

The departure point is just below the Eiffel Tower, which makes it a convenient option. 

With this ticket, you can board the cruise all through the day – the boats set sail once every half hour.

The audio guide is available in 12 languages, and an attendant/guide is also present on board in case you want to ask questions. 

Ticket Price

Adult ticket (12+ years): 15 Euros
Child ticket (4 to 11 years): 7 Euros

2. Lunch Cruise on the Seine

This ticket helps you combine Parisian cuisine with a sightseeing cruise on the Seine. 

Live musicians play in the background even as you enjoy a classy meal on-board the Restaurant cruise.

Tables are available for two to ten people in a group, and the dress code is casual (but no shorts are allowed)

The boarding point is at the foot of Eiffel Tower, and everybody is expected to be seated by 12:30 pm. 

The two-hour lunch cruise starts at 12:45 pm. 

Lunch cruise menu

You must choose from three menus – the Etoile Service, Privilege Service, or the Premier Service. 

Etoile Service gets you a starter, a main, and dessert of your choice.

Besides a starter, a main, and dessert, the Privilege Service also gets you a window seat, plus a cheese selection and some fine wine. 

In addition to everything mentioned above, Premier Service gets a table at the front of the boat and a welcome glass of champagne.

Download Lunch Menu

Ticket Price

Étoile Service59 Euros / person
Premier Service: 89 Euros / person

3. Seine Dinner Cruise

The dinner cruise on River Seine is a two and a half hours long lavish affair.

The boarding starts at 8 pm at the foot of Eiffel Tower and goes on till 8.15 pm, and at 8.30 pm, the cruise leaves the port.

The dress code for this exceptional dining gourmet cruise is casual, but shorts aren’t allowed. 

Even as you enjoy your four-course meal and wine, a live singer and their band play modern French standards.

During this cruise through the City Of Lights, you will journey along the south bank, before looping around Notre Dame and traveling back along the north bank of River Seine. 

This is also known as the Gourmet Dinner Cruise because of its elaborate menu.

Dinner cruise menu

While booking this Seine dinner cruise, you must choose between four different menus. 

Etoile Service: This service gets you a starter, a main, and dessert, and a special rate for kids under 12 years of age. 

Découverte Service: If you opt for this service, you get a table with a panoramic view and a glass of champagne as an aperitif, two starters, two main courses, two desserts, and PetitsFour.

Privilege Service: In addition to an excellent window seat, the Privilege Service gets you a glass of champagne as an aperitif, a selection of premium wines with your starter, main, cheese dish, dessert, and PetitsFour.

Premier Service: This offers the best menu on offer. It gets you a table at the front of the boat, two glasses of champagne (one as an aperitif and another with dessert), and a selection of premium wines and mature cheese with an appetizer. 

Besides this, you also get your choice of starter, main dish, dessert, and PetitsFour.

Download Dinner Menu

Ticket Price

Étoile Service: 99 Euros / person
Découverte Service: 139 Euros / person
Privilège Service: 169 Euros / person
Premier Service: 205 Euros / person

If you prefer a cheaper (and yet classy!) dinner cruise instead, check this Early evening dinner cruise

4. Champagne Cruise on the Seine

Note: This cruise is offered by Vedettes de Paris, yet another of our favorite boat tour agencies in Paris. 

We added this in our list of favorite Seine River Cruises because it isn’t as simple as a sightseeing tour and not as elaborate as a Seine dinner cruise. 

This Champagne Cruise on River Seine is the favorite of visitors who want a little extra, but also want to keep the costs in check. 

During this cruise, you get one glass of champagne (or liquor) or one French crêpe (or muffin) with a soft drink per person. 

The audio commentary is available in English, French, and Spanish.

The point of departure is the Vedettes de Paris pier in Port de Suffren, which is right in front of the Eiffel Tower.

These Champagne cruises start from 11.15 am and go on till 9 pm. 

Ticket Price

Adult ticket (12+ years): 20 Euros
Child ticket (4 to 11 years): 12 Euros


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Paris River Cruise combo tours

Parisian tourists love combo tours which include a cruise on River Seine for three reasons:

1. Since the Paris cruise is usually a 1-2 hour activity, the tourists get to add one more activity/attraction to the day’s itinerary

2. Combo tours are cheaper than if you book the activities individually

3. Some of these combo tours come along with a talented Parisian guide, and the tourists love listening to stories from a local

The most popular Paris river combo tour is the one that offers a visit up the Eiffel Tower (you visit either the Tower’s second floor or the Summit) and then follow it up with a Sightseeing Cruise on the Seine. 

Some prefer to make it a two-day itinerary by adding a HOHO bus tour of Paris to the Sightseeing Cruise and Eiffel Tower visit. This combo tour is most popular with tourists who are in Paris for a brief holiday.

Visitors on a romantic holiday prefer to go on a nighttime Seine cruise in Paris.  They choose either Crazy Horse show + night time Sightseeing cruise or the costlier Dinner Cruise + Eiffel Tower + Moulin Rouge combination.

Tourists who love art (or want to see Mona Lisa!) prefer the Louvre Museum + River Cruise tour combination. 

For families traveling with kids, we highly recommend the Family city tour + Sightseeing cruise tour. 

All through this tour, the local guide stays with you playing games and telling exciting local stories to your kids. 

Tourists who love biking prefer the Night tour of Paris on bicycle + Cruise combo. One gets to explore the City of Lights after dark in this five-hour tour. 


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FAQs on Seine River Cruise in Paris

Seine River Cruise in Paris
Seine River Cruise boats line up at the bottom of Eiffel Tower. Image: John Towner

While planning their River cruise in Paris, tourists have a lot of doubts. 

We try and answer them here –

1. Can I purchase Seine River Cruise tickets online?


Yes, you can buy Seine Cruise tickets online here.

When you buy them in advance, you save yourself time (you don’t wait in the ticketing counter lines) and money (online tickets are cheaper!). 
 
Usually, tickets are valid for three months to one year after purchase.

2. Do I need advance tickets for Seine River Cruise?


Even though it is not a must to Seine River Cruise tickets in advance, we recommend you buy them before you visit the attraction.
 
If you already have the tickets when you reach the boarding point, you can avoid standing in the long lines at the ticketing counter.
 
Online tickets are also cheaper. 

3. Can I buy same-day Seine Cruise tickets?


Yes, you can purchase same-day (or next day’s) Seine River Cruise tickets. 
 
You can do this from the ticket counters at the boarding point, or if you want to save yourself waiting time (and money), you can buy them online.

4. Do I buy the Sightseeing Cruise or the Seine Dinner Cruise?


If money is not an issue, or if you are on a romantic holiday we highly recommend a Seine Dinner Cruise.

However, if you are on a budget or if you are a big group we recommend the regular Sightseeing Cruise

5. Are Seine River Cruise tickets timed?


No, Seine Cruise tickets are not timed.
 
If you buy an online ticket, you can board the cruise anytime after they start sailing (usually by 10 am) till the last boat leaves the shore (mostly by 9 pm). 

This is why frequency of the cruises is important.

6. How much discount do kids get on Seine River Cruise tickets?


Most of the time kids three years and below join the Cruise for free.

Different companies price the Seine boat tour tickets differently. For instance, the adults ticket ranges from 14 to 20 Euros.

The kids aged four to twelve get approximately 50% discount on the adult tickets.

7. Where do Seine River cruise leave from?


You can catch Seine River cruises from many departure points on the banks of Seine.

If you book this Sightseeing Cruise, you can board your cruise from the foot of Eiffel Tower – the most popular departure point for Seine Cruises.

8. What is the best Seine River Cruise for families?


The regular Sightseeing Cruise works out best for families because it is cheap (cost ranges from 14 to 20 Euros per person), it is short (60 minutes) and there is exciting commentary.

You can board this cruise from the foot of Eiffel Tower, which means you don’t have to drag your family around looking for the departure point.

9. How long is Seine River cruise?


A Sightseeing Seine River cruise lasts for an hour.

If you book a Lunch or Dinner Cruise, depending on which company you booked it from, it may take two to two and a half hours.

10. Can I do Seine River Cruise in winter?


Yes, you can enjoy the River cruise in Paris during the winter months.

Since it gets really cold on the water in winter, you must dress up appropriately.

However, most of the cruise boats have covered enclosures which come in handy during the colder months.

11. Are there Seine River night cruises without dinner?


Yes, you can go on a river cruise in Paris without dinner.

Just book a Sightseeing Cruise and land up at the departure point after dark.

Sightseeing cruise boats keep sailing till 9 pm.

12. Should I do Seine River Cruise at night or day?


If you can afford it and if you have the time, you must do the Sightseeing cruise during the day and the Seine Dinner Cruise at night.

If you can’t do both, it is better to do the Sightseeing cruise during the day because you can then get a better view of the City.

Popular attractions in Paris

# Eiffel Tower
# Louvre Museum
# Palace of Versailles
# Arc de Triomphe
# Musee d’Orsay
# Centre Pompidou
# Notre Dame
# Pantheon
# Sainte Chapelle
# Disneyland Paris
# Seine Dinner Cruise

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