There’s no denying that the River Seine’s a good-looker: Her bridge-freckled curves are punctuated with some of the world’s most beautiful monuments, and her tree-lines quays sit like ready-made postcards on the water’s edge. By far the best way to drink it all in is from the panoramic deck of one of a Paris’s iconic Bateaux Mouches riverboats. Yes, they’re touristy (to the point where most Parisians shun them irrevocably), but sometimes it’s worth grinning and baring the multi-language commentary and the bum-bagged clans to get an eyeful of something wholly beautiful.
The route starts at Pont d’Alma on the Right Bank, sails past Concorde, the Louvre and Hôtel de Ville before turning at the tip of Île-Saint-Louis and riding up the Left Bank stretch past the Eiffel Tower. The best bit, however, is seeing the bridges’ underbellies, which sometimes appear so low you could touch their stonework. Particularly spectacular is Pont Alexandre III, inaugurated for the 1900 World Fair, with gigantic gold statues and intricate metal work.
Other companies offering boat trips include: Vedettes du Pont Neuf (http://www.vedettesdupontneuf.fr), Vedettes de Paris (http://www.vedettesdeparis.com/) and Bateaux-Parisiens.