River cruise along the Seine with the Eiffel Tower in the background.
Courtesy: Capitaine FracasseSeine River Cruise

The 8 best river cruises in Paris

There’s no better way to explore the City of Light than by water

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In a city full of magical things to see and do, few activities can be more enchanting than a trip along the Seine. To sail down the river in the City of Love is to dip under narrow bridges, pass tree-lined boulevards and spot iconic landmark after iconic landmark. The trips on offer don’t stop at the Seine either, and there are plenty of other canals and lakes to explore either as part of an organised tour or on your own steam. Ready to hit the water? Here’s our pick of Paris’s best river-based tours, trips and activities. Bon voyage!

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Best Paris river cruises

1. City and River Seine Tour on Amphibious Bus

This unique river cruise in Paris includes some of the Paris favourites you see in the movies. You know, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame... so you can stop for an iconic picture and you'll also get a 60-minute cruise along the Seine thrown in. You'll also see more of the city’s famous bridges and other historical landmarks on the cruise, making for a fun-packed but truly relaxing day out.

Time Out tip: Since there's no food aboard the boat, we'd recommend dining at L'Escudella, an elegant bistro with a lunch menu starting from €36. 

2. Night Aperitif Cruise on the Seine River with Music

Ah, the city of love. Sure, Paris is great during the day, but it’s at night when its real romantic side comes to the fore. This tour gets things off to a fairy-tale start with a lamp-lit river cruise, before moving on to a coach or minivan tour that stops by landmarks like the Champs-Élysées and the Arc de Triomphe. 

Time Out tip: Enjoy a glass of champagne, wine or beer while aboard. Just make sure to cheers the French way. 

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3. Seine Cruise and Crepe Tasting near the Eiffel Tower

Some tours can leave you feeling a little bit deflated – you traipse around after someone with an umbrella for two hours and the schedule is so tight you don't actually get to take in your surroundings. Fortunately, this isn't the case on this Vedettes du Pont Neuf tour, where the only thing flat is the pancakes (or crepes, as they are known en français). The two-hour cruise along the Seine and Canal St Martin passes landmarks including Notre-Dame, the Louvre, Assemblée Nationale and the Eiffel Tower, while three crepes and a drink (cider, mulled wine, hot chocolate or lemonade) are included in the price.

Time Out tip: The cruise is more frequent in summer (departing every 30 minutes), which comes in handy if you're visiting for the weekend. 

 

4. Seine River Cruise and Champagne Brunch with Panoramic Views

At this 90-minute Seine river ride courtesy of Capitaine Fracasse, you'll be treated to brunch while you cruise on, seeing sites like Notre-Dame Cathedral and the Eiffel Tower. There are both hot and cold brunch options, so you can take your pick depending on how you're feeling that day, and you can even upgrade your package to enjoy a half-bottle of champagne if you're feeling fancy! Experience a super relaxed atmosphere in comfy armchairs as you take in the views.

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5. Cruise on the Saint-Martin Canal and the Seine River

This tour doesn’t just take you meandering down the Seine, but also incorporates a journey up Paris’s idyllic, tree-lined Canal Saint Martin, with a guide sharing stories and facts along the way. Plus, there are some great stops on the way if you’re looking to inject some French style into your wardrobe.

Time Out tip: Can't decide on where to head next? This cruise offers you the perfect vantage point for your next destination. if in doubt, Cafe A is a good food stop - enjoy brunch out on the terrace.

6. Marne River Loop Day Cruise with Lunch on Board

Seen the Seine? It's time to get off the beaten track and explore the outskirts of Paris via the River Marne instead. Marvel at Chinagora, a Chinese-inspired hotel complex, and stop for a spot of lunch on board – with 100% homemade recipes to try as you cruise around the outskirts of Paris.

Time Out tip: For this cruise, you're required to arrive 15 minutes before as the boat will leave at 10.25 am sharp. 

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7. Champagne at the Moulin Rouge and Seine River Cruise

Sure, this is on the pricier end of tours on offer, but it will definitely be a night you remember. The evening starts with a Seine river cruise past some of Paris’s biggest sights by night as they’re lit up in all their illuminated glory. The final destination is the world-renowned Moulin Rouge, where you’ll get to enjoy one of its legendary Féerie shows as well as a glass of bubbly.

Time Out tip: Since this late evening cruise (starting at 8.45 pm) is jamp-packed enough, we'd recommend light activity during the day. 

8. Sail yourself around

Following a scheduled tour is fun and all, but nothing beats exploring for yourself. Marin d’Eau Douce allows you to do just that, taking to the open waters on your very own rental boat. Short hires are restricted to the Bassin de la Villette – Paris’ largest artificial lake – but opt for a longer session and you can explore the various canals that are connected to it. Boats fit five to 11 people and no sailing experience is required.

Time Out tip: Make it extra special and throw in an aperitif hamper for an extra €7 per person.  

More Paris tours and activities

Other tours and activities in Paris

Take a look through our complete list of trips, tours, activities and other sources of distraction in the French capital.

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