The Ultimate Guide to Seine River Cruises in Paris


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Discover the soul of Paris with one of this best-sellers cruises:

Seine River Cruise - The Best Way to See Paris!

A Seine River Cruise in Paris is one of the best ways to explore and see the city’s highlights in a relaxing and fun way. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions for travelers in Paris with more than 4 million people taking cruises each year.

By taking a Cruise on the Seine River, you could see up close Paris’ top attractions like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Musée d’Orsay and many more and explore the historic heart of Paris from a new perspective.

Unique Views

A river cruise allows you to see iconic Paris landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, Louvre Museum, and more from unique vantage points along the Seine that you can’t get walking around the city. The river offers beautiful new perspectives of Paris’ architecture and scenery.

Relaxing Way to Tour

A boat cruise is a relaxed, calm way to take in the sights of Paris compared to a rushed walking tour or hectic metro trips. You can sit back with a glass of wine and watch the city unfold along the banks of the river. It’s an easy way to see a lot without wearing yourself out.

Intimate Experience

A small riverboat cruise offers a quaint, intimate feel that gets you closer to landmarks compared to packed tourist buses or boats. With fewer passengers and open decks, you have space to Admire views and snap great photos as you gently float by each attraction. It feels like a VIP tour around the City of Light.

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Seine Cruise Types

Select from sightseeing, dining, leisurely riverboat or multi-attraction packages to match your Paris travel budget, timeline and interests:

Sightseeing Cruise

The most popular type, sightseeing cruises typically last 1-2 hours and journey along the Seine passing by the top landmarks of Paris like the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame Cathedral, Louvre Museum, Orsay Museum and more. Most boats have open-air upper decks and some have interior lounge areas. Audio guides in multiple languages are usually available.

  • Best Suited For: First-time visitors. Great way to see all the major sites along the Seine in 1 or 2 hour journey.
  • Duration: Usually 1-2 hours in length. Many options for morning, afternoon, twilight or night tour times.
  • Price Range: Starts from approximately 15€ for 1-hour cruise. Around 25-30€ standard rate for daytime cruise with audio guide.

Dinner Cruise

If you want to make the cruise more interesting, you can choose the Dinner Cruise which is more expensive cruise and include dinner, drinks, or even sometimes a live music show. These cruises will cost you more than the Sightseeing Cruises, but they take longer (around 2 hours) and do offer some more value to your trip. That is why many travelers choose this option. 

  • Best Suited For: Couples celebrating anniversaries, honeymooners, those seeking a luxurious romantic dinner with sights.
  • Duration: 3-4 hours, with boarding, multi-course meal, and cruise along the Seine
  • Price Range: 60-120€ per person multi-course gourmet meal menus along with unlimited premium drinks.

Lunch Cruise

The Lunch Cruise allow you enjoy a gourmet multi-course French meal while floating past Parisian monuments. Meal options range from buffets to set menus paired with quality French wines. Many boats have live musical entertainment, some with dancing. 

  • Best For: Families, couples, groups looking for a relaxed Seine sightseeing experience. Good daytime activity option.
  • Duration: Usually 1.5-2 hours
  • Price Range: 50-100€ per person. 

Cruise Packages

Many cruise companies offer discounted multi-ride packages like a 1-day Big Bus pass with a 1-hour Vedettes du Pont Neuf cruise, making it easy to tour around different Paris neighborhoods.

  • Best For: Maximum convenience and affordability. Combine top Paris attractions.
  • Duration: Depends on the paired activities, but cruise portion 1-2 hours typically.
  • Price Range: Packages with bus, museum tickets etc can be 60€+ per person but offer good value.

Hop On Hop Off Cruise

The Hop on Hop Off cruise allows you to effortlessly visit popular locations such as the Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral, Musée d’Orsay, Hôtel de Ville, Jardin des Plantes and more. It offers great flexibility to create your own DIY sightseeing itinerary and transportation around Paris’ most famous attractions.

  • Best For: Visitors who want flexibility to see multiple Paris landmarks at their own pace.
  • Duration: Ticket valid for 1-2 days so you choose how long to sightsee.
  • Price Range: 30-35€ for 1 day pass, 35-40€ for 2 day pass.

Guided Cruise

Guided cruise provide history and cultural insight into Paris and its famous monuments. They can be customized to focus on different topics from art, architecture, WWII history, love stories and more based on passengers’ interests. Private tours for families or groups are also bookable.

  • Best For: Travelers who want a tour guide to provide commentary, history and context at major sights along the river.
  • Duration: Typically 1-2 hours.
  • Price Range: Small group guided tours: €15-25 per person. Private 2-hour cruise: €200-300 total.

Top Sights You Will See

Gliding along the River Seine, a Paris river cruise offers views of the city’s most celebrated landmarks – the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, Louvre Museum, and Musée d’Orsay glow against the horizon. 

Neoclassical buildings grace the banks from the Alexander III Bridge to Les Invalides. In under an hour, iconic Parisian history and architecture comes alive on the water. 

Here are the top sights you will see a long the cruise:

Orsay Museum
Housed in a former Beaux-Arts railway station, this museum holds the largest collection of impressionist and post-Impressionist masterpieces in the world.
Les Invalides
This complex houses museums and monuments relating to the military history of France, most notably the tombs of Napoleon and other war heroes.
Saint Chapelle
This 13th century Gothic style chapel located within the Palais de la Cité is renowned for its elaborate stained glass windows
Palais Bourbon
Built in the 18th century, this palace houses the National Assembly of France.
The Centre Pompidou
Home to modern art including Dalí, Picasso and Warhol, in a building with an avant-garde exposed structural design.
Tuileries Garden
A formal garden between the Louvre and Place de la Concorde, with statues and fountains scattered throughout lush grounds.
City Hall
The city hall of Paris (Hôtel de Ville), home of the city's local administration, known for its ornate French Renaissance architecture.
Île de la Cité
This river island is considered the heart of Paris with landmarks like Notre Dame Cathedral and Sainte-Chapelle church.
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Seine Cruise Route Map


Top Seine Cruise Providers

Bateaux Parisiens

Bateaux Parisiens is one of the largest and most popular Seine cruise companies in Paris. It offers sightseeing cruises along the Seine past top attractions like the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral. Bateaux Parisiens also provides lunch, dinner, and entertainment cruises on board their fleet of glass-topped boats. The company is a family-owned business founded in 1958.

Bateaux Mouches

The oldest and largest river cruise operator in Paris is Bateaux Mouches which was founded in 1949. Bateaux Mouches operates a large fleet of glass-roofed boats departing frequently from Pont de l’Alma. They offer daytime and evening sightseeing cruises with audio guides in 18 languages. The company is especially known for their romantic evening dinner and dance cruises with live music.

Vedettes de Paris

Vedettes de Paris provides smaller, more intimate boat tours on the Seine. They are a top-rated company for their personal service, smaller groups, and ability to dock closer to sights. Vedettes de Paris also offers themed cruises like Paris historians and jazz cruises. Their boats have indoor salons and open-air upper decks. It is a family-owned company established in 1945.


Pariscityvision is a large company providing a wide variety of sightseeing tours in Paris, including Seine cruises. They usually market more towards tourists and large groups. Pariscityvision’s boats are completely glazed for better views, and also have interior salons. The company is a great budget option for basic daytime or evening sightseeing boat tours.

Paris Canal

Paris Canal specializes exclusively in 2-hour Paris canal boat tours versus Seine tours. Their small electric boats go through charming lesser-known waterways and locks providing a unique perspective of Paris gardens, bridges, and houseboats compared to major monuments.

Vedettes de la Seine

Vedettes de la Seine – Fracasse is a smaller boutique cruise company with just 2 to 3 boats. They offer specialized themed musical or Parisian gourmet dining cruises in an intimate setting with attentive service and unique French cuisine onboard.

Plan Your Trip

seine cruise

Seine Cruise Insider Tips

Here are some of the best insider tips for taking a cruise on the Seine River in Paris:

  • Avoid the large, crowded Bateaux Mouches tourist boats if you want a more intimate experience. Look for small boat cruises or private boat rentals instead.
  • Cruises in the morning or late afternoon tend to be less crowded than midday. Evening cruises can be romantic as you’ll see the monuments lit up.
  • Sit on the right side of the boat if possible when heading downstream from the Eiffel Tower towards the Notre Dame Cathedral. This side offers the best views.
  • Many boats have open air tops, so dress appropriately for the weather. Layers are a good idea.
  • Bring a good camera! The views of the Parisian monuments from a unique vantage point on the Seine are ideal photo opportunities.
  • You can bring your own snacks and drinks for a picnic-style experience on most boat cruises. Some smaller cruises may provide refreshments.
  • Check when bridges go up to allow boat traffic to pass underneath. Times vary, but this lets larger boats continue down or up the Seine.
  • Look into combo deals that pair a Seine cruise with activities like a city bus tour or museum visits for good value.


What is the best time of day to take a cruise? 

Early morning and sunset cruises are peaceful with smaller crowds. Afternoon offers the most frequent departures. Illuminations cruises at night showcase lit-up monuments.

What is the average length of a cruise? 

Most cruises are 1-1.5 hours. Two hour lunch/dinner cruises are also popular. Some are just 30 minutes while full-day options are available too.

Which side of the boat is best for views? 

If possible, sit on the right side heading downstream from the Eiffel Tower to Notre Dame for iconic landmark views.

Can you bring food and drinks on board? 

Yes, on most cruises you can BYO snacks and non-alcoholic drinks. Some boats have food/drink for purchase.

Is there inside seating? 

Many boats have both indoor and outdoor seating options. Open air top decks provide the best views.

Do boats have restrooms? 

Yes, Seine cruise ships are equipped with clean restrooms.

Is narration/commentary provided? 

Most standard sightseeing cruises include engaging audio commentary to point out photo spots and discuss sites along the route.

What language(s) are tours offered in? 

English and French commentary is typical. Some also offer Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese or Chinese narration.

Is the cruise wheelchair and stroller accessible? 

Many boats have wheelchair ramps and space for strollers. Confirm accessibility needs when booking.

Can you bring a dog? 

No, pets are not allowed onboard cruises. Service animals may be accommodated.

Is the cruise child-friendly? 

Yes! Seine cruises can be great for families and kids with commentary to entertain and windows to see sites.

Will the boat make stops along the river?
Most standard sightseeing cruises do not stop, allowing you to stay aboard. A few may disembark at sites like the Eiffel Tower.

How big/crowded are the boats? 

Boat sizes and capacity ranges from small yachts to multi-level ships holding hundreds. Cruise at less crowded times or pick smaller ships.

Should I make reservations? 

Yes, it’s strongly recommend to book tickets in advance online for your preferred date/time. Walk-ups may have long waits or sell out.

Can I choose my departure dock? 

Tickets are generally tied to specific departure docks. But getting to the dock is fairly quick from central Paris locations.

Is tipping customary? 

Tips are not required but you can tip 10-15% for exceptional service. Some meal cruises may include gratuity.

What should I wear/bring? 

Dress for weather. Layers, hats, sunscreen, jacket and comfortable shoes are good. Umbrella if rain is forecasted.

Is there an onboard bathroom? 

Yes, fully equipped and clean restrooms are available on all standard public sightseeing cruise ships.

Do boats run year-round? 

Many operators sail all year, but services are reduced November-March. Some small boats pause cruises in winter months or harsh weather.

Can cruises be cancelled due to weather?

High water levels or storms may rarely cancel. Reach out directly regarding weather concerns over your booking date.

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