Paris: Seine dinner cruise

My husband and I will be making our first trip to Paris in September. The first night there we were thinking about taking a dinner cruise. Should we book one online before we go or wait until we arrive? What do you recommend?

Posted by Doug
Portlandia
3289 posts

If you've settled on one you like, book ahead. There are so many conventions and tour groups in town that you could find yourself booked out if you wait.

Take a jacket...

Posted by Judy
Augusta, GA
19 posts

We haven't found one yet. We're just starting to look. Can you suggest a good one?

Posted by Jennifer
Lincoln, NE, USA
390 posts

Vedettes de Pont Neuf is an alternative that isn't as "touristy" as the Bateaux Mouches - same route as others, just leaves from Ile de la Cite - below Pont Neuf. If you book onlie they'll give you 4 euro off! They have departures from 10:30 AM to 10:30 PM. http://www.vedettesdupontneuf.com/

Posted by Rick
Chicago, IL, USA
468 posts

Judy - This doesn't directly answer your question, but I thought I would mention this. We took just a regular cruise at night, without the dinner. The city was so beautiful at night and there was so much to see, I think that I would have been disappointed dividing my time between my dinner and sightseeing. Heck, the bridges alone were something to marvel at. Just something to think about.

Posted by Judy
Augusta, GA
19 posts

Thanks for the suggestion. Actually, last night we were thinking the same thing. Did you board at Notre Dame or the Eiffel Tower? Is a reservation needed? Can you suggest an affordable place nearby for a light dinner?

Posted by Doug
Portlandia
3289 posts

Judy - I couldn't recommend one for dinner because we've just done cruises without meals. Dinner seems very expensive for our usual budget. But you should see how many tour buses show up in the evening which is why I suggested booking ahead for a dinner cruise.

The Bateaux Mouches is the biggest line. It boards just by the Pont d'Alma near the Eiffel Tower. You could have an early dinner at one of the Rue Cler recommended restaurants and walk to the boats. It's a great thing to do on your first night because you can be outside in the fresh breeze (again, bring a jacket)and stave off your jet lag. And the lighted buildings are beautiful.

I haven't looked, but I'm sure Bateaux Mouches has a website that would list departure times and prices.

Posted by Chris
Anchorage
157 posts

Batueaux Parisiens is probably the biggest and most well known line, but there are others!

http://www.bateauxparisiens.com/

They usually offer several different levels of service, including a cheese plate, but yes, the prices are pretty high!

Not sure about the non-food boats.

Posted by Holly
Durham, NC, USA
183 posts

I've taken 3 different non-dinner cruises and like the Maxim's daytime one the best. It gave more personal, interesting, in-depth info than the others. The Bato-Boat was good for transportation (it's an on/off boat) and a little info. The Bateaux Mouche was a good nighttime tour, but very crowded since it is a large boat and the tour buses go there. If you do take the Bateaux Mouche, exit the boat, turn left, go out the exit and turn right. Go a couple of blocks and you'll find the best hot chocolate in Paris (IMHO), with mountains of whipped cream! I don't remember the name of the cafe but it's to the left of the Cafe Francis. I hope you fall in love with Paris as I have!

Posted by Judy
Augusta, GA
19 posts

Thanks. Since the tour buses tend to use the Bateaux Mouches and the Bateaux Parisien, is there a "best" time to avoid the crowds in the evening? We will be arriving on a Wednesday and would like to cruise that night. Also, we found the Bateaux Mouches website hard to use(no English)? We will probably try to get tickets online closer to the beginning of Sept.

Posted by JC
NYC, USA
219 posts

Holly, Do you have any more info on Maxim's cruises, like website, complete name? Thank you, Jeannine

Posted by Rosemary
Lakewood, CO
130 posts

Judy - we took a dinner cruise when we were in Paris and although it was expensive we thought it was wonderful. We went on the Calife - food was excellent and, of course, Paris at night is magical. Their website is www.calife.com. However it is in French. We booked through our hotel after we arrived but felt we were lucky so you might want to do it online before you go. Have a wonderful time.

Posted by derek
Walnut Creek, CA
67 posts

We went on the Vendettes de Pont Neuf evening cruise. No dinner. It leaves from the Pont Neuf on the Ile de la Cite (near Notre Dame.) We printed out the Internet discount tickets and got €2 off each adult ticket. No reservations needed. We took the 9 pm tour, but it doesn't get dark in Paris until almost 10 pm. If we were to do it again, we would take a later 9:30 pm or 10 pm boat ride to see all the buildings lit up.
The tour guide spoke French and English. I had no problems understanding her English, but my children thought she was speaking French the entire time.
One consideration of which boat to take -- where are you staying? We were in the Marais district, so we were able to take a direct bus to the Ile de la Cite and take a short walk to the boat pier.
If you want to combine a boat tour and the Eiffel Tower on one evening, then the boats that leave from the Pont d'Alma -Bateaux Mouche- are close by. Just look for the tour buses parked down by the river.

Posted by regina
la frette sur seine
448 posts

Don't do the dinner cruise...but do enjoy the evening one, either Bateaux Mouches or Vedettes de Pont Neuf...depends on where you're staying. By the end of September it will be dark early enough...Here, mid August, already dark by 9:00.........Everyone loves seeing the city from the river, especially when the bridges and buildings are illuminated. Yes, bring a jacket, and just eat something light before or after...and save the money for a real meal later...but not boat food....Regina

Posted by Jennifer
Lincoln, NE, USA
390 posts

I agree that you don't need reservations for Vedettes - however I would buy tickets online. You can either buy the ticket and get 4 euro off, and then take it to the ticket booth to show proof of purchase when you decide to go, or print off a 2 euro coupon to use when you buy your ticket in Paris.

Posted by Jennifer
Lincoln, NE, USA
390 posts

That is correct. You print off the ticket and confirmation and take it to the ticket booth when you decide to cruise. They are on the far west end of Ile de la Cite next to Pont Neuf.

Posted by sharron
mississauga, ontario, canada
1 posts

Hi: I have been reading this thread with great interest. I am travelling to Paris next month and everyone says to take the river cruise. I was checking some of them out when I realized we bought a 'Paris Pass' and upon further checking see that the Bateaux Parisiens cruise is included in the pass at no additional cost!

Does anyone know if we have to book in advance or just show up at the pier?

Regards, Sharron