A Different View of Paris from river boats on the Seine

Written by on December 14, 2017 in Guest Blogs

glass sided boat on the river Seine Paris

When you take a river boat tour in Paris you find yourself looking up at buildings rather than directly at them. My boat tour took me between the French Statue of Liberty in the west to  the Jardin des Plantes in the east. There were nine stopping off points with landing stages during a complete rotation. Passengers could disembark and join the vessel at any of these locations.

The French Statue of Liberty is on the little know Ile aux Cygnes, the statue is a smaller version of the original that stands in New York harbour in the United States. This was a gift to the American people from the French people. It is a national symbol of shared freedom.

statue of liberty Paris

I joined the river vessel at a landing stage close to the Eiffel Tower. Off we went with pretty much a full deck of passengers. We ‘steamed’ along the Seine at a gentle pace on the south side of the river towards the Musée D’Orsay. It was a beautiful clear day and the views were fabulous. The trip took in Saint German Des Pres and the Isle de la Cité and Notre Dame Cathedral. Beyond, we came to the Jardin des Plantes and then crossed over to the other bank.

Taking in the major sites from the River Seine

The cruise continued past the Hotel de Ville towards the Royal Palaces and the enigmatic Pie pyramids located right at the eastern edge of the arrow straight Triumphal Route. Progress continued past the Place de la Concorde and the Grand Palais provided views of the Trocadero and back to the Statue of Liberty. The boat then crossed once more to the southern side of the Seine to complete a further rotation. Passengers were able to continue as long as they liked.


The boat was flat bottomed, shielded from the elements by wide open panels of clear Perspex that provide an excellent, undistorted view of the world outside. The boats are heated in the winter months and bicycle storage is available on board. The rear deck of the bateau was wide open to view the features of the City from the open air.

The cruise for me gave a glimmer of Paris life as well as a tour of city highlights. There were many groups of people along the river banks relaxing in their deck chairs. They were drinking wine, eating ice cream and taking in the sunshine. Parts of the Seine embankments had been converted into artificial sandy beaches. The trip presented an impression of an evolving Paris on almost an hourly basis that would not normally be obvious from the ground.

The commercial side of City life was also very apparent from the river. The seine is a major commercial thoroughfare for France and we shared the river with many commercial vessels.

I’d definitely recommend a river boat ride as a great way to see Paris from a different angle.

Bob Lyons is an ex pilot turned travel writer in love with France.

Related Articles

Cathar Country, the Aude and the Ariège, Occitane

I first visited the Aude department in 2006 and found a rural area rich in history with great food, fabulous markets and a friendly, welcoming atmosphere. My hosts brought me to the river at Rennes Les Bains where hot water from deep under the ground pours out through a pipe in the wall.  In the […]

Continue Reading

Korrigans | The fairy folk of Brittany

With its medieval towns and villages, wild impressive coastline and abundant forests, picturesque Brittany offers its visitors so much more than just homemade cider and galettes dripping in ham and cheese. Whole days can be devoted to meandering the narrow cobblestone streets and charming squares lined with crooked half-timbered houses. But, as night falls be […]

Continue Reading

The Great Organ of Saint Omer Cathedral

The Great Organ of Saint Omer Cathedral

Written by on September 24, 2018 in Guest Blogs

Saint Omer cathedral in northern France has grace and beauty. It doesn’t have the conventional architectural detail of sculpture encrusted entrance doors. But, it does contain priceless art works so typical of the great cathedrals of France. Here those artworks hang in dark, dusty corners without pomp and formality. Saint Omer cathedral has it’s own […]

Continue Reading

Discovering the lavender fields of Provence in Sault

The chances are that if you visit Provence from mid-June to mid-August – you have lavender on your mind and in your sights. Though Provence is well known for the fragrant purple blooms, it is not grown in abundance throughout the whole of Provence, though you will find fields of the purple blooms during your […]

Continue Reading

How a father’s tale of Normandy in WWII inspired a book

You could say that my love affair with France and passion for the French language began in earnest, when, at age eleven, I heard French spoken, loving the soft, musical and even sensual sounds that floated into my ears. But the truth is that the story began before I was born, when my father landed […]

Continue Reading

Subscribe

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed

Comments are closed.

Top