Paris by Riverboat Tour

Take to the Seine for a leisurely approach to discovering Paris, accompanied by a local expert
From US$422 privately
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Tour Details
2.5 hours
Product Type
  • Île de la Cité
  • River Seine
Photos & Highlights
  • Experience the city and its highlights from a unique vantage point: a cruise on the river Seine
  • Led by a local historian
Tour Description
Intrinsic to the Paris' growth and the heart of this cosmopolitan city, the Seine river serves as the the ultimate reference point for the age-old Left Bank and Right Bank distinction. On this 2.5-hour Paris boat tour you'll take a boat shuttle with a local expert, traveling down the River Seine and learning about the layout of the city and its highlights. This is a perfect orientation to the city for anyone with reduced mobility, families, or those looking to get a city overview at a relaxed pace.

Paris Boat Tour

Over 2,000 years ago, Paris was born as a humble fishing village on the banks of the Seine. Throughout the centuries, the city depended on the river for everything from washing and drinking water to trade and transportation. Even the city's municipal coat of arms, dating back to the 12th-century River Merchants' Guild, features a nautical motif. 

On Dry Land

Your tour begins on foot on the the Île de la Cité, the oldest part of the city and its geographical center. A small metal plaque, set into the vast cobblestone square in front of Notre Dame (which we visit on our Notre Dame Tour), marks the Point Zéro, identifying the island as the city's historic center. Home to many medieval monuments including the Conciergerie, La Sainte Chapelle, and Notre Dame Cathedral, this ancient city center eventually grew into the cosmopolitan hotbed of arts and culture we know today. Here, you will explore how the city expanded from this central point onto both sides of the Seine during its existence as Lutetia, a Roman outpost. You will also look at the importance of Notre Dame and talk a little about its place in Parisian history. 

On the Seine

After this initial introduction to the City of Light, you will board the Batobus, a municipal boat service that allows us to see some of the city's most beautiful monuments built on the river's edge. Taking in Paris' landscape from the Seine allows us to reflect on the city's historical progression from a bustling Roman city to France's political and cultural epicenter. One of the first sites you will cruise by is the Musée du Louvre. Once the palace of the kings, you will engage with the immensity and splendor of this former royal residence and may touch on the controversial role of royalty in French history. Now a world-class museum boasting masterpieces like Delacroix's Liberty Leading the People and Da Vinci's Mona Lisa, as well as lesser known yet stunning artifacts, this structure continues to play a significant role in the city's identity.

Following the bend of the river, you will then begin to pass by the structures built for the Expositions Universelles of 1889 and 1900. These elegant constructions were designed to showcase France's progress, and those that remain serve as architectural snapshots of belle époque design. Built close to the river, these stately buildings span a period of over 50 years, the different styles apparent in such buildings as the Musée d’Orsay, the Grand Palais, the Palais de Tokyo, and the Tour Eiffel, bien sur. During the expositions, visitors commuted between the venues by boat, and following their example, you will see these structures from their intended perspective. 

"[Our guide] was bubbling with enthusiasm and appreciation for this beautiful city. He showed us favorite hidden spots and an informed view of the traditional highlights. His energy was contagious and his answers to questions very helpful. This is the perfect way to "meet" a new city!"

Take Aways

This tour is accommodating to those looking for a more leisurely pace than our more walking intensive tours. As we float along the river, passing under some of the city's 37 unique bridges, and along the lively banks of the Seine you can also use your time with your guide to ask any questions you may have about Paris. This tour should provide a good introduction to Paris and prep for a more in-depth discovery of additional points of interest.

Interested in a private luxury boat experience? Check out our Paris by Private Luxury Yacht tour. 


When during our stay would you recommend we take this tour?
The Paris by Riverboat tour is ideal for first-time visitors and, serving as an introductory "highlights" tour, is best taken at the start of your stay. It is a great starting off point for a more in-depth discovery of additional points of interest.

What other tours should I take along with Paris by Riverboat?
Any of our museum or food tours would make a great addition to Paris by Riverboat. If you are looking for outdoor walking highlights, we suggest following this tour with one of our neighborhood tours, such as the Marais Walking Tour or the Montmartre Tour with Sacré Coeur. We do not, however, suggest reserving Paris by Riverboat along with Paris in a Half Day or Paris in a Day. These tours visit largely the same monuments and cover the same topics. 

Will we see the Eiffel Tower on this tour?
The iconic Tour Eiffel watches over the City of Light and is visible from multiple vantage points in the city center, most especially the river Seine. We will certainly discuss the history and significance of the tower on our tour, and many experts do choose to end their tour within walking distance of this magnificent site, allowing for independent exploration.

Where do we meet? Where does it end? 
The walk begins near the Place Saint-Michel and ends near the Eiffel Tower in the 7th arrondissement.

Will you pre-purchase tickets for the river shuttle? 
Yes. We'll pre-purchase 1-day Pass (valid 24 hours) for each participant. Your guide will have the tickets on hand.

What if it’s raining? 
Tours operate rain or shine, and the boat is covered in glass. It also never hurts to have an umbrella on hand.

Is this tour good for kids? 
Yes! We have some excellent family-friendly expert guides who can appeal to the learning styles of children. Please book privately if you have children under 13. Feel free to provide us with information about your children such as favorite school subjects, and hobbies. This way we can match you with the best possible expert.

I understand this tour is done by public boat. What if I want a private boat?
We can arrange this as well on our Paris by Private Luxury Yacht tour. 
Where You'll Start
83 Reviews (4.34)

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Eric was extremely knowledgeable, personable and did a great job tailoring the tour to our 3 teenagers.
Eric was delightful. There wasn't much narration on the river boat portion of our trip.
I guess I was not aware the riverboat was shared with a large public group. Lily was amazing. Super knowledgeable and very prepared. Loved her use of the ipad. She had lots of great suggestions for us that we took and enjoyed immensely.