A look at some of the best places in Paris to take a relaxing boat ride to discover the city from its flowing waters. The capital is of course home to the River Seine, and at 485 miles (780km) long it’s the second longest river in France after the Loire. Its source is some 18 miles northwest of Dijon in Burgundy and its flows through Paris and on to Le Havre where it flows into the English Channel
There are also several canals which make for a great place to stroll and float!
Floating on the River Seine
Batobus run a day time hop on, hop off ride. Boats stop at nine key points along the river including the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Louvre and the Champs-Elysees. Buy a one day pass and travel up and down the river as you wish.
There are plenty of companies offering guided tours of the Seine taking in key sites during the day and at night such as Vedettes de Paris who are located on the river bank right by the Eiffel Tower. And, if it’s your birthday, take your passport with you as proof, and they’ll give you a free tour and a glass of Champagne on board!
At night take a glamorous cruise with dinner – fine wines and gourmet food on board a floating restaurant. You’ll see the city in a different light as iconic monuments blush in summer sunsets and the sparkle of the Eiffel Tower reflects on the water.
Indulge in a cruise on the tranquil, 19th century canal, criss-crossed by Instagramable pretty iron bridges and pedestrianized tree-line walkways, which runs through north-east Paris. It was commissioned by Napoleon Bonarparte in 1802 to bring fresh water to the city, and paid for by taxes on wine.
If you’ve seen the film Amelie, you’ll probably recognise the area where the heroine skims stones across the water!
You pass through several districts, with lock action, including the trendy 10th arrondissement to the futuristic Parc de la Villette where you will find La Cité des Sciences, La Géode and La Philharmonie. The canal is lined with trendy restaurants and cafés and quirky boutiques and is also great as a place to wander.
Bobbing along at the Bois de Vincennes
Hire a boat and float on a lake in the heart of Paris in the capital’s second largest public park. Located in the east of Paris, this park has loads going on from mini golf to ping pong to free events and horse racing. There are four lakes in the park and on the largest of them you can hire a boat and row peacefully round – you can just about spot the top of the Eiffel Tower from here. It’s a great picnic spot!
Canal de l’Ourcq
Boats can be rented to self-navigate the waters of the 19th century canal and the Basin de la Villette. Or, relax and enjoy a guided tour to discover the fascinating history of the canal’s industrial past.
And finally, if you feel like floating your own boat, head to the gorgeous Luxembourg Gardens and rent a toy boat to float on the Grand Basin, a pond in the middle of the park. It’s been a tradition for almost a century and it’s as much fun today as it was when it started in the 1920s!