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winesipper Aug 31st, 2005 04:32 AM

Heading to Paris
I just read the following and would appreciate any comments from you if you have tried the canal trip: "With the Bateaux-Mouches being touristy, a second choice is a far more leisurely and interesting tour of the canals which offers an insight into the real Paris." ([email protected]).

mamc Aug 31st, 2005 05:34 AM

These are two totally different trips. If you are interested in the canal trip and have plenty of time in Paris, you might include it. However, I would not do it instead of a Seine river cruise, which is a lovely way to see Paris. Go in the early evening so you see both daylight and evening with the lights of Paris illuminated. Instead of the Bateaux Mouches, try the Vedettes du Pont Neuf ( They are smaller and leave from a more convenient place.

StCirq Aug 31st, 2005 06:52 AM

You're talking appples and oranges here; it's not as though a trip on the Canal St-Martin is a good substitute for a Seine cruise. Take the Vedettes cruise and then, if you have a particular interest in canals or have been to Paris many times, do the Canal St-Martin cruise as well. It's certainly not something I'd put on a list of things to do for a first trip to Paris. I've been to Paris dozens of times and I still enjoy a cruise on the Seine, particularly at night when the city's all lit up.

MaureenB Aug 31st, 2005 08:01 AM

I definitely agree that you can't miss a Seine cruise, especially in the evening. It's so beautiful seeing Paris that way, all lit up.
Another cost-effective option is to use the hop-on-hop-off Batobus. Not a dinner boat, but a commuter option. I think their two-day pass was 11 or 13 EU apiece. We really enjoyed getting to the sites that way. It has 8 or so stops along the Seine, at the major attractions. Runs every 20 minutes or so, until about 10 p.m.

Travelnut Aug 31st, 2005 08:02 AM

Tourists do "touristy" things.
You aren't skipping the Eiffel Tower or Notre Dame, are you?

As soon as just a few more tourists take the Canal cruise, it will be "touristy", too.

Christina Aug 31st, 2005 10:02 AM

Both are aimed at tourists, what a silly advertising line. It's just that fewer tourists want to take the Canal St Martin cuise, and apparently it is "more leisurely" which isn't surprising since it's a canal, not a river. So, you spend longer on a boat going slowly on a canal. It does take more time if you want (2.5 hrs not the 1 hr or so on the Seine) to spend your time that way, but it costs more, of course. I get bored by long boat trips where the boat goes real slow, but some people might enjoy that.

virginiafish Aug 31st, 2005 11:05 AM

we just returned from 3 weeks in Paris on our second trip there. The first trip, we took the Seine River trip at night with the lights--wonderful. This time, we took the Paris Canal trip on our the last day that went on the Seine a little and mostly on the canal. It was fascinating to see the locks and different neighborhoods, but if it's your first trip, I would go for the Seine at night with the bridges lit, etc.

ira Aug 31st, 2005 11:49 AM

Hi W,

Also look at


Patrick Aug 31st, 2005 12:32 PM

I agree that is pretty clever but misguided advertising.

Why not say "skip the touristy Eiffel Tower and come visit our water tower in nearby Chautemps instead"?

granbury Aug 31st, 2005 04:48 PM

Thanks Ira - you always seem to read my mind.

ilovetulips Aug 31st, 2005 05:13 PM

We took a Seine River Cruise and really liked it. The weather was gorgeous, our feet got a rest, and we got some great photographs. How else can you get to see some of the ornate work on some of the bridges? I know some people take their tours at night (which is probably spectacular), but we took ours during the day.

djkbooks Aug 31st, 2005 05:36 PM

We do a Seine cruise during every visit. All are "touristy". The Vedettes de Pont Neuf (which leave from Pont Neuf) and the Bateaux Parisiens (which leave from the bridge next to Tour Eiffel) are much smaller than the Bateaux Mouches. Many recommend them for that reason. But, because they are smaller, they are also lower, and there aren't as many aisles or vantage points for photos ops. Views and photo ops tend to be blocked by other passengers. While huge, the Bateaux Mouches are not usually full and there's plenty of room to walk all over for better views of the scenery and photo taking.

The canal boat cruise is, indeed, an entirely different experience. A lovely and relaxing ride on a nice day. The ride under Place de Bastille is terrific! (I thought it would be spooky - but it was fabulous!).

We took the bus to Parc de la Villette, stopping for a nice lunch first, and started the cruise there, ending at Musee d'Orsay. We did this on a Thursday, figuring we'd try our luck there, as Musee d'Orsay is open late on Thursdays. Arriving around dinnertime, there was nearly no crowd! (Having a museum pass allows you to skip the ticket line, but this place is nearly always mobbed.)

ira Sep 1st, 2005 06:38 AM

Hi granbury,
>Thanks Ira - you always seem to read my mind.<

That's because great minds think alike. :)


Margaretlb Sep 1st, 2005 11:35 AM

I have to agree with the majority and advise the Seine cruise for a first visit. After several visits to Paris, my husband and I took the Canal St Martin cruise during our last visit in June. We really enjoyed the relaxing, sunny afternoon on the canal but it's not an "oh WOW" kind of experience wheras the Bateaux Mouches is wonderful!

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