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River Cruise (Paris)

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Mar 18th, 2012, 10:04 PM
  #1
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River Cruise (Paris)

My family of four (including 2 boys ages 8 and 11) want to make a river cruise along the Seine.

1) Can you recommend us which company to buy from? ... and which service / class....We have heard just a little about Batobus, Bateaux Parisiennes, las Vedettes ....).
2) Would it be better to take the day-tour or the night-tour
3) Do you recommend a cruise tour with lunch / dinner? or just a sightseeing one?, since we are travelling with our kids

thanks in advance,
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Mar 18th, 2012, 10:10 PM
  #2
 
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The Vedettes from Pont Neuf is really the best. No 'classes' of service.

Don't take a lunch/dinner cruise -- mediocre food and expensive, so eat on land and then take the cruise.

I personally prefer night time cruises because everything is illuminated. But the day cruises are good too.
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Mar 18th, 2012, 10:11 PM
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Try to sit up front!
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Mar 18th, 2012, 11:58 PM
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My favorite thing to do is buy an all-day ticket on the batobus, and then hop on and off as we travel to the different major sites (eg Musee D'Orsday, Notre Dame, Champs Elysee, Tour Eiffel etc). You get to see so much from the river, in a really relaxed way - just make sure you plan ahead as it only goes in one direction. We had 12 year olds with us last year, and they loved it. It's a cost-effctvie way to get around the central sights. It also runs a couple of circuits at night so you get a beautiful view of the city lighting up, and we generally try to time it for the last Batobus going back to Tour Eiffel, so we can watch the light show after dinner. I went once on a Bateau Mouche dinner cruise years ago, and felt completely ripped off and bored.
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Mar 19th, 2012, 03:31 AM
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I like the The Vedettes from Pont Neuf the best. Generally I like the night tour however I have taken the Day trip once and enjoyed it as well.
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Mar 19th, 2012, 04:38 AM
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The Batobus is just a transport mechanism, not a cruise. It's a waste of time and money, IMO. You spend more time standing on the docks waiting for it than actually getting anywhere; it's limited in where it can take you; and you can walk between its stops faster than it gets you there and actually see some of Paris while walking.

If you want a cruise, take the Vedettes du Pont Neuf and take it at night so you can see the city illuminated. You can go online and get a coupon for a discount on the price. Don't take a dinner cruise - the food is mediocre and you can't really sightsee and eat at the same time anyway.
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Mar 19th, 2012, 06:23 AM
  #7
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I will take the Vedettes du Pont Neuf... looks good for less money than the Bateaux Parisiennes, which I was researching, and seems to be better with times than Batobus.


Thank you very much!
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Mar 19th, 2012, 07:42 AM
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I like the best of both. Take the cruise as the sun is going down and the lights of the city are coming up--and then by the time you get to the Eiffel Tower, it is dusk to dark and its lights are on. You may want to take a little snack to eat--or for us, a bottle of wine.
Pont Neuf is the best we think also.
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Mar 19th, 2012, 11:32 AM
  #9
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Gretchen, at what time does this happen in Paris at the beginning of May?
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Mar 19th, 2012, 01:43 PM
  #10
 
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I'm curious as to why the Vedettes du Pont Neuf tour is considered better -- I've seen this recommended on other posts as well. Not questioning it, just curious as I was hoping to do a boat tour starting from the Eiffel Tower area instead, since that would be more convenient for us. I was planning to use the Bateaux Parisiens -- would the experience be that much different from Vedettes du Pont Neuf? If so, how? Merci!
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Mar 19th, 2012, 11:58 PM
  #11
 
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St Cirq you have misread my post. I have not called Batobus a cruise but a relaxing way of getting around the city centre while enjoying the views from the river. It may be 'just a transport mechanism' but to me it represents good value for an all day ticket (only 2 euros more than a one-off ticket on Vedettes) and you have the flexibility to get on an off at each stop all day, which are the same landmarks as Vedettes passes. With kids, it makes moving around the city fun, as most certainly wouldn't sit through a dinner cruise. As far as timetabling goes, it has always been ontime in my experience. You just need to pick up a timetable at the dock.
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Mar 20th, 2012, 12:39 AM
  #12
 
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wayfinder45: I, too, prefer Vedettes du Pont Neuf

We always take a boat ride every time we bring someone new to Paris, which is about twice a year. It's a very pleasant way to relax as well as rest sore feet when they just can't take anymore!

Vedettes is a smaller company with smaller vessels that give a greater sense of "being in the moment". We've been on them when they've been full and when almost empty. We've taken them during rainy-windy weather when we've had to sit inside. Always has been a pleasant experience with excellent viewing because of the limited # of people in each row. I also like the ambiance around the area--gorgeous view from Pont Neuf (oldest bridge in Paris), the anticipation of going down all those stairs to the Seine, and looking at all the animated carved faces on the bridge while you wait. In the daytime there is the little park to enjoy. At night we like to stroll acrosss to Place Dauphine (no cars) for a night cap.

Last year, my brother treated me to a Bateaux Parisiennes cruise as part of a whole evening of entertainment which he had paid big bucks for. I didn't have the heart to tell him Vedettes was way better.

The Bateaux Parisiennes was a huge vessel and we were packed in like sardines. Though the middle seats are raised, there were so many people we could not see very well . The noise from people talking made it difficult to understand the commentary. This was a 'closed-in' model, not open-air and just didn't make you feel like you were a part of vibrant Paris, but sort of removed from it all instead. The landing area is right at the Eiffel Tower, so it's tourist central with busloads of people being herded on and off. BP didn't "do" anything wrong, it just lacked soul for me.

DON'T do a lunch/dinner cruise! Not only can you get much better food for your money on dry land, but your kids would be bored to tears. Besides, everyone goes on these boat tours for the sights and especially to take pictures. I don't understand the urge to multi-task. Cruise to enjoy the Seine. Go to a restaurant to appreciate and experience fine cuisine and family camaraderie.

Have fun, whatever you decide!
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Mar 20th, 2012, 12:50 AM
  #13
 
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Oh- you don't say what time of year you are traveling, but the only "beware of" I will share re: Vedettes du Pont Neuf is:

IF you are planning on taking the last cruise of the night, be aware that if they don't have a minimum number of people the cruise will not leave and is canceled. During high season I'm sure there are enough people, but once when we were visiting in Jan or Feb we were told that would be the case when we had stopped in for info. This was easily circumvented; we just took the next to the last cruise.

Don't arrive at the last minute, either, as if the boat is full you will have to wait a half-hour to hour for the next one. (timetables are posted on their website) We always buy our tickets in advance on-line for their savings.
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Mar 20th, 2012, 08:35 AM
  #14
 
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klondiketoo, this is very helpful, thank you! We'll be there at the very end of March, first few days of April. I'm convinced it's worth fiddling with our itinerary so that instead of taking a boat tour from the Eiffel Tower, we try Vedettes du Pont Neuf instead! Maybe use it as an afternoon break to rest our weary feet. I like Gretchen's idea of a cruise at dusk as well!
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Mar 21st, 2012, 12:06 AM
  #15
 
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Yes, we have watched the sun set from the vantage point of the outcroppings on the Pont Neuf. One time we oohed and ahhed as the blazing pink/red sky changed hues behind the Eiffel Tower. If it is dark already, you can catch the twinkling of the ET on the hour as well, before or after your ride.

If you are unfamiliar with the area, the metro stop 'Pont Neuf' is on the right bank side of the Seine. When you exit the metro, do an about face and you will see the Eiffel Tower. Cross over the bridge, keeping the Eiffel Tower in your sights on your right. The Vedettes mooring is easy to spot from the bridge. You have to go down some steep stairs that in the dark look pretty creepy and isolated, but it's very safe actually.

Place Dauphine is easy to miss if you aren't paying attention; it is tucked away just across from the statue of King Henry on Horseback. Just cross the street to reach it, but be careful of the traffic coming from the quais. The far side of the square is a wing of the Palais de Justice (and Ste. Chapelle right behind) There are several nice retaurants there, but we usually dine at La Vie en Rose.

You can google for sunset times for specific dates to help you plan.
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Mar 21st, 2012, 06:05 AM
  #16
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Thank you all for your comments!

Klondiketoo, thank you very much for explaining us why Vedettes is better and how to get to the departure point.
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Mar 21st, 2012, 09:40 AM
  #17
 
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I don't see anything klondiketoo wrote explaining "why" Vedettes is better than all other companies. I've taken two different companies and both were fine and one was also a very small boat, Vedettes is not the only company with small boats (if one cares about that, I really don't). It's just a boat cruise, I don't think it makes that much difference. I didn't take Vedettes du Pont Neuf but given you just cruise up and down the river, I don't see how it can possibly be better, and it is more difficult to get to than other ones. and all their prices are very similar. If you are going at nioght for the lights, the only key thing is to try to get a good seat on the boat, that's all.

As a matter of fact, I took the one at night that was just the most convenient from where I was, which was Bateaux Parisiens leaving from near Notre Dame. It was not a huge boat at all, it was very small. And I wasn't packed in anywhere, as there are only a couple seats next to each other, you can't be packed (assuming the boat is full, there was one person per seat). I was on the top near the side of the boat. And it wasn't a closed in model. I don't care about commentary, anyway, but of course the key thing is if you choose a cruise with dinner and entertainment, they are going to have a different boat than ones that are just for sightseeing for one hour for 12 euro. And the do have two departure points, all their boats don't leve from the Eiffel Tower.

So I think the lesson in that comparison is not to choose an expensive cruise with entertainment.
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Mar 21st, 2012, 10:56 AM
  #18
 
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" I didn't take Vedettes du Pont Neuf but given you just cruise up and down the river, I don't see how it can possibly be better"

My guess is those of us who suggest the Vedettes du Pont Neuf are better have taken them (as well as other boats)
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