Guided tours are a good option when you don't want to do it all yourself. A knowledgeable guide can take you places that you might never discover on your own, and you may be pushed to see more than you would have otherwise. Tours aren't for everyone, but they can be just the thing for trips to places where making travel arrangements is difficult or time-consuming (particularly when you don't speak the language). Whenever you book a guided tour, find out what's included and what isn't. In most cases prices in tour brochures don't include fees and taxes, plus you'll be expected to tip your guide (in cash) at the end of the tour.
Several boat-tour companies operate Seine cruises that include sightseeing and, in some cases, dining. Batobus offers a convenient way to travel between all major sites along the river, including Notre-Dame, the Louvre, and the Eiffel Tower. A ticket for one day of unlimited hop-on/hop-off travel costs €17. One-hour Bateaux Parisiens sightseeing cruises cost €15 and depart from the Eiffel Tower every 30 minutes from 10 to 10, April to September; themed dinner and lunch cruises start at €69 and €59, respectively. Canauxrama organizes leisurely tours year-round in flat-bottom barges along the Seine and the Canal St-Martin in eastern Paris. There are four daily departures from April to October (less during the rest of the year); trips cost €18 and last about 2½ hours, with commentary in French and English. Compagnie des Bateaux-Mouches runs a tight ship 12 months of the year. Tickets for the 70-minute Seine tour cost €13.50; lunch cruises are €60, and dinner cruises start at €75. Other year-round operators include Paris Canal, which offers 2½-hour trips with live bilingual commentary between the Musée d'Orsay and the Parc de La Villette (€14; €59 dinner cruise)
Bateaux Parisiens . Port de la Bourdonnais, 7e, Paris, Île-de-France, 75007 . 08–25–01–01–01; www.bateauxparisiens.com.
Batobus. Port de la Bourdonnais, 7e, Paris, Île-de-France, 75007. 08–25–05–01–01; www.batobus.com.
Canauxrama. Bassin de la Villette, 13 quai de la Loire, 19e, Paris, Île-de-France, 75019. 01–42–39–15–00; www.canauxrama.com.
Compagnie des Bateaux-Mouches . Port de la Conférence, 8e, Paris, Île-de-France. 01–42–25–96–10; www.bateaux-mouches.fr.
Paris Canal. Paris Canal, Bassin de la Villette, 21 quai de la Loire, 19e, Paris, Île-de-France, 75019. 01–42–40–96–97; www.pariscanal.com.
Bike and Segway Tours
A number of companies organize bike tours around Paris and its environs (Versailles, Chantilly, and Fontainebleau); these always include bikes, helmets, and an English-speaking guide. Costs start at around €35 for a half day; reservations are recommended.
Fat Tire Tours Paris is the best-known Anglophone group; they are now a multiple-tour outfit and have a nighttime cycling trip that includes a boat cruise on the Seine; Segway tours are also available. Paris à Vélo, C'est Sympa! offers tours that take pedal pushers through the heart of Paris or around outlying arrondissements.
Fat Tire Tours Paris. 24 rue Edgar Faure, 15e, Paris, Île-de-France, 75015. 01–82–88–80–96; 866/614–6218; www.fattiretours.com/paris.
Paris à Vélo, C'est Sympa!. 22 rue Alphonse Baudin, 11e, Paris, Île-de-France, 75011. 01–48–87–60–01; https://parisvelosympa.fr/paris-a-velo-cest-sympa.
Pariscityvision.com runs a broad assortment of tours and day trips starting at €15. Buses are equipped with headsets that provide commentary in more than a dozen languages, and there are special recordings for children. Paris Open Tour' offers hop-on/hop-off tours in a London-style double-decker bus with English or French commentary via individual headsets; you can catch one at any of the 50 pickup points on its four lines. Passes cost €33 (1 day), €37 (2 days), or €41 (3 days). More hop-on/hop-off tours aboard double-decker buses are available through Big Bus Paris; it has more than 11 stops, and a one-day ticket costs €31.50. Low-cost Foxity has two main departures, from Notre-Dame and Opéra; a two-hour outing with headphone commentary costs €17. By day or night, Foxity takes visitors around most of central Paris and offers handicap access. For an inexpensive, commentary-free alternative, try a regular Parisian bus. The Montmartrobus (€1.90) runs from the Anvers métro station to the top of Montmartre's winding streets. April through September on Sunday and holidays.,.
Big Bus Tours. 17 quai de Grenelle, 15e, Paris, Île-de-France, 75015. 01–53–95–39–53; eng.bigbustours.com/paris/home.html.
Foxity. 5 av. de l'Opera, 9e, Paris, Île-de-France, 75009. 01–42–96–07–97; www.foxity.com.
Open Tour Paris. 13 rue Auber, 9e, Paris, Île-de-France, 75009. 01–42–66–56–56; www.paris.opentour.com/en.
Pariscityvision.com. 2 rue des Pyramides, 1er, Paris, Île-de-France. 01–44–55–61–00; www.pariscityvision.com .
RATP. 3246; www.ratp.fr.