When we arrived to Paris last April, I was so excited to take a cruise on the River Seine…and then we got to the riverbank and saw the jam-packed river boats. Hundreds of people were packed in like sardines on a huge boat, vying for space to try to get a glimpse of the sights they had been dreaming about seeing. I was looking for a more relaxing, intimate experience and found it in a private pontoon boat cruise.
We arrived to the dock and were greeted by our skipper who showed us to one of the smaller pontoon boats in their fleet. We were only three people, but even their smallest boat is spacious enough to comfortably fit six people. The boat was impeccably clean, seats were comfortable, and we were able to connect our phone to the boat’s sound system so we had control over the playlist for the cruise. The cruise included two bottles of wine and we had visited the Aligre market earlier in the day and brought along various charcuterie and cheeses to round out the experience.
Our two-hour cruise took us from the Jardin des Plantes area past the Île de la Cité, home of Notre Dame, and under several bridges including the well-known Pont Alexandre III. Although we passed countless monuments, the highlight of the trip was the extensive time we had with a view of the Eiffel Tower. We turned around at the Statue of Liberty, much smaller than the New York version, and enjoyed the view all over again.
This trip was a great family-friendly option, and because the pricing is per boat, it is more economical when you have more people you are traveling with. Kids are able to move around the boat safely and easily, of course with parental supervision. For the littler ones who don’t appreciate all the beauty and history of the monuments they are passing, there is plenty of fun to be had in waving at the passing boats and the people on the river banks.
Of our week in Paris, this was by far our most memorable experience. It was a great opportunity to experience the city in a different way and far away from the crowds of tourists.