Many tourists don't realize that Paris has a network of inner-urban canals. These were created in the early 1800's by Napoleon Bonaparte, the most famous and picturesque canal being Saint Martins canal which is 3 miles along and has beautiful half moon bridges and canal paths border by trees.
When you enter the River Seine from the canal you will cruise past some of the cities most iconic sights. Sail past the Ile Saint-Louis and Ile de la Cite, going past Notre Dame Cathedral, the famous Pont Neuf bridge, and past the Louvre.
Your Experience With Seine River Cruise and Paris Canals Tour
Board the boat in the morning at Parc de la Villette and get comfy as your 2.5 hour cruise begins.
You'll start by cruising on the canal, making your way to the elevated Crimea Bridge before entering the Rotonde by Ledoux. It's here that you'll pass through the first of many 19th century lochs giving you plenty of time to enjoy Parisian life and snap photos as well as see exactly how double lochs work. From here you'll be on the beautiful 3 mile long Saint Martin Canal that has the most romantic of bridges and footpaths - This is a side of Paris that tourists rarely see. Next your boat will travel through the 1 mile long eerie tunnel, the only light coming from perforated light holes. The boat emerges at Port Arsenal where you'll now sail on the River Seine travelling past Ile Saint-Louis and Ile de la Cite, the tour ending outside Musee d'Orsay.
The tour is reversed in the afternoon, starting from Musee d'Orsay and ending at Parc de la Villette
What Seine River Cruise and Paris Canals Tour Includes?
2.5 hour boat cruise that travels along the canals and on the River Seine.
Commentary by a live guide in French and English.
Things Before Go
Take a look at the map - The boat leaves you at a different point in the city from where you started so make sure you know how to get back to your hotel!
Buy some drinks and snacks before you board as there are no refreshments served onboard.
Is It Suitable for Me?
A good way to see the lesser known areas of Paris - The places that most tourists don't usually see!
The best method of transport if you don't want to walk!
Ideal for people who love boat trips and have a fondness for canals.
Not good for people who are only interested in seeing the iconic sights - or for those wanting to see the Eiffel Tower - If that's the case pick a regular River Seine cruise.
Younger kids might become restless on this cruise as it's 2.5 hours long.
Traveller's talking about this cruise on Trip advisor, Get Your Guide, and Viator have mixed feelings, either loving it or hating it!
The happy reviewers, who appreciate seeing a different side of Paris that tourists do not usually venture into describe this cruise by saying "This cruise gives an extensive look at the lay of the city" "The most relaxing boat tour in Paris!" and "We really enjoyed the novelty of this trip relative to just cruising up and back on the Seine."
Less than happy travellers were bored, saying the cruise on the canal was too slow (due to the lochs) and the travel time too long with not enough to look at; the main sights of Paris only being seen in the first or last 30 minutes. Others were disappointed to find there was no food on board, being stuck onboard for 2.5 hours without refreshments.
People agree that the guide onboard is very informative though there were mixed reviews on the level of English.
One reviewer summed it up by saying "This trip is recommended for those who want to spend an cosy afternoon or morning on a cruise."
Best Times to Visit
Spring or Autumn to see the trees along the canal either in bloom, or with the changing leaves.
Morning Route (reversed in afternoon)
Parc de la Villette
Bassin de la Villette
Rotonde by Ledoux
Tunnel below Place de la Bastille
Ile de la Cite
Address / Pick up Location
Departing from Parc de la Villette OR Pont de Solferino.
Not wheelchair accessible.
(667 Reviews )
Total review count and overall rating based on Viator and TripAdvisor reviews