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Travel / Tours / Paris / Cruise
Take a cruise on the River Seine in Paris
  Boat companies
  Pont Alexandre III
  Assemblee Nationale
  Place de la Concorde
  Eiffel Tower
  Statue of Liberty
  Further information


A good way to see Paris is to take a cruise on a sightseeing boat. Many of the most famous landmarks can be seen from the river.

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The main sightseeing boat companies are:
- Bâteaux Mouches: from Pont de l'Alma (nearest Metro: Alma Marceau [line 9])
- Bâteaux Parisiens: from Pont d'Iena, opposite the Eiffel Tower (nearest Metro: Bir Hakeim [line 6] or Trocadero [line 9])
(in summer months also from Porte de Montebello, near Notre Dame cathedral; nearest Metro: Cité [line 4])
- Vedettes de Paris: from Pont d'Iena, opposite the Eiffel Tower (nearest Metro: Bir Hakeim [line 6] or Trocadero [line 9])
- Vedettes du Pont-Neuf: from Square du Vert-Galant, near Pont Neuf, nearest Metro: Pont Neuf [line 7]

Sightseeing cruises are cheapest: these generally last a little more than an hour. Lunch and dinner cruises are also available.
The remaining sections on this page show some of the sights you will see on your cruise, in the order in which you will see them if you take a Bâteaux Mouches cruise starting at Pont de l'Alma. To avoid confusion the two main banks of the river are referred to below as the north side and south side: in Paris these are called the rive droite (right bank) and rive gauche (left bank) respectively.

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Pont Alexandre III is the perhaps the most attractive of the bridges in Paris. It was completed in 1900, and is decorated in Art Nouveau style. It is named after the Russian tsar at that time, and was a symbol of French-Russian friendship.
- On the north side are two glass palaces which were built for the Universal Exhibition of 1900: Grand Palais ("big palace") and Petit Palais ("little palace"), both of which are also Art Nouveau style.
- On the south side you can see in the distance the golden dome at the Hotel des Invalides (meaning "home for the disabled"). This area was originally used as a home for former soldiers, many of whom had been disabled in battle. There is now a military museum there, and Napoleon's tomb (see: Museums).

Pont Alexandre III (named after Alexander the Third of Russia)

Art Nouveau decoration in the centre of the bridge

The Grand Palais

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Next on your right you can see the Assemblée Nationale ("national assembly"). It was originally a palace (the Palais Bourbon) but was taken over during the French Revolution. Since 1830 this has been the home for the French parliament's lower house (the equivalent of the House of Commons in London).

The lower house of the French parliament

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The River Seine then divides into two as it meets the first of the islands: Ile de la Cité. This is the island on which the the tribe called the Parisii first settled (this is the reason for the name of Paris). You will pass its most famous landmark: the cathedral of Notre Dame. For photos and more information about the cathedral, see: Islands.

View of Notre Dame from the west ...

... and from the east

View of the river from the top of one of Notre Dame's towers

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When you the pass the north side of Ile de la Cite you pass under a bridge called Pont au Change, containing Napoleon's crest (wreathes surrounding the letter N). Next to this you can see the round towers of the Conciergerie. This is the only remaining part of the oldest palace in Paris (the Palais de la Cité). It was converted into a prison in the 15th century. In 1793, after the French Revolution, Marie Antoinette (the wife of the king Louis the Sixteenth) was held here before she was led away to be executed on Place de la Concorde (9 months after her husband had been killed). For more details, see: Islands.

Pont au Change
contain's Napoleon's crest

where Marie Antoinette was kept as a prisoner

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On the north side of the three bridges Pont Royal, Pont du Carrousel and Pont des Arts you can see the outer walls of the Louvre museum. This was originally a fortress, and later a palace, before becoming one of the world's most famous museums. For more details, see: Museums.

The Pont des Arts is a footbridge which links the Louvre to the Institut de France. In summer months the bridge is a popular place for picnics.

Musée d'Orsay: contains French art from 1850-1914
(including many famous impressionist paintings)

The Musée d'Orsay building used to be a station
for trains from Orleans to Paris

Pont des Arts is a footbridge between
the Institut de France (above) and the Louvre

The smallest house in Paris
(on Quai Voltaire)

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When you pass Pont de la Concorde, on the north side you can see the obelisk of Place de la Concorde. For further details about this, see: Champs Elysees.

Place de la Concorde

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Perhaps the most famous of all of the sights on the boat trip is the Eiffel tower (for further information, see: Eiffel Tower). The views from the river are particularly attractive. When it is dark the tower is illuminated, and there are special light displays lasting for 10 minutes at the start of each hour.

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The Bâteaux Mouches cruises continue past the Eiffel Tower to the Statue of Liberty.

The main Statue of Liberty is on Liberty Island in New York Harbour. This is 151 feet tall (305 feet if you include the base). It was a gift from the French people to the United States to mark 100 years since America's Declaration of Independence in 1776. It symbolises freedom, and also good relations between France and America. The official name of the statue is "Liberty Enlightening the World". It was constructed in France between 1875 and 1884, then dismantled, shipped to New York and rebuilt. It was designed by the architect Frederick Auguste Batholdi. The engineer for the project was Gustave Eiffel, who later built the Eiffel Tower.

There are two smaller copies of the Statue of Liberty in Paris. The larger of these is 35 feet tall (including the base). You can see this on the boat cruise at the far end of the narrow island called the Allée des Cygnes ("alley of the swans"). This copy was presented to France from America in 1889, marking 100 years since the French Revolution. On the tablets held by the statue are the words 4 Juillet 1776 et 14 Juillet 1789 ("4 July 1776 and 14 July 1789"), which are the dates of the American Declaration of Independence and of the French Revolution.

The smaller copy of the Statue of Liberty is about 15 feet tall (including the base) and is the Jardin du Luxembourg ("Garden of Luxembourg"), near the Latin Quarter. This copy is the original cast for the design. There is a full-sized copy of the flame of the main Statue of Liberty near Pont de l'Alma (see: Champs Elysees), presented to Paris by the International Herald Tribune in 1987 - because of its location this is now often considered to be an unofficial memorial to Princess Diana, who died nearby in a car accident.

The Statue of Liberty
on the Allée des Cygnes

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Book a trip to Paris:
Anderson Tours: Travel/Tours/Company/AndersonTours
International Friends: Travel/Tours/Company/InternationalFriends

Useful websites:
Bateaux Parisiens:
Bateaux Mouches:
Vedettes de Paris:
Vedettes du Pont-Neuf:

Independent travel to Paris:
To book a Eurostar train ticket from London to Paris: Shop/Company/Eurostar
To book a Eurolines coach ticket from London to Paris: Shop/Company/NationalExpress
To book a flight to Paris: Travel/Transport/Air

Hostels/hotels in Paris:
Click here for: Accommodation in Paris

Weather forecast for Paris:

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Visit Paris: Travel/Tours/Paris
Visit other parts of France: Travel/Tours/France

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