One very exciting trip to take while in Paris is the boat tour on the river Seine. This tour is a wonderful way to get a lay of the land, learn a little more history of Paris and help identify a few places you will want to visit.
The most recent boat tour that I embarked upon was the Vedettes du Pont Neuf. They have a lovely 1 hour tour for 14 euros and you can sit upstairs in the open air or downstairs where it will be warmer and shielded from the elements. I am never one to stay indoors when there is so much beauty just steps away. The tour was going to head towards the Eiffel tower first and then swing back to loop around the Cathedral Notre Dame.
To get to the boat, simply walk towards the middle of the Pont Neuf where there is the Statue Équestre d’Henri IV. Take either stairway downstairs and the ticket counter is to your right. If you have a few minutes, walk around the park downstairs there. It’s a lovely secluded park with fantastic view of the river and the city. The narrator of the ride is always loud enough, so you can sit anywhere on the boat and hear them well. I like to sit at the back of the boat as most people prefer to sit at the front. I find I can get better photographs not surrounded by hundreds of people. I got my espresso and grabbed a seat at the back of the boat, upstairs of course.
The boat tour gives you a wonderful view and history of so many points of interest. These include but are not limited to: the Musée du Louvre, Place de la Concorde, Musée d’Orsay, Asemblée Nationale, Tour Eiffel, Trocadéro, Ile de la Cité, Ile Saint-Louis, Cathederal Notre Dame, Institut du Mond arabe, Bastille, Hotel du Ville, Pont d’Austerlitz, Pont de Sully, Pont de la Tourelle, Pont des Arts, Pont du Carrousel, Pont Royal….basically all of the Ponts.
Three fun facts about three of the Ponts. The Pont de la Concorde was built from stones of the Bastille after the French Revolution. Although it has been widened and further decorated since its first creation, those stones are still the base of what makes this magnificent bridge.
The Pont Neuf is the oldest bridge standing in Paris. It is decorated with 381 Mascarons, which are scary and/or silly faces. The tour guide explained that the faces were put on the bridge because the king was told it would never be built by his advisors and investors and when it was finally completed the king wanted to humiliate the naysayers with the Mascarons. In the day light they are scary to look at, at nighttime they are outright terrifying to behold.
The Pont Marie built in 1635 has 5 arches and niches in all abutments, but they have never been filled with statues. Maybe they are waiting to fill them with statues of me. It is also known as a lovers bridge, and those who pass under it are to kiss the person next to them and make a wish. So, heads up, take someone you want to kiss on this tour, or you’ll end up snogging a stranger. Granted there is no historical evidence to prove that those wishes will come true, but it’s romantic and fun to do.
There are many different boat tours around Paris, not just on the Seine either. My friend and I once were having coffee sitting along the canal Saint Martin when a party boat with people drinking and eating passed by. We plan on doing this tour in the spring. Other boat tours offer dinner at sunset, regular lunches, dinners and some even have music and dancing onboard. This tour I went on this time will give you a beautiful layout of the city and some ideas of sights you might want to see. If you are a history enthusiast like me, you will really enjoy learning so much about this great city. If you would like to do the tour I did, click here to find out more.
Happy travels to all!