The river Seine is probably one of the most well known rivers in France and has been made even more popular as a tourist attraction within the city of Paris.
Dating back to when the Parisii tribe first established fishing villages along its banks, the waters of the River Seine have always been the heart and soul of Paris and although this river is not used much today as a commercial waterway, it is used extensively for cruising.
Yet ocean going vessels can still get down the river Seine from The Havre down to Rouen, which is about 120km, although river boats which cruise up and down the Seine can navigate approximately 560km and the river extends right through to Dijon in the Alps. But because the river is slow flowing it makes it easy to navigate and a very pleasant trip for those on a cruise.
When Paris prospered through its river trading back in the days of the Romans, canals were put in place to link other major rivers such as the River Loire and the River Rhine. Then in the eighteen hundreds locks were installed to make life a lot easier as the water levels varied quite dramatically, especially around the Paris area, which are now very tightly controlled today.
When you are cruising down the river Seine you cannot help but notice the many bridges that span this river, with some of them being centuries old, one in particular called the Pont-Neuf had its first stone laid by King Henri III in 1578. However the newest addition was built in 1996 to accommodate more traffic, especially for the new football stadium built for the FIFA world cup.
Did you realise that the River Seine actually forks and cuts Paris in half? Well, that has now become a great advantage for the tourists who travel here from all over the world, as you can get to see many famous monuments such as the Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, and Notre Dame to name but a few.
And going on a mini tourist cruise on the Seine around Paris on what are known as bateaux-mouches is one of the most relaxing ways to get to see some of the most famous historical buildings and other monuments that the romantic city has to offer.
It was actually after World War II that sight seeing vessels really flourished in Paris on the original longboats called bateaux-mouches that were converted into tourist boats. And today, there are now more and more tour operators that also have similar boats, yet the name bateaux-mouches has become synonymous with a tour around Paris on the Seine.
The choice of short cruises available is absolutely incredible from a one hour short jaunt, to having a pleasant lunch, or a full dinner cruise for a romantic gourmet French meal, while drifting past the sites all lit up by glowing lights in the evening.
Some of the cruise operators even offer complete packages so that you can disembark to physically visit some major attractions, or even go to a cabaret such as the Moulin Rouge, before getting back on board to finish the tour.
However, we would strongly recommend that you thoroughly check on what type of cruise you are booking as the costs can vary immensely. In fact, on particular cruises there may even be a dress code of cocktail dresses or dinner suits and evening wear, so of course these do tend to have a price tag to match!
But rather than a short cruise, you could even book to travel from Paris through to Normandy or other areas, where you can glide past storybook chateaux and medieval towns and discover the character, soul and people of France.
So as part of your holiday to France, a trip on the River Seine is always an unforgettable experience and you will be able to find many travel agents who can help you book your perfect River Seine Cruise.
Martyn Davis European Traveller, Author, Photographer and Business Development Manager, For all your French holiday needs and travel guide to France, with tourist information, landmarks and attractions - River Seine In Paris France
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