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Bateau-Mouches Tourist Boats on the River Seine

The River Seine has always been the heart of Paris, which dates back to when the Parisii tribes established a fishing village on the island now known as Ile de la Cité and because of its position as a great inland port, Paris has been invaded numerous times through the course of history.

The River Seine became a great trading route during the Roman Empire and Paris prospered through the commercial trading that linked the Seine to the River Loire, River Rhine and River Rhone through canals, which was when Paris started to expand on the Left Bank. 


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Bateau-Mouches Tourist Boats on the River Seine

It was through the trading via commercial vessels that Paris evolved into a cultural centre with a wealth of tremendous architecture and even today we are able to see some of the oldest monuments along the banks of the River Seine, especially around the Ile de la Cité and Ile Saint-Louis area.

After World War II although trading along the river still continued, there became more tourist types boats and the popularity of these sightseeing vessels flourished in Paris and for many years this has without a doubt been one of the most relaxing ways to view the famous monuments like the Notre Dame Cathedral in all its grandeur.

The glass-covered decks of the Bateaux-Mouches, which are the original and unique long-boats, leisurely travel up and down the River Seine, where millions of tourists have now had opportunity of admiring these great Paris landmarks from a completely different perspective.  There are other tour operators doing the same thing now and on some days it would seem like Paris is being invaded again, like when the Norman pirates sailed up the River Seine to try and conquer Paris, but it is now just with cameras and the peoples jaws dropped in sheer wonder.

However, there seems to be a bit of a dispute as to where the name Bateau-Mouches came from, some insist that it came from the founder of the original company La Compagnie des Bateaux Mouches, whose name was Jean-Sebastien Mouche, but others believe that the name came from an area of Lyon where these types of boat were first built, which was before they were introduced to Paris at the end of the 19th century.   

There are marshy areas on the River Rhone and around the valley that surrounds Lyon and these were called Mouches and apparently, the boats were built with shallow hulls that were ideally designed to navigate these mouches and although much of the marsh land has been drained, there is still a place called Mouche today.

Although you can still have pleasure trip on one of the Bateaux-Mouches, from the original company, there are now other tour operators that have similar vessels and the name Bateaux-Mouches has become the term used for all of the tourist boats that travel up and down the River Seine.

The oldest tour company, La Compagnie des Bateaux-Mouches, operates a fleet of large, modern boats that are extremely popular with tour groups and there is a recorded commentary that describes the many sights along the banks of the River Seine in numerous different languages.

In the summer time the hour long sightseeing cruises depart every 30 minutes and are around every hour during the winter months.

The Bateaux-Mouches pier is situated along the bank just east of the Pont de l'Alma and in front of the Trocadero and across the River Seine from the Eiffel Tower, so it is very convenient and easy to get to.

The boats are large and spacious and the best views are from the seats on the top level, although these are in the open air, so the disadvantages are that you can get awfully hot if it is a really sunny day, or rather wet and windswept during the low season.

The views of some of the famous Paris monuments such as the Eiffel Tower are very impressive, as is the view of The Louvre, the famous French museum in Paris, and while travelling leisurely, you also get to see the many ornate bridges that span the River Seine such as the Pont Neuf, which is the oldest bridge and close to the Notre Dame Cathedral.

The Bateaux-Mouches is to Paris what a gondola ride is to Venice and is a wonderful way to see the city from a completely different perspective, which is suitable for all ages and children love it.

There are other tourist boats that offer cruises with a lunch or dinner and some offer very glamorous dinner cruises for a high price, but personally, we have found that you definitely need to do a standard trip, otherwise you will be concentrating on your meal and not on the Paris sights!

Also, a trip on the Bateaux-Mouches is great in the evening, when all the monuments and bridges are lit up.

Address & Contact Details:

Pont de l'Alma River Droite

Telephone: 1 42 25 96 10

Bateau-Mouches Tourist Boats

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