I wish I could say that cruising the Seine was a must have tourist experience. I wish I could tell you that the city looks so different from the water and that this is worth even nickel. Except the part where I can’t.
After spending 4 days in Paris, cruising the Seine, even at night by city light, seemed very anticlimactic. We watched other tourists stumble over themselves to photograph the Eiffel tower, many seeing it for the first time, while we knew that it was easier (and more enjoyable) to photograph it from the Trocadero, in between crepes. Other guests sat up tall in their seats when they pointed out the Louvre, which we had already biked through the two days prior and explored earlier that day. We heard the history of the various bridges we trolled under, but from our biking tour and experience finding a home for our own “lovers lock” we were already aware of the history and significant of these monuments.
Overall, cruising the Seine was a let down. What did happen was 2 things.
1) We saw so so SO many people – young groups, couples, friends and families sitting along the edge of the Seine with a bottle of wine and baguette, and we heard their laughter echo. We wished we had done the same, and in the future, would be inclined to join them. The French don’t have the same obsession with safety (or maybe law suits) as North Americans, so their are no railings or areas that the locals cannot go. Just find a step or stone immediately adjacent to the river and hang your feet over the edge. If you fall in, it’s your problem (not that we witnessed this).
2) At the east end of the tour we learned of an area on the left bank where, every night, there is dancing. Dancing lessons too. Just show up and have your own little dance party next to the river. And not creepy dance club high school dance grinding dancing. Salsa, and Tango, and Jive, and Swing and the kind of dancing that make you wish you were on the floor and not in the boat cruising by.
In addition, low light pictures while on a moving boat are not really easy to shoot. We gave up after about 5 minutes. But sometimes you never know how something will pan out until you’ve done it. If we were going to recommend the cruise, I would actually recommend it early in the morning, by day, on your first day. It would be a great way to get your bearings and see where things are – especially if you are going to be moving through the city on foot and by metro like we did. But if you don’t get around to it – I wouldn’t worry about it. Go dancing. Drink some wine. Dangle your feet over the edge and kick back a bit. If you’re going to spend time in Paris I’ve learned the secret is to do less, not more.