A private cruise in a Venetian water taxi custom-made for the Seine river proved to be one of the highlights of our family vacation in Paris. The perspective of the bustling city is different from the water and as far as I know this is the most luxurious way to experience it.
The company is called River Limousine—a recommendation by Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris—and it’s so popular that there was only one date and time to choose from during our family vacation in Paris. The truth is that I was hesitant to book this cruise. I wasn’t sure if my daughter would find it interesting and I was worried that a Eurostar train delay would result in missing it entirely (and forfeiting quite a bit of cash in the process).
The second the champagne cork popped onboard, I exhaled an enormous sigh of relief. The decision was indeed a good one.
River Limousines Boarding Location
Despite direction from the concierge desk, our taxi dropped us off in totally the wrong spot. A nice gentleman then directed us down the river. Boarding happens at the Champs-Elysées Batobus stop between the Pont Alexander III & the Pont de la Concorde (on the side of the river opposite the Eiffel Tower.
My advice is to keep the River Limousine phone number and boarding directions with you as if you’re late, they won’t make up the time (which is unfortunately what happened to us).
What It’s Like Onboard River Limousine
The Venetian water taxi is quite elegant inside with sleek wood detail and cream leather seats. An opening in the roof allows guests the opportunity to stand up and let the wind blow through their hair (with champagne class in-hand) as the boat sails calmly down one of the world’s most famous waterways. It’s so fun to pass under some of the 37 Seine river bridges this way.
A bottle of champagne—though you can arrange for more—as well as soft drinks and juice are included in each cruise. The boat was staffed by two men who were quick to refill our drinks and impressively well-versed in Parisian history.
Our cruise first headed in the direction of the Eiffel Tower and turned around shortly past it. Next, we cruised toward the Ile de la Cite, circled the island and then returned to the boarding point (some of the sights are featured in the top slideshow). Right before docking, my 8-year-old was given the opportunity to drive the boat which was pretty neat.
We were on the river for about an hour total, which meant that since we were 15 minutes late due to the taxi mix-up, they must allow another 15 minutes to allow for boarding and disembarkation (if anyone has had a different experience, I’d love to know about it).
It isn’t just the boat and its amenities that makes this cruise so different than the others. The lack of summer crowds was refreshing, of course, but the three of us left with a sense that what we’d just done was quite extraordinary.
Tips for Planning Your Luxury Seine Cruise
Book well in advance especially if visiting during peak season. We were told that the most popular times are during sunset and at midnight. I can only imagine how beautiful the night view is with the Eiffel Tower lit up in the distance. Keep in mind that the sun sets quite late in Paris during the summer—near 10:00 p.m. when we were there in June.
Our turnaround time from Eurostar to hotel to river cruise was incredibly tight so I asked the concierge whether or not it was possible to arrange snacks onboard. They said canapes could be arranged so I agreed to the €100 price. Thoughtful as they were and as last-minute as the request was, to my surprise it was a set of five drugstore boxed sandwiches. The sandwiches probably did help save my daughter from being hungry-tired which made them worth the money but I’d recommend that you not do the same. Stick with the champagne and sodas.
We paid €750 for our 90-minute cruise plus €100 for the sandwiches, exclusive of gratuity.
Was it worth the money? Yes, a private Seine cruise with River Limousine is an experience that we’ll never forget.