Untours Cafe

  Today, one of our favorite customers (the MIlls) asked another of our favorite customers (the Kovers) about the famous boat rides along the Seine in Paris:  "Did you enjoy the lunch cruise? Did you have to buy the tickets ahead of time?"  

Two English ladies captured enjoying a Seine cruise by our Untourist,Bill Kover.

What do you think?

    * Have you taken one?
    * Are they worth the money?
    *  Is it an UN-touristy enough thing to do that most independent travellers would like it?
    * If anyone has nuts & bolts (best company, best time of day, deals to be had, etc.), we'd love to assemble them here at the Cafe 

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Last year my husband and I did take the lunch boat trip on the Seine. My husband thought it would be very touristy, but was very pleasantly surprised. It was a wonderful afternoon. The food was the best we had all vacation, the wine flowed and the entertainment was very classy. We took the most expensive seat section (unusual for us) but the up front table was worth it. We even bought the pictures they took - again unusual for us. It was Bateaux Parisiens company. We bought the tickets a couple days ahead of time, when we were in the area for something else. You can buy the tickets at the dock which is by the Eiffel Tower. A few years before this we were in Paris and took the night boat trip. That time we had no dinner, just the boat ride. That was fun too, but an entirely different experience. This was with the Vedettes du Pont-Neuf company and it docked at a different place, closer to where we were staying. I would recommend either trip, but if I had to choose only one I would take the lunch cruise.
We haven't done a boat trip on the Seine....yet! We will be in Paris in September, and are considering just going on the Batobus, a river taxi. It stops at several areas, and your day ticket allows you to get on and off whereever you please. Latest info I have is it is 13 Euros a day for a ticket, cheaper if you by two days or more.
We did the Bateaux Parisien Lunch Cruise twice: during our 2008 Paris Untour and 2010 Paris Untour. Both times it was towards the end of the trip. It is a little expensive, but well worth it for a very special experience. We recommend the Premier Section at the front of the boat. It is a little more intimate and romantic. The other sections seemed a little noisy because of the bigger crowd there. The Premier Section cost around $200 U.S. dollars. We used our laptop to make the reservation once we knew the weather would be nice. We did notice a difference with regard to the day of the week that was chosen. In 2008, we were on a tight budget. So we waited until the end of our trip when we knew we could afford it. It was to celebrate the end of a great trip. At that time our reservation was made for a Monday. That lunch cruise we thoroughly enjoyed. The Premier section was not completely filled. Everything seemed to go perfectly. On our 2010 trip we made the reservation for a Thursday. It was more crowded that day, probably because it was closer to the weekend. Both cruises were well worth the experience. But the Monday one seemed better. So I would recommend you reserve the lunch cruise on a Monday or Tuesday. Both cruises a photographer went around taking photos. Both times we were overlooked, perhaps because I was toting several cameras of my own. In 2008, we had to ask the photographer to take our photo. The result was disappointing. In 2010, we didn't bother with the photographer. You get a glass of champagne along with two bottles of wine (white, then red). I over did it on the 2010 cruise with the wine. The bottle of white wine was still half full when the bottle of red wine arrived. So I foolishly tried to "catch up" by drinking rather than sipping the wine. As a result, I was a little tipsy when we exited the boat. The food was excellent.
Well, I will weigh in and recommend taking the dinner cruise. Paris at night, from the Seine is really beautiful and to see the Eiffel Tower light up from the deck is breath-taking. I use the Bateaux Mouches boats. Well worth the cost, have done it twice and would gladly do it again!
When we were on our Paris Untour, in May 2004, we didn't take a "local" Seine cruise but we did take an all day Sunday tour from Paris with "Canauxrama" through the St. Martin canal and up the scenic Marne River to a little turn around village. We had abut 1 1/2 hours, as I recall, at the turn around point, where we had lunch (not included in cruise price). As we got off the boat most of the passengers hustled up the bank to the quite formal looking restaurant just above dock. By the time we were able to get into the place we realized that we'd have a rather long wait so we crossed the river on the nearby bridge and went into the "La Bel Air" restaurant, just on the other side,where there were only a few other diners (a family from the cruise being one small group). We were seated on the terrace where we could watch the river traffic as we ate. The lunch, as most everywhere in this part of France, was not inexpensive but was very good and, we felt, worth the day's trip "splurge". In 2004 the RT price of the trip was 35 Euros pp. I reserved the trip with them through the web site, confirmed with them by phone when in Paris and paid upon boarding. The boarding point is just past the Bastille Monument. All this info is given on their web site but I didn't see any price quotes.

The return trip was a repeat of the morning venture but gave us the chance to see things we had missed going up including a party boat with top deck of band, dancers and singers, a number of rowing teams race practicing and even a few nude bathers on a wall near the city!

The participants on this trip seemed to be primarily French but the commentary was made in English, French and I seem to think, German.

The day was simply gorgeous and it was one of the highlights of our Untour trip.

If anyone is interested here is the site where you can explore their site at: http://www.canauxrama.com/e_marne.htm.

From here you can check out other cruises they offer. The one I describe is listed under "Banks of the Marne".

Nina Snyder
We went to Paris in 2007 and are returning this October. On our 1st trip we took several boat rides. The first was during the day and evening on the Batobus since the ticket was good all day. This is good for an informal cruise up and down the Seine and inexpensive. You can get off at any stop and reboard later. It's a nice start to orient yourself along the Seine.
We opted out of the dinner cruise and took a late night cruise on the Bateaux Parisiens. We were more interested in the night scenery and photos than with a dinner. It was absolutely wonderful. It was June, warm, and romantic with all the lights of the City. We passed the Eiffel Tower as it twinkled. Got some outstanding photos from the top deck. There were others like us taking photos so we all took turns taking photos of each other. One of mine is a favorite from the trip.
Our daughter and son-in-law spent their honeymoon in Paris and as a gift someone gave them $ for a dinner cruise on the Seine. They thought it was so great that they have been talking about it for 3 years. So this October, we are planning the dinner cruise.
We also took the St Martin Canal ride previously mentioned by Nina. (Canauxrama). We too would suggest that one. It was a completely different type of boat ride. It is stop and go as you go thru the canal but fascinating to watch how the canals locks work. Great photos too! We took it toward the Bastille and took the metro in return to the City center.
We're certainly looking forward to a return trip to Paris for a week.
Bateaux Parisien Lunch Cruise on the Seine. May 19, 2008.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-nwb_uKHcU
"New York, New York" on the Seine. Bateaux Parisien Lunch Cruise. May 19, 2008

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dmyKskuvSY
My wife and I took our first evening dinner cruise in the late 70's and again during an anniversary trip to Paris in the mid 80's. Both times it was fantastic. Champaign was served dock side before we boarded and the service and food on board was outstanding.
These two cruises are often discussed and are only a few of the highlights of our 62 years of marriage and 52 years of going to Europe .We chose the dinner crise because it is rather formal and not over crowded and are for adults.

Are they worth it? That depends on the individuals , but once taken they would long remember that wonderful evening.

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