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Boat trips

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Most tourists are keen, rightly, to take a boat trip on the Seine. The faithful old Bateaux-Mouches is the best-known operator (April–Sept every 45min 10.15am–6.30pm, every 20min 7–11pm; fewer departures in winter; 1hr 10min; €11, €5.50 for children and over-65s; reservations and information t01 42 25 96 10, wbateaux-mouches.fr; M° Alma-Marceau). Leaving from the Embarcadère du Pont de l’Alma on the Right Bank in the 8e boats take you past the major Seine-side sights, such as Notre-Dame and the Louvre. The night-time cruises use lights to illuminate the streetscapes that are so bright they almost blind passers-by – much more fun on board than off – and at all times a narration in several languages blares out. The outrageously priced lunch and dinner trips, for which “correct” dress is mandatory, are probably best avoided. Bateaux-Mouches has many competitors, all much of a muchness and detailed in Pariscope under “Croisières” in the “Promenades et Loisirs” section.

Another option, which takes you past less-visited sights, is to take a canal boat trip run by Canauxrama (2hr 30min; €16, children €8.50; reservations advisable on weekends; t01 42 39 15 00; wcanauxrama.com) on the Canal St-Martin in the east of the city. They depart from the Port de l’Arsenal (opposite 50 bd de la Bastille; M° Bastille, exit Opéra; May–Sept daily 9.45am & 2.30pm), and from the Bassin de la Villette (M° Jaurés; May–Sept daily 9.45am & 2.45pm); trips run less frequently from October to April – email or phone for information and reservations during this period. Paris Canal (wpariscanal.com) also runs canal trips (mid-March to mid-Nov daily; 2hr 30min; €19, 12–25s and over-60s €16, 2–11s €12; reservations online) between the Musée d’Orsay (quai Anatole-France by the Pont Solférino, 7e; M° Solférino; departure 9.30am) and the Parc de la Villette (“La Folie des Visites du Parc”, on the canal by the bridge between the Grande Salle and the Cité des Sciences, 19e; M° Porte-de-Pantin; departure 2.30pm).

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