Lunch and dinner cruises on the Seine used to be a cheesy kind of affair — and not of the chic fromage variety. The river’s restaurants catered for the tourist crowd, or for what they thought tourists wanted — without realising that many visitors craved a more special onboard experience, something that matched the beauty of the view.
Fortunately for those who want a floating feast for all the senses, there are several super-stylish ways to experience the Seine …
Living up to the grandeur that lines the river’s banks, Le Calife (pictured above, also) — which docks at the foot of the Institut de France just by the Pont des Arts — is an historical monument itself.
After a loving eighteen-year restoration of a 1939 barge, La Calife is like something from a wanderluster’s exotic dream, all gleaming wood and glowing lanterns and eccentric, historic touches: a music room decorated with vintage floorboards from a former Parisian mansion and antique French stained glass, old Italian portholes, a 300-year-old Buddha …
Choose a two-hour lunch or dinner cruise; meals are priced from 87€ per head (alcohol is extras), and there’s a 45€ kids menu. Click here for more information.
Ducasse sur Seine
Esteemed chef Alain Ducasses’s entry into Paris’s river restaurant industry has, unsurprisingly, raised the bar.
Situated impressively across from the Eiffel Tower, this glossy glasshouse of a boat offers a numbers of multi-star meal experiences — click here for options — starting from 95€ for lunch, 150€ for dinner, per person. All cruises are two hours in length.
Le Bateau Français
Le Bateau Français is an ultra-chic, 1930s-inspired, architect-designed boat:
It can accommodate up to eleven guests, which helps to justify the splurge: a two-and-a-half-hour experience (with two hours of cruising) costs 890€, and comes complete with stylish apéro platters, champagne and rosé.
Or, you can customise the menu, and even route, which usually departs and ends at Port de l’Arsenal. For more information, click here.