Paris dinner boat question (plus another)

i have a last minute trip to Paris (leaving in 5days/Easter weekend pleasure and the following week for work).

We have been to Paris many times but have never done a dinner cruise. Figured we’d check that tourist activity off the list. We aren’t expecting greatness but is one better than another? Recommendations?

We are also staying in the 7th near metro Vaneau. I know lots of places throughout places but anyone knowledgeable about that specific neighborhood?

Thanks!

Hi Thimes- I replied to you on CH.

I actually enjoyed the boat cruise for dinner on Bateaux Mouches.

It was a nice way to see Paris lit up at night.

The dinner wasn’t mind blowing by any means but it wasn’t bad.

We went on the later one leaving around 830 or so which is better to see the city at night.

It was fairly pricey- 100E a person but included wine. Are there better dinners to be had at that cost- of course, however I certainly didn’t leave feeling like I’d been ripped off. I had an enjoyable evening.

It bothers me how others made you feel like a bad person for even suggesting the idea on CH.

Honestly, my mom and nephew are headed to Paris the beginning of July and I’m thinking of sending them on a dinner cruise.

Thanks for posting in both places. I knew that I’d be opening myself up for a skewering with the question. But I’m surprised that Paris doesn’t have one that is at least manageable. We may still do it and just not tell anyone :wink: the trip is so last minute and Easter weekend that we may not get into anywhere “recommended” anyway … so we will see. We’ve been to Paris many times (luckily) so we won’t be upset either way.

Thanks again and glad that the experience didn’t make you feel ripped off, which would be a bigger issue for me.

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I try really really hard not to be a tourist in any city I visit. But I often catch the “big bus” tourist tour on my first day as its a great way to get you bearings.

As you know getting good food on a tourist boat in Paris is going to be hard but why not if you are looking for a bit of fun and want to get an interesting view of Paris.

My personal philosophy on a trip is to never waste a meal and I personally think this is such a case. So IMHO better to book a non dining cruise (they don’t take very long) and eat afterwards (or before - depends what time it gets dark). Lots of decent restaurants not too far from the boat terminals.

Have heard many, many good reports about Le Calife, including from Parisians. Apparently the food is quite good.

I guess cruise dinner on the Seine is more about an experience than really the meal. I would prefer going just for the cruise with a glass than the whole dinner. A quick search shows no French food magazine has any recommendations on boat diner. Maybe you can consider dining at the Eiffel Tour, Le Jules Verne offers comparative better food than a cruise meal. But I tend to agree with @PhilD, don’t waste a meal if you are a food lover.

A 5 minutes walk from the metro, you can find Quinsou, which I like a lot. Montée (slighter further away from your place) is also strongly recommended by several diners in HO. Full report here:

Slightly further away in the 7th, Tomy and co is a new place you shouldn’t ignore. Tomy Gousset has been cooking in Pirouette, he left and opened his own restaurant.

Thanks everyone for all your suggestions. I wasn’t able to get in to any of the local (Vaneau) recommendations as they were either closed on the weekend or completely booked.

But . . . funny story. Be careful what sort of energy you put out into the universe as it may just come back to slap you in the face. I ended up on two dinner cruises. Hahahahaha but true.

So, since we couldn’t get into of the restaurants we wanted - and it was Easter weekend - and it was a last minute trip - we heard back from the Calife boat and they had availability for a dinner cruise. So we did it.

And then . . . . i was there all week for work and the clients I was with organized a dinner cruise for everyone on another night. Who would have thought. This one was on Bateau Parisiens.

First - if you were going to do a cruise, of the two I would definitely recommend Calife over Bateau Parisiens. The boat was smaller, much more charming, and the food was much better. Bateau Parisiens’ food was more akin to “hotel” or “conference” food, it was a noisy boat with a wandering flautist and wandering singers with a lot more people in a strange 80’s modern design. I’m not saying the food on the Calife was “destination” cuisine by any stretch but it was perfectly enjoyable.

But - having done the two - I would NOT recommend doing a dinner cruise while in Paris. I WOULD recommend doing a boat cruise down the Seine just not a dinner cruise. On both boats almost all tables are sat so that one person faces out while the other diner faces into the center of the boat. They do not tell you what sites you are passing. And honestly you miss almost everything because you are chatting with your dining companion and/or eating and looking at your plate. I have done the cruise (without dinner) several times with different friends who hadn’t done them before, so I was very familiar with the sites so faced towards the center of the boat on both cruises - and honestly I saw virtually nothing or the wall of the opposite side of the river. On the second cruise I was with several people who had never been to Paris before - and was asked every few minutes what building was which as we cruised down the river.

So I will echo the advice of others to dine on the land and take a river cruise before or after eating - not just because of the food, in fact more because of the overall experience. And from past personal experience if you do that I recommend taking the boats from Pont Neuf, near Notre Dame, instead of the boats from near the Eiffel tower. Same tour but those boats only narrate in French and English, the boats from the Eiffel tower do (if I remember correctly) 4-5 languages. So on those boats there is constant talking in languages that you just don’t understand anyway.

Note - It was very cool (even cold really) while I was there (late April) so both cruises had their roofs closed which likely impacted what we could see as well. The Calife may be much different (in a positive way) if weather permitted them to have the top fully open (the front 1/2 of the boat had a class ceiling while the other 1/2 had a canvas cover - you can not request location when booking). I’m not sure how much they can open up the Bateau Parisiens even in the summer.

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Thanks for your report.
You were unlucky, March was much warmer, and this April is quite chilly.

Did you have nice any nice meals on the land despite the Easter weekend?

I had a great lunch at a little cafe near the Bon Marche (don’t remember the name, just stopped in).

A dinner at Avante Comptoir (the seafood one) was a great recommendation. I loved the mounds of salted butter and loved everything - though there was an octopus item I had served over a potato that just covered up the taste of the octopus (but still tasty).

And one night we had a massive seafood tower at a place in the back side of the Marais. On the boarder of the 3rd (?) and 11th near the St Sabstian froissart metro stop. Totally unplanned (I’ll have to look through receipts for the name) but walked past with two young coworkers and they insisted we eat there. And I do love a seafood tower. They are both mid 20’s and first time in Paris. They were completely taken off guard by all the seafood we don’t get in the states and enjoyed it. It was hysterical watching them trying to figure it all out. (Edit: Le bar a Huitre - few blocks from place de vosges - looks fairly panned on google but we had great service and the seafood was great - seafood towers are always expensive, we got a tower for 2 people, we didn’t finish it all and I’d say it would have fed 4)

Edit - oh and we always enjoy the wine, people, and nibbles at la garde robe which we visited again.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-21/great-paris-restaurants-of-2017

Alain Ducasse lost his food service license of Jules Verne at Eiffel Tower to Thierry Marx (brasserie) et Frederic Anton (restaurant) for the next 10 years. But no worry, he has already his boat restaurant ready at the base of Eiffel Tower ready to set sail for lunch and dinner. Price between 100 € - 500 € per client. Served up to 200 people. About 1.5 hour per meal.

https://www.ducasse-seine.com/en/

I guess need to wait for review to see how good/bad this is.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold

Market stall in Lima
Credit: TXMX 2