If you’re looking for a dinner cruise in Paris, you won’t be hard-pressed to find one to choose from. The “City of Love” is renowned for its exquisite culinary scene, and offers a plethora of ways to immerse yourself in its charm. But with cruises available at every price point, how do you find the best dinner cruise in Paris?
There is no shortage of options. If you want to make a day of it, there are tours that incorporate a tour into sightseeing. For example, the Eiffel Tower Access with Seine River Dinner Cruise and Moulin Rouge Show. It costs around £265, lasts 7 hours and enables you to soak in the splendour of Paris, going to the top of the Eiffel Tower, before enjoying dinner on a cruise along the Seine and then sipping champagne at the legendary Moulin Rouge. Or the Romantic Seine River Cruise, Dinner, and Illuminations Tour by Meeting the French which costs around £566, lasts 5 hours and 30 minutes and enables you to enjoy champagne as you cruise along the Seine, before stopping for dinner at Champs-Elysées and then a private tour by car at night, looking at all of the famous landmarks, such as the Arc de Triomphe, the Pantheon, and Eiffel Tower as they’re illuminated in the night sky.
Then there are the dinner-only options, such as Bateaux Mouches (around £74.60, 1 hour 15 mins), Bateaux Parisiens (around £104, 2 hours and 30 minutes) or Paris Canal’s Dinner Cruise Seine and Canal Saint Martin from Bassin de la Villette (3 hours).
It’s funny, I used to think that dinner cruises come off as a notoriously touristy thing to do. And maybe they are, but honestly? I kinda adore them. They offer an experience that combines romance with gastronomy and when you go to Paris, it’s only right that you treat it like the romantic experience it is. Whether it’s with friends, yourself or a loved one, there’s nothing quite like romanticising your life—and there’s no place more romantic to do that, than along the iconic Seine River with a belly full of wine and dinner.
Before this trip, I’d only been to Paris once before. I was 18, nervous and outside of visiting the Eiffel Tower and Arc De Triomphe, I didn’t do much exploring. I was so intimidated by new places that when it came to dinner, I ended up eating in the hotel restaurant. A far cry from the person I am now, who will literally travel to the south of France for aligot or drive to Belgium for waffles. This is why this time, I was doing it all—and on this trip, I was armed with somebody great, who had lived in Paris previously. Which meant I got to explore the supermarkets, bars, cafes and restaurants that Paris had to offer, with somebody who knew all the scenic routes to travel along. But that’s a story for another day! This post is all about how I think Maxims Sur Seine may be the best dinner cruise in Paris.
You see, after spending the afternoon perusing the vast collection of Impressionist paintings and works by Monet, Manet, Pissarro, Morisot, and Renoir at Musee D’Orsay, my appetite for culture was satisfied, but my stomach was not. Fortunately, it was time for dinner—and tonight’s location was Maxims Sur Seine.
Serving champagne, caviar and refined French classics in a flamboyant art nouveau institution, Maxims first opened a restaurant in 1893. The bright red facade has earned itself quite an array of fans since then, and in collaboration with the Maxim’s de Paris brigade, the Maxims Sur Seine recently launched, with the chef creating a menu paying homage to the culinary heritage of the mythical restaurant.
At the time of booking, there was just one review of the Maxims Sur Seine (around £147, 2 hours 30 minutes), and with so many other options I’ll admit, I was hesitant, but I needn’t have been.
I handed the details over and climbed onto the boat. As I got inside I realised it looked like one of those boats where they pack people in so tightly you’re basically sat back to back and I started to get nervous. But then I was asked by the team to keep walking, as the boat I would be dining on was parked next to the one I had climbed aboard, and to get there, you had to keep walking! I stepped on and felt instant relief because the tables were spaced out, with plenty of room between diners—enough that there would be atmosphere, but not too many that you would be able to listen to the next table’s conversation.
The weather was absolutely perfect (if not just a touch too hot), but with a glass of champagne in hand it was perfectly manageable. I gazed out at the river as the boat cruised along. The Maxims Sur Seine cruise started outside the Musée d’Orsay and travelled along the river up to Notre-Dame, passing Bibliothèque Francois-Mitterdand before turning around and heading in the opposite direction, cruising past the Hôtel De Ville (city hall of Paris), Le Louvre, Pont De La Concorde and Le Grand Palais. Dinner was served throughout, and because you can’t talk about the best dinner cruise in Paris without talking about the dinner… Here’s what I ate!
To start, I had creamy Burrata, served with leek, green asparagus, and dressed with an Italian flavoured oil.
For main, you could choose from roasted organic sea bass, with juice of shells and mussels mashed potatoes and petit violet from Provence – a seasonal vegetable casserole in estouffade with organic bulgur wheat – beef fillet with celery emulsion, roasted vegetables and full-bodied truffle juice. Or what I had, which was the yellow poultry with morels and creamy peas. I wouldn’t usually choose chicken over steak, but it just called to me, and I wasn’t disappointed as it was perfectly juicy and well-flavoured. Which, for being served on a boat, completely shocked me.
We kept cruising, past the Statue De La Liberté, Alexandre III Bridge and the Eiffel Tower, washing down the meal with a 2016 Puisseguin-Saint-Emilion Les Hautes Cimes and listening as the entertainers sang and played the piano.
It was as scenic as can be, and I couldn’t tell you if it was the company, the scenery, or the experience as a whole, but I knew at that moment that Maxims Sur Seine was the best dinner cruise in Paris. Because it was in that moment, as the music played and the sun shone through the window that I got so swept up in the moment and the sheer romance, that I looked out the window and had a soft little cry behind my sunglasses.
Just as I got completely overwhelmed with joy, it got better. A table just behind was filled with a family of four celebrating one of the children’s birthdays. The piano started playing that familiar tune and she turned to them and sang. The day I took the cruise, the boat wasn’t fully booked—but it was filled with pure happiness.
As the song came to an end the cruise continued back to Musee D’Orsay with dessert, a traditional chocolate moelleux with vanilla ice cream.
Before enjoying tea and coffee before disembarking the boat and taking the scenic route back to the hotel, passing through Jardin des Tuileries and the Arc De Triomphe along the way.
Taking this dinner cruise was a truly unforgettable experience. The food was tasty, the service was attentive and the views were incredible—it was not only a highlight of my trip to Paris, but my travel experiences as a whole. So, if you’re looking for a memorable way to see the city, then I highly recommend Maxims Sur Seine because, for me, it’s the best dinner cruise in Paris.