Champagne on the Seine: A Booze Cruise with Views
You know what makes even the most mundane experience a little bit better? Champagne.
I recognize that a cruise on the Seine River through the very center of Paris should not be a mundane experience, of course, but on the fourth or fifth such cruise in as many days the shine starts to wear off just a little. The quickest way to bring it back? Champagne degustation! Or more specifically, a Seine cruise with champagne.
Organized by the O Chateau Wine Bar on one of the boats of the Vedettes de Paris, this is straight in the heart of the tourist’s Paris. Indeed, of the seventeen people occupying our private cabin at the front of the boat as we cruised the Seine not a single one was a native Frenchman. The closest was our sommelier, a Chinese from Reunion, who himself spends much of each year traveling before returning to Paris to enlighten intoxicated tourists on the finer points of delicious things.
Here’s the thing. Sometimes the touristy thing is ok. Not every day can be crashing weddings in Uzbekistan or watching Central Asian Horse Games in Bishkek. Sometimes the easy road is enough. There were moments I enjoyed much more than this in Paris, but there was rarely a time I was more relaxed. There are beautiful views, an informed guide (to both the making of champagne and the history of the city), and free-flowing pours that only finished just as we were arriving back at the base of the Eiffel Tower where we had begun an hour before.
We did learn things too, I swear we did, about different varietals of grapes and the importance of provenance and I’m sure much more besides. I’m quite sure now that none of that stuck. Instead, what I remember is raising a class to cheers from afar with kids sitting by the side of the river (much as I remember doing in Paris my first trip – 8 years ago now) and sharing short travel tales with our guide/sommelier and of course forcing my girlfriend to pose for a ridiculous number of pictures to illustrate the trip.
Is this Seine cruise with champagne epic travel for the real hardcore wanderer?
No. But there’s lots of champagne!
I was in Paris primarily to work as a photographer with GetYourGuide, including on this Paris Seine Cruise and Champagne Tasting tour. This was great fun, but just as much geared to learning about champagnes as to the views and cruise itself. If you just want to spend an hour on the river with one glass of champagne or wine the Paris Seine Pleasure Cruise is equally pretty with a lot less bubbly. Either way I would very much recommend the ‘Vedettes de Paris’ company. I went on other cruises with both the ‘Batobus’ and ‘Bateaux Parisiens’ boats, and they were far more crowded and a lot less enjoyable – starting with the wait to get on and continuing to the experience on the boat itself.