Above: Pont Alexandre III above the Seine, Paris - ADOBE STOCK

The Best Dinner Cruises in Paris

The River Seine in Paris, France – Mario / Adobe Stock

Many “fine dining” cruises on the Seine get away with subpar food thanks to the front-row views they offer of this monument-lined waterway. In the spirit of the 2024 Summer Olympics, whose opening ceremony plans include a river parade with boats for each national delegation, we decided to give two purportedly gastronomic cruises a chance. We were pleasantly surprised by the caliber of the cuisine on both. Watching Paris roll by at sunset while we enjoyed gourmet dinners proved just as seductive as it sounds.

Ducasse sur Seine

Ducasse sur Seine

Award-winning chef Alain Ducasse considered every detail of his floating restaurant: the custom-designed electric boat offers a smooth, silent and odorless ride that launches from the Port Debilly at the base of the Pont d’Iéna in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower. The interior décor of this craft, a masterpiece of glass and steel, features a tasteful carpet printed with a graphic pattern of a city map of Paris, mirrors that reflect the water and a sculptural ceiling representing undulating wave patterns. Ducasse ensured that the onboard dining room maintains the characteristic sophistication of his restaurants, including silver cutlery, bespoke tableware and crisp white linen tablecloths.

Chilled langoustines in a citrus sauce paired with carrot cream, Ducasse sur Seine – Andrew Harper editor

We opted for the five-course menu and were impressed with the sommelier’s choice of wine pairings. A few dishes, like the starter of white asparagus and morels, needed more salt, but the blue lobster in a light bisque layered with rainbow carrots was perfectly seasoned. As night fell, we would have appreciated more illumination, but the limited lighting did allow the Eiffel Tower and other landmarks to take center stage. The seamless movement of the boat paired with the excellent cuisine made for a glamorous experience that I don’t hesitate to recommend.

Ducasse sur Seine
Port Debilly, 16th arr. Tel. (33) 1-58-00-22-08

Maxim’s sur Seine

Maxim’s Sur Seine

This ship features the same magnificent art nouveau décor of Maxim’s, the quintessentially Parisian restaurant on Rue Royale that became popular with high society in the early 20th century. The boat, which is conveniently docked at the Port de Solférino at the base of the Musée d’Orsay, is narrower than Ducasse sur Seine’s. Yet it feels more intimate despite the tables being spaced farther apart. Diners dress more casually, which can diminish the effect of the Belle Epoque-era design, but we were aboard to savor the scenery and the traditional French cuisine. Neither disappointed.

Duck foie gras accompanied by a red-fruit sauce, Maxim’s sur Seine – Andrew Harper editor

After a classic aperitif of Champagne, we tucked into decadent duck foie gras paired with a buckwheat madeleine, and tender beef tournedos in béarnaise sauce mixed with tomato purée. The formal service combined with the ship’s ornamentation transported us back to a more gracious era, though the inexperienced singer’s music choices were too modern for the setting. Maxim’s sur Seine timed the arrival below the Eiffel Tower just as the monument began to sparkle, and we knew that this would be an excursion that we would long remember.

Maxim’s sur Seine
Port de Solférino, 7th arr. Tel. (33) 1-43-43-80-96

Join Andrew Harper today to continue reading our exclusive content.
Above: Pont Alexandre III above the Seine, Paris - ADOBE STOCK

Read More from Our Trip:

Paris Restaurants: New and Renewed Paris Gets the Gold: New Hotels and Hideaways