Last week I shared with you the pleasures of taking a leisurely cruise up and down the River Seine in Paris. On this same theme, I thought I’d share 4 more boat tours worth taking outside of Paris. These are located in the east (Strasbourg), south (Cassis), west (Bordeaux), and central area of France (Lyon).
Location: Strasbourg is in the Alsace region of eastern France (500 km east of Paris)
In Strasbourg, Batorama have two boat tours (45 minutes and 1:15 hours) through the waterways of the city. You’ll get a commentary of the history and see the heart of Strasbourg and many of the major sites including the old town, European court and parliament, depending which tour you take. You’ll also get to go through two locks. In summertime it can get crowded so consider buying your tickets in advance. I took the tour in an open boat; however, I believe there are also covered ones. (Cost: 9.5-12.5 Euros)
Cassis and Les Calanques
Location: Cassis is in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region of southern France (27 km south-east of Marseille)
Cassis is a small fishing port that is a delight to visit for lunch or dinner as many of the restaurants face the harbour. You can also catch boat tours to see the “Calanques” which are promontories which are rocks which jut out into the sea, much like fjords. Parc National des Calanques is a 20 km stretch of land between Cassis and Marseilles that has magnificent cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean.
As you cruise by the cliffs you will come upon secluded beaches which can only be accessed through some tough hiking or from a boat or kayak. The cruises last from 45 minutes to 2 hours, depending how many calanques you visit (Cost: 16-27 Euros). Unfortuantely, you will not be allowed to disembark and go swimming.
Location: Nouvelle-Aquitaine region in southwestern France (590 km south-west of Paris)
Bordeaux is a major centre in one of France’s most famous wine regions. One of the best deals is to take the river-bus called the BatCub. It goes back and forth from Bordeaux’s river banks along the River Garonne. You can pay 1.5 Euros per trip or take it free if you have the 1 day travel pass (which gives you unlimited transportation on buses, trams and this river-bus for only 4.6 Euros. It’s a great deal.) There are 5 stops, including La Cite du Vin, Bordeaux’s new wine museum.
There are also cruises by Burdigala Cruise (Croisières Burdigala) for 2 hours (15 Euros) and Bordeaux River Cruises which has a dinner cruise (starting at 58 Euros). Bordeaux Tourism Website: Cruise Information
Location: Lyon is in the Rhône-Alpes region (465 km south-east of Paris)
When I visited Lyon, I was surprised how quickly the boat tours had booked up. Due to my schedule I was not able to get the boat tour I wanted. There are two boat excusions: one that exposes you to the “new” , modern side of Lyon and another that focusses on the “vielle”, old town. The old town is the one I really wanted; however, the excursion I took was interesting, to say the least.
Lyon City Boat has 1 hour tours (11.5 Euros) which take you along the Saône River, passing by Ile Barbe or Confluence quarters. There are also night time cruises and 2:30 hour dinner cruises starting at 72 Euros.