Considering that Paris is France’s first river port and Europe’s second, it’s not surprising to come across several different kinds of boats on the Seine’s waters. Contrary to any preconceived notions that one might have of the capital, the famous bâteaux-mouches (river boats) are far from having an upper-hand on water traffic. Sailboats, motorboats, and rowboats are all prohibited from circulating on the Seine’s waters.
It’s impossible to miss the old barges that are lined up along the banks of the Seine. Also known as self-propelled barges, these boat-homes are an original way of living at the heart of the capital that allows owners to benefit from one of the most beautiful settings Paris has to offer.
Numerous towed convoys that consist of a tower and a barge as well as ships or so-called maritime river vessels, pass through Paris to transport goods. The latter can contain up to 3,000 tons!
In fact, it’s estimated that a river convoy can transport the equivalent of 125 train cars or 250 trucks. Such impressive load capacities are a reason why this type of transport continues to be successful.
In 2013, agriculture represented 15% of all Parisian basin economic activity and chemical products 3.5%.
Credits: ports de Paris
In addition to the significant tourist activity that the Seine represents for the city of Paris, cruise ships are another developing market especially between the cities of Paris and le Havre. These cruise ships are equipped with eating areas and lodging in order to make the descent to the English Channel.
The term bâteau-mouche, or river boat, is a registered trademark that designates a certain kind of tourist boat in Paris. The péniches, or barges, are equipped to welcome a large number of people on the vessel’s covered or open air areas.
Credits : JeanSebastienMouche
It was during the 1867 Universal Exhibition that Paris welcomed its first tourists by boat. The company Bâteaux-Omnibus transported a whopping 2.5 millions passengers!
According to legend, Jean-Sébastien Mouche invented his namesake boats. The story continues to be told and yet it’s nothing other than a hoax that, if anything else, helps to promote this now infamous type of Parisian transport!
Paris is a bustling metropolis with incredible heritage and a thriving economy that also represents significant and diverse fluvial activity. On water, the river boats and cargo ships rhythm the Seine day and night whereas on land, the people of Paris and its visitors create another life specific to the banks of the Seine.