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As a Cheapo expert on hostels and study abroad – and being in the concerned age bracket myself – I was ecstatic to receive an invitation from Atout France USA to participate in a trip promoting youth travel in France. I was also a bit overwhelmed — I found out about the trip (to Paris and Montpellier) just last Monday. My flight departed on Friday. You do the math.
Flash forward to Saturday, though, and I’d already found my first Cheapo tip to write back home about. The Bateaux-Mouches, simple boat tours of Paris from the Seine, are well-worn tourist territory. But this doesn’t mean you should hesitate to board one of the barge-looking vessels for a quick, convenient and inexpensive introduction to the City of Lights.
Sit, relax, and ogle
As a very sore, very jetlagged traveler, being able to sit on a boat and ogle the major sights of Paris without having to walk or worry about planning was a blessing. The Bateaux-Mouches (and other similar boat services) cruise by the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Hotel de Ville and a number of other sights in a brisk hour or so. No other service can offer so comprehensive a tour more quickly or cheaply. A Seine River cruise is never a bad idea, but for the tired traveler, it can’t be matched.
And if it’s hot out, which does happen in Paris (90 degrees two weeks ago), it’s much nicer on the water than in city streets. Be forewarned, though, that in chilly weather, the wind up the river can make the tour almost unbearably cold. I first took a Bateaux-Mouche two Februarys ago. I don’t think I could’ve penned a glowing review then.)
For information on the best Paris river cruises, along with prices, check out our post from June.
As for the rest of my trip, I’ll be getting to it soon. My itinerary so far hasn’t allowed for much quality blogging time. But while you’re waiting for these longer updates, you can follow my movements on Twitter and Facebook. It’s been a ton of fun so far and there’s plenty left to talk about!