Paris has quite the reputation as one of the most romantic cities in the world. From courting couples to those celebrating important wedding anniversaries, there’s a beaucoup d’amour and I decided that I wanted in! What could be more romantic than a sunset cruise on the Seine with Mr Fluskey, fancy French cuisine and lashings of champagne? Read on for our Bateaux Mouches dinner cruise review.
What is Bateaux Mouches?
The boats of Compagnie des Bateaux Mouches have been carrying tourists along ParIs’ River Seine since 1949. From the water, visitors enjoy views of famous sights like the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame. Hopping on board is one of the most popular tourist activities in the city, but for something a little more special, Bateaux Mouches offer some very cool trips. On our latest visit to Paris, we decided it was time to try their most luxurious offering, the dinner cruise with Elegance Menu.
Dinner cruises leave from Pont Neuf, on the …bank of the Seine. The building containing the bars owned by the company was having a bit of a refurbishment so we passed through, giving in our booking reference and picking up our boarding passes. The cruise was set on the La Patache boat, one of five restaurant boats owned and operated by Bateaux Mouches.
We were so excited to see that our table had a killer view! We were on the front, left-hand side of the boat, with an uninterrupted view of the river bank beyond.
The Excellence Menu
For our evening, we were treated to the Excellence Menu, the most inclusive menu offered. For €139 guests get a welcome drink, nibbles, a starter, main course, cheese course, dessert, a hot drink AND half a bottle of champagne each! In preparation, we skipped lunch, ready to eat everything we were presented with!
Amusing Ma Bouche
On arrival, our lovely waiter made sure our glasses were charged straight away. The bubbles served throughout (as the welcome drink and as part of the Excellence Menu) are Moet and Chandon.
Did You Know? Moet and Chandon is pronounced Mo-WET and Shan-don. Lots of people say it was a Frech et (ay) but as the name Moet is actually Dutch, it has a hard T. No matter how you pronounce it, it is utterly delicious!
Along with our welcome drink, we were given some fun little pastries as an amuse-bouche. The herby madeleine was a revelation, and I much prefered it to the sweet version. The cheese ball was pretty good but would have been better warm. Saying that, I’d have happily eaten a basket of them so they can’t have been that bad!
The boat sat at its mooring for about 40 minutes but finally, the engines bubbled to life and our starters were served. We had the choice of five starters and chose to go halves. After some fierce debate, we opted for:
- Seared duck fois gras with pear chutney and raisins – Seriously delicious and I was sad there wasn’t more.
- Open shrimp ravioli with tomato and seafood bisque – I loved the pasta but thought the bisque could do with a tiny bit of a seafood kick.
The Main Course
As we waited for our main courses, we tried to work out how many diners were aboard and figured it must be around 200. With everyone expecting to eat at the same time, they must be doing some serious mass catering.
- Duck breast, crushed parsnip and demi-glace sauce – The duck wasn’t cooked how I like3 it(a crispy skin and pink on the inside) but I think that is nearly impossible when you are cooking for a whole boat load of people. I LOVED the parsnip. It was incredibly more-ish.
- Beef tenderloin, potato gratin, mini vegetables and bearnaise sauce – The steak was pretty good and who doesn’t love a creamy potato gratin! I was surprised at how thick the sauce was but found that spreading it across the meat like butter worked really rather well!
Just before the main desserts were served, we got a plate of cheese that we had forgotten all about. Each of these cheeses (and they change seasonally hod a PDO certification, meaning that they can only be produced in a certain region This means they should top-notch! To be totally honest, the brie was a little disappointing. The centre was powdery, as if it had been frozen. However, the blue cheese packed a splendid punch and the hard cheese (sorry, I don’t know what it was) was really delicious. The portion was quite small but we are just quite greedy so maybe it suited everyone else.
For our final course, we had a couple of divine desserts.
- Mr Fluskey chose the praline mille-feuille which wasn’t as tall as I was expecting but had a wonderful nutty flavour and a fantastic texture.
- I opted for the yuzu passion sphere which had a white chocolate ball, packed with incredible sorbet and two sweet, superbly fruity sauces. I really enjoyed the balance between the sweet strawberry and chocolate, and super zingy yuzu and passion fruit.
We were also offered coffee and tea but we decided to just polish off our champagne with a final flourish!
Speaking of flourishes…dessert time is sparkler time! It seemed like there were a few people celebrating special occasions on board. We had a few renditions of Happy Birthday and evening some wedding marches. The people behind us were celebrating an anniversary. So lovely!
Paris has some major tourist landmarks. Iconic structures that make you instantly think of the city. Luckily for us, there are lots of them that line the scene so taking about is the ideal way to see them. Kicking back, with a glass of bubbles in hand, well these monoliths of culture slip by is the most relaxing way to tourist.
The boat started its journey facing away from the Eiffel Tower, floating upstream. After passing under the rather photogenic Pont des Invalides and Pont Alexandre III we all craned our heads left and right but couldn’t quite see Grand Palais or Invalides. I would recommend popping up to the viewing platform if you want to see these.
We floated under a couple more bridges and got a glimpse of Musee d’Orsay. Musee d’Orsay houses a huge collection of art, especially famous for its impressionist works. The building used to be a large train station and you can clearly see the huge old clocks glowing away.
Emerging from the dark, the twin towers of Notre Dame glowed with a golden hue. This gothic cathedral has graced IIe de la Cite since 1160. After the tragic fire of 2019, restoration efforts are moving forward at speed. It seemed so strange to see a giant crane at the rear of the building, bright against the sky. This crane is part-way through a three-month project, to remove the scaffolding used to restore the spire. It will be so wonderful to see the church restored to it former glory.
We were trying to follow along on the map but kept getting distracted by food, drink and chatting. We just got excited when we saw something pretty or interesting. Here’s a few more.
The Eiffel Tower
I don’t know why, but we thought upstairs (the outdoor viewing deck) was shut. Turns out, it was just the spiral staircase that was near our table. As soon as we realised, we grabbed our Champagne and dashed towards the back of the boat and up the stairs. It was FREEZING! Almost literally! Despite being early April, the temperature that night was about 2°C. We tried our best to have some cool pictures with the Eiffel Tower but our hands were genuinely shaking and our bodies were shivering so they were all a little unsteady. Still the thrill of being there was enough to keep us outside for a good 10 minutes.
Luckily, this meant we got to see the Statue of Liberty. No, I am not going mad, there really is a Statue of liberty in Paris. This replica of the lady across the pond, is 1/4 of the size. She was given to France as a thank you gift for the full size beauty they gave the USA a few years before. It’s a bit like giving your grandma a full hamper from Fortnum and Mason, and getting a jar of preserves back a couple of years later.
Final Thoughts on Our Bateaux Mouches Dinner Cruise Review
Honestly, I can’t think of a better way to spend a Parisian evening than enjoying tasty food and doing a spot of sightseeing. What an absolute pleasure to do just that…and to sip on four glasses of Champagne at the same time!
We thoroughly enjoyed our time on board and would love to return (even if it’s just because I was jealous of the people who got giant sparklers).