A family weekend along the Seine

From Île Saint-Germain to Louveciennes, take a weekend out to explore with the family – and why not spend the night on a barge?
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  3. A family weekend along the Seine

As the Seine leaves Paris westwards, it becomes part of the country landscape once again, ideal for nature pursuits. Here is a proposal for a weekend on the river, follow the guide!

Stay standing, stay afloat

Try your hand at paddle boarding on the Seine with the Happy Seine organisation, which runs outings from Pont d’Issy (between Issy-les-Moulineaux and Boulogne-Billancourt). Standing balanced on your board, the Parisian ring road behind you, discover the charming green banks of Île Saint-Germain, dotted with colourful barges, then the iconic Île Seguin, once the site of the Renault factories and now dominated by the famous Seine Musicale and its revolutionary architecture (2017). Stunning in the morning light.

Seine Musicale

A gourmet isle

Back on dry land, you’ll probably have built up an appetite. For lunch, head to Île Saint-Germain where the Restaurant L’Île offers a wonderful sun room overlooking the surrounding natural environment. Children will love the large terrace and the seasonal menu has something for everyone.

An idyllic escape

Stay on the island to explore the vast Île Saint-Germain park, a hidden gem on the edge of Paris. Just imagine: 20 hectares of lush greenery made up of themed gardens, sweeping meadows and leafy paths. Kids will love the playgrounds and can enjoy a pony ride with theÎle Saint-Germain pony club.

Check out the sculptures

Explore the park and see if you can find Tour aux Figures, an emblematic work of art by Jean Dubuffet (1988). Download the Géosculpture app (free on AppStore and Google Play) to learn more about the amazing monument and find other sculptural treasures in Hauts-de-Seine Yvelines (you could even with a prize!). Follow the guide from Île Seguin where you can seek out another masterpiece, The Thumb, by César, which stands proudly before the Seine Musicale. Thumbs up for this 6-metre-high thumb!

Tour Figures Ile St Germain

Be a sailor for a night

To round off your day by the Seine, what better than a night on the river? At Louveciennes (17 km west of Boulogne-Billancourt), take the helm of an authentic barge converted into a comfortable dwelling. Rustle up some dinner then sleep onboard, lulled by the gentle lapping of the Seine.

A morning with the Impressionists

Moored at Louveciennes, here you in the heart of a region of artists, from Money to Sisley. The great Impressionists of the late 19th century loved the banks of the Seine, the charming green surroundings and the shimmering silver reflections. A wonderful demonstration is to be found in Musée Fournaise, on Île des Impressionnistes at Chatou (6 km upstream from Louveciennes), where you can enjoy an immersive experience exploring the work of Auguste Renoir. Even your young children will be dazzled by the holograms!

Luncheon of the Boating Party

Renoir used the balcony of Maison Fournaise as inspiration for his famous “Luncheon of the Boating Party” in 1880. Relive the scene as you sit down at the nearby Les Rives de la Courtille restaurant. The terrace, located on the water’s edge, exudes timeless charm and the children’s menu is just ideal!

Boating history

There is another opportunity to journey back in time on Île des Impressionnistes with the Sequana association which restores and rebuilds some of the boats that would have sailed on the Seine in the past, such as skiffs, punts, canoes and sailing boats. Their wooden constructions, which you can admire during a highly informative visit, are a bit like a giant Meccano set.

A pictorial excursion

Complete your Impressionist expedition by taking the Monet circuit from Chatou to Bougival. As you follow the riverside path (3.5km; electric bicycles available to hire from the Chatou tourist information office in summer), you’ll discover the landscapes depicted by the painter from the very spots he placed his easel.

Chemin des Impressionnistes

Zodiac boat excursions

Finally, enjoy one last boat trip on a Zodiac inflatable vessel at Nautic Park in Bougival: here the riverbanks remain surprising unspoilt and you’ll feel as if you’re sailing through an Impressionist painting. A wonderful outdoor introduction to art!

Top tip

To benefit from reduced rates on your Musée Fournaise tickets and activities at Nautic Park in Bougival, opt for the Pass Malin Hauts-de-Seine-Yvelines, free of charge.

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  • Copyright image: JARRY-TRIPELON / CRT Paris Ile-de-France