Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Bateaux-mouches literally translates into "fly boat." There is some debate over the origin of that phrase. Some say it comes from the name of the founder of the oldest operating cruise line, la Compagnie des Bateaux-Mouches , Jean-Sébastien Mouche. But most believe it was derived from the name of the marshy areas of the river valley near Lyon, which were called "mouches" and attracted a number of flies. Much of the marshland has been drained, but one of Lyon's neighborhoods is still called "la Mouche" today.
These boats have become a celebrated staple of tourism in Paris. Seating hundreds of people, the boats provide an open upper deck and an enclosed lower deck, complete with tour guide. Many companies offer lunch and dinner cruises.
Since the Seine is centrally situated in Paris, a one-hour boat tour covers a great deal of the city. Both the Left Bank, or the Rive Gauche, and the Right Bank, or the Rive Droit, are visible from the boat. Passengers can see, among other sites, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Alexander III Bridge , and the reknowned Louvre Museum. Passengers can also see the Les Invalides, where Napoleon's tomb resides.
These sorts of tours have flourished since World War II, and though it is the oldest such company, the Bateaux-Mouches Company has seen significant competition. Over the years, the term bateaux-mouches has come to mean all such boats catering to tourists on the Seine.
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