The 7 Best Spots To View Paris From Above.
One of the best ways to get an overview of a city is to simply set the bar a little bit higher. In Paris, there are lots of opportunities to see a whole new aspect of the city … for example through the bird’s eye perspective. This way, you’ll not only get to see all sights at once, but also get an impression on the size of this mega-city.
Some of the spots are pretty obvious, others not so well-known. Of course you can also book yourselves into a roof-top apartment, but unless you won the lottery, one of these will do just fine:
1. View Paris From The Eiffel Tower.
It figures that I’d start with this one. After all, we’re talking about the city of love and what would it be without the world-famous Eiffel Tower? Honestly, I think that the Eiffel Tower is overrated, yet somehow you’re drawn to it when visiting Paris…
I heard that in general you need to calculate about 20-30 minutes of waiting in line. Then you can either walk (1655-1710 steps all the way to the top, depending on which side you try, so you better be sporty!) or take the elevator. I really wanted to walk up there, but since it was a warm & sunny Saturday afternoon, about a million other people had the same thought. This meant that the 20-30 minutes turned into more than an hour. So I skipped this part, yet I’m sure that the view must be absolutely stunning … but, as the saying goes “There’s plenty more fish in the sea.”
2. View Paris From The Basilica of Sacré-Cœur.
The Basilica of Sacré-Cœur is a must-see destination for ever tourist who visits Paris. It’s just slightly over 80 meters high, which normally doesn’t make the best viewing spot, but because it’s located at the top of Montmartre hill, it’s actually Paris’ second highest point (approx. 210 metres). On a clear day, you’ll have an amazing 360° view over the entire city.
The way up to the top is pretty tight, so if you’re claustrophobic, better stay on the ground – from there you’ll still have a wonderful view (which you’ll share with what felt like a million other people though).
Come at the right time:
- With a bit of luck (which we had), you might just get to see the world-famous freestyle football player Iya Traoré do his magic… More on this in a separate article :)
3. View Paris From The Arc de Triomphe.
The Arc de Triomphe is nowhere near the tallest building in Paris (it’s only about 50 metres high); it’s the location that makes it a favourite viewpoint. It’s located right at the end of the Champs-Élysées captivated by a gigantic roundabout, which forms part of an axis that leads from the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel to la Grande Arche de la Défense.
Until I found the tunnel opening at the near end of the Champs-Élysées, I always wondered how you can actually access it, because there’s no cross-walk and I’ve never seen any suicidal person running across is. But, luckily I found it :) In the tunnel-way you can buy the entrance ticket to go up the stairs.
The view is amazing – especially at night – with the swarming traffic below that reaches the roundabout from all points of the compass.
4. View Paris From The Centre Pompidou.
The Pompidou is the city’s leading modern art museum located in the 4th Arrondissement, Marais. It’s famous known for show-casing artists like Jackson Pollock or Andy Warhol, but it has another asset … the stunning view.
Simply take the escalator to the fifth floor and start shooting, without having to save your place for hours in advance.
5. View Paris From Galeries Lafayette.
The world-famous Galeries Lafayette department store is well known among Parisians and visitors for the wide variety of products they offer, and for their glamorous window displays. However, fewer people know that there is a wonderful roof-top terraces, which accessible for the public – for free! You get a wonderful 360 degree view over the surrounding Paris skyline.
6. View Paris From Butte Bergeyre.
There are many spectacular views in Paris that tourists have claimed. Most of them mentioned above. But there’s one spot that is actually still a hidden secret, even for Parisians.
Butte Bergeyre, a quiet hilltop village hidden in the 19th arrondissement, is accessible only by three staircases or a single winding road. Once you reach the top of the stairs, a rewarding view awaits, including one of the few vineyards left in Paris.
7. View Paris From Tour Montparnasse.
I saved the best view for last. Tour Montparnasse definitely offers the most remarkable panoramic view of Paris (it covers a radius of 40 km). The Eiffel Tower might give you the same, yet the difference is that you won’t have to stand in line for hours, because many tourists don’t know that this rather ugly looking tower can actually be visited. Some people tend to say that the view from the top is the most beautiful in Paris, because it is the only place from which the tower itself cannot be seen… no further explanation needed, right?
Tour Montparnasse is a 210 metre high structure which is located in an area, where most buildings don’t rise above 30 metres. Naturally you’ll think to yourself “Why by all means has this building been built right here?“. Well, you’re not the only one thinking that. The tower’s simple architecture and large proportions have often been criticised, because it simply looks out of place in Paris’s urban landscape. Only two years after its completion (1972), the construction of skyscrapers in the city centre was banned… Still, the tower deserves its place simply because of the stunning 360° view it provides. A super-fast lift will take you to the top in 38 seconds (the fastest elevator in Europe btw), where you’ll be able to shoot that one-million-dollar photo from the open air roof terrace.