Paris is nearly always picture perfect. Photos of Paris are incredibly popular on Pinterest, because let’s face it: the city is just gorgeous and completely unique. No matter how you feel about the City of Light, there’s no place in the world quite like Paris.
In honor of Valentine’s Day tomorrow and some friends of mine that are visiting the city this weekend, I want to share my top picks as well as some honorable mentions for where to find the best views in Paris.
If you’re an Amélie fan, you’ll be quite familiar with the amazing panorama that can be had from the famous Sacré-Cœur and the park in front of the basilica.
It’s free to walk up to the Sacré-Cœur and even inside of it (remember to wear appropriate clothing). However, to go even higher, ambitious ones can climb 234 steps to the top of the dome.
Metro: Anvers. Walk up the stairs or use the funicular (costs one metro ticket). Dome is open 9am-530pm and visitors must pay 5 euros each. To avoid crowds, come on a weekday or by 930am on a weekend.
Am I really recommending a department store for one of the best views in Paris? Actually.. I’m recommending two department stores! And since these gigantic shops don’t charge admission, you can visit both for free.
Galeries Lafayette has the best view of the Garnier Opera House, and a good view of the Eiffel Tower.
Metro: Auber or Chaussee d’Antin. Open 930-8pm M-Wed, Fri-Sat (until 9pm Thurs). Take the escalator as far as you can go, and then the stairs to the roof (7th floor).
Just down the street from Galeries Lafayette, Printemps offers a higher vantage point (9th floor) and a bar/cafe with indoor and outdoor seating. Plus, it’s possible to see the Sacré-Cœur from Printemps which is another advantage over Galeries Lafayette.
The sky started sprinkling as we arrived, so we only stayed long enough to snap a few photos and admire the view. But, boy was it magnificent! The Eiffel Tower was all lit up, and the color of the sky? Unbelievable.
Metro: Havre Caumartin. Open From Monday to Saturday from 9:35 a.m. to 8 p.m. Late night Thursdays until 10 p.m. Take the escalators or the lift to the 9th floor.
Higher than the competition (56th floors up!), the view from Montparnasse faces the Eiffel Tower and affords visitors 360° views.
Just a heads up for budget travelers: Montparnasse is one of the more expensive options, but at least the price tag includes the luxury of a lift and a climate controlled room.
Metro: Montparnasse-Bienvenue. Open every day of the year. For current opening times and prices click here.
Okay, this one is cheating a bit because the view isn’t the best for the whole of Paris. But, for a fabulous family shot in front of the Eiffel Tower, the Place du Trocadéro can’t be beat.
It’s free, but beware the competition for photographic space.
Metro: Trocadéro. Open access at all times.
- Eiffel Tower. You know I prefer the view from below, but my way isn’t the only way.
- Arc de Triomphe. A fabulous view of the Champs–Élysées and gorgeously lit up at night.
The Centre Pompidou. Ride the futuristic escalators to the roof for the best view of the Marais.
- Notre Dame Cathedral. Give the kids their own Hunchback of Notre Dame experience and a fantastic look at the Seine.
*All sites listed charge admission to enter the viewing area.
While you won’t find this last one in any guidebook, it just might be the best… There’s no place like your own space, and there’s no better time to see the pink light of Paris than sunrise. Breathtaking, no?