Paris is a beautiful and awe-inspiring city. While most of your time spent will surely be spent wandering the quaint cobblestone streets and taking in the beauty from street level, there are several epics places to gain an enchanting view of the entire city from above. Read on to discover our top seven choices for the best views in Paris.
Hey, we sell tours too!
While the information in this blog is free, we also sell tours at very reasonable prices. Among other Paris Tours, we arrange a Seine River Cruise and visit the Eiffel Tower at night. Sip champagne as you cruise down the Seine and take in all the best sights of the city. Then, skip the line at the Eiffel Tower and go to the top to check out the magical views.
1. Eiffel Tower
The most obvious choice to go to in Paris for great views is the city’s famous Iron Lady: the Eiffel Tower. You can either go to the second level (accessible by stairs or elevator) or to the third and final level (accessible only by elevator). This is also one of the best places to access some of the best views of Paris at night. Not only is the Eiffel Tower at night lit up from sunset to 1 A.M., but it also twinkles for five minutes every hour on the hour.
While many visitors like to go to the final level to say they’ve been all the way to the top, it’s worth noting that while you can see farther out from the 3rd level, everything will be much smaller since you’re higher up. The viewing space from the 3rd level is also quite a bit smaller than the one on the 2nd level, so if you’re scared of heights, you might not want to venture all the way up. Whichever level you choose, we highly recommend buying tickets in advance through the official Eiffel Tower website. If you want someone else to handle the skip the line tickets and reservations, The Tour Guy offers an Eiffel Tower tour that begins with a Seine River cruise at sunset.
2. Notre Dame
Our personal favorite spot for the best views in Paris is from Notre Dame. Notre Dame Cathedral is ideally located in the epicenter of Paris, along the Seine River. Because of this, it offers unmatched, panoramic views of the entire city. When you climb Notre Dame, you can also access the bell tower. Here, gain an up close and personal time with some of the cathedral’s bells. They weigh up to 13 tons!
Keep in mind though, there’s no elevator to access the Notre Dame viewing terrace. If you’re keen on doing the climb, 422 stairs await you. If this is something you want to try, we highly recommend booking in advance from the official website.
You may also purchase tickets using machines located on the right exterior side of the cathedral.
3. Montparnasse Tower
If it’s your first time visiting Paris, chances are at some point you’ll find yourself wondering “What is that big, ugly black tower over there?”. When the Montparnasse Tower was erected in 1973, it provoked such anger that the city passed a 40 year law banning any new buildings over seven stories tall. Today, most people like to say that the Montparnasse Tower offers some of the best views in Paris. This is because when you’re standing on top of the tower you can’t see it! While the tower stands out like a sore thumb in beautiful Paris, there’s no denying that this building is worth a visit for the views. On the 56th floor (there’s a total of 59 floors), there’s a restaurant called “Le Ciel de Paris”. So, along with epic views, have an outstanding French culinary experience.
4. Montmartre – the Sacré-Coeur
Located in the 18th arrondissement of Paris is the quaint neighborhood of Montmartre, filled with winding streets perfect for wandering. What many may not realize is that this neighborhood is located on a large hill. The most famous view from this area is from stairs located in front of the Sacre Coeur Basilica.
Free to access and easy to locate, both Parisians and tourists enjoy sitting on these stairs with a drink or snack. If the stairs aren’t your style, you can also climb the dome of the Sacre Coeur Basilica, which will give you an even higher viewpoint. Travel Tip: there are a lot of stairs (about 270 to be exact) to get to the foot of the basilica. If you’re feeling tired, there is a funicular which will take you to the top of the hill. The cost of the ride is one metro ticket.
5. Arc de Triomphe
The construction of the Arc de Triomphe was ordered by the famous French Emperor Napoleon in 1806, although he would never live to see it upon its completion in 1836. The Arc offers a fascinating view of some of the city’s most iconic boulevards, including the Champs-Élysées.
Driving the roundabout that encircles the Arc de Triomphe is a daunting task for most drivers, and you’ll get to see this firsthand.
When you’re at the top, don’t forget to look down to watch the cars weaving in and out as each they attempt to navigate the traffic. Travel Tip: To get to the top of this monument, you’ll need to climb 284 steps. There is an elevator available, but it is only offered to those with limited mobility.
6. Balloon Generali
What’s that you say? A hot air balloon ride in Paris? Yes, it’s possible! Many tourists have no clue that a hot air balloon ride awaits them in Paris’s André-Citroën Park, and for only about 12 euros. The weather conditions determine whether the balloon will take flight or not, so check the official website on a daily basis, especially in the winter months. The balloon reaches heights of about 500 feet (150 meters), which provides a real bird’s eye view of Paris.
7. Galeries Lafayette Store
The Galeries Lafayette is Paris’s most famous department store. On the 7th and final floor of the Coupole building, a large terrace has been set up with a bar and viewing balcony. (Don’t worry, it is not necessary to purchase food or drink in order to enjoy the view)! In order to access the balcony, simply find the escalators inside and take them all the way to the top floor. This is especially true for the infamous Opera Garnier, home of the “Phantom of the Opera”, which is located right next to the Galeries Lafayette. This is also a great way to get a view in Paris without spending money – unless, of course, you can’t resist doing some shopping on your way up the escalators!
I Want More Paris!
- Not sure what to do in Paris? Check out our step-by-step guide about how to do Paris in a Day. If you’d rather let us guide you, check out our Paris tours.
- Parlez-Vous Francais? Learn some of the most important French phrases before your trip to Paris.
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