Every good Paris trip must be seasoned with at least a peep from above at the city you have been admiring from within. These views always manage to put things into perspective and they offer you the chance to get lost in your own thoughts for five seconds while the others are taking pictures. Feel like taking a well deserved break from the hustle of the city at the ground level? We have prepared a list of 11 places that offer a panoramic or bird’s eye view of Paris. The good thing is that you have more than one option, so you can work this into several routes around the city area.
1. Tour Eiffel
View from the Tour Eiffel
Let’s face it. No matter what we tell you, this will be the first thing you do as soon as you arrive in Paris for the first time. No matter how long you are there for, you will wait in line and you will go up that elevator to see from above a city you have not even discovered from below yet. Depending on how many people are already waiting in line, it could take you a minimum of 30 minutes to get to the elevator. If you do not want to wait or you have a fear of being crammed in a small metal elevator along with a lot of other people, you can go up the stairs. That is up some 1700 steps. The tower is open from 9 AM to midnight from mid-June to early September and it closes one hour early the rest of the year. Taking the elevator all the way to the top costs €17 for adults.
2. Tour Montparnasse
View of Paris from the Tour de Montparnasse (Photo by Joshua [email protected])
When you say Paris, everybody expects an image with the Eiffel Tower smacked in the middle. So this is the main disadvantage of seeing Paris from above from the Eiffel Tower – there is no Eiffel Tower in the picture. The Tour de Montparnasse is a much better option. There is an inside observatory with a 360 view of the entire city as well as an outside deck for those who do not care about the weather. Tickets cost €15.
3. Parc Belleville
The view from Belleville park is amazing. Situated at 108 meters above sea level, the park is a godsent for locals in the area who want to enjoy the sight of their city without having to queue in line with all the tourists for everything. Being a park, there is no admission fee.
4. Centre Pompidou
The view from the fifth floor of the Pompidou Center you will enjoy. You either get to see the exhibits of modern art and top it all with this amazing view, or you can simply pay a €3 admission fee to go straight up.
5. Sacré Coeur
There is nothing more incredible to experience in Paris than the view of Montmartre from the Basilica of Sacré Coeur. It is 130 meters above the ground and it is THE place to get that postcard perfect picture. If you are lucky enough, some street musician might perform La vie En Rose to really get you in the mood. There is no admission fee to sit on the stairs of the Basilica.
6. Arc de Triomphe
La Défense financial district seen from the Arc de Triomphe
The Arc de Triomphe is not a tall construction compared to the towers which offer a bird’s eye view of Paris. However, its location more than makes up for it. Situated at the crossroads of all important Parisian streets, at the end of the Avenue des Champs Élysées, it has an unobstructed view of the main attractions. Night time is best for this type of sightseeing. Access is done by underground passageway. Tickets can be bought in the passageway as well and they cost €12.
7. Galeries Lafayette
The roof-top terrace of the Galeries Lafayette offers a 360 degree view of the city and it comes with another plus: not many people know they have this option so there are no swarms of tourists waiting in line for minutes to take a few pictures. Yet. Admission is free and the view is worth the trip.
8. Teracce du Printemps Haussmann
Another hidden gem of Parisian rooftops is the Teracce du Printemps Haussmann. This is another department store deck with an accessible, free and not yet crowded rooftop. If you like, there is a chic café at the ninth floor of the department store.
9. Parc de Butte Chaumont
If the trip to this parc will not leave you speechless due to its unique scenery, then the view of Paris will. It is the 5th largest park in Paris and there is no charge for access, as expected.
10. Notre Dame
You can climb 422 steps from the North tower of the Notre Dame Cathedral toward the Western side of the façade and enjoy a breathtaking view of the old city. And since you are up there, make your way up the narrow staircase toward the south tower and snap a close up of one of those gargoyles.
11.Tour Saint Jacques
The tower is 52 meters high and it is the last remaining part of the Church of Saint-Jacques de la Boucherie, demolished in 1797 during the French Revolution. It will cost you €10 to go up the tower and admire the view.
You simply cannot complete your Paris trip without feasting your eyes at least once at such scenery. Take pictures, do not take pictures, but be sure to take everything in. It would be a great finishing touch on a life enriching experience in the most romantic and timeless city in the world.