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You probably already have a few ideas in mind on what to explore during your trip to Paris. However, no Paris visit is complete without admiring this city’s beauty from above. To get a truly magical sight on Paris, make sure to add at least one Paris’ viewpoint to your program.
But… where to find the best spots to take in a perfect view of Paris?
Read on to know the best spots and viewpoints in Paris. Magical moments guaranteed!
The best viewpoints of Paris
There is no ONE best spot to enjoy a Panorama of Paris.. the following places are not listed in order of preference – each of them is worth a visit!
The Eiffel Tower is obviously the most iconic viewpoint of Paris and indeed the most visited sight in Paris. More than 7 million visitors are getting up Paris’ landmark yearly and they can’t be wrong. Can they?
Visiting the Eiffel Tower is one of the highlights of every Paris trip but considering the density of excellent viewpoints in Paris, it’s maaaaaybe a wee bit of an overrated one as well.
If you are short on time, money, or both, the Eiffel Tower is a sight that you can skip with ease. Really.
Otherwise, make sure to plan your Eiffel Tower trip ahead of time! It’s almost impossible to get tickets on short notice!
Or get your tickets directly here:
The Galeries Lafayette is a good address for shopping - if you like luxury labels, high-end brands, beauty products ...and department stores. The interior of the Galeries Lafayette is beautiful, especially the glass dome ceiling is stunning!
However, personally, I would not advise the Galeries Lafayette as Paris must-visit for shopping. It is insanely crowded and way too warm. You either will wait for ages for elevators or will be covered in sweat when taking the stairs (that HEAT!).
But... I still would like to recommend - and this is indeed a nice thing to do - to go through all the struggles and visit the rooftop of the Galeries Lafayette!
The rooftops of the Galeries Lafayette are less of a hidden gem than they were some years ago, but they are definitely a spot you should not miss. Just head up to the upper floor and enjoy the beautiful panorama over Paris.
The access to the rooftop of the Galerie Lafayette is free!
Good to Know: The entrance to the Tour Montparnasse is free if you are holding the Paris Pass! Learn more about it here.
The Tour Montparnasse is the 2nd highest building in Paris - after the Eiffel Tower of course. With its whopping 231m, the Montparnasse Tower was even France's highest skyscraper until 2011!
It has to be said, the Tour Montparnasse is not a pretty building. It is as ugly as an office building can be got even elected several times as the ugliest building of Paris.
It received so much negative publicity due to it being allegedly an eyesore in the Parisian cityscape, that the construction of houses of more than seven stories got banned from the city center.
I am not selling the Tour Montparnasse very well, am I?
But if you are looking for a top spot (and photo location!) with a view over Paris and the Eiffel Tower, the Tour Montparnasse is where you wanna go!
It's also a bit of a secret tip: Almost no waiting time! Click here to see their rates and to prepurchase your ticket!
Arc de Triomphe
Good to Know: The entrance to the Arc de Triomphe is free if you are holding the Paris Pass! Learn more about it here.
On the western end of the Champs Elysée lays the world's most famous roundabout - the Place Charles de Gaulle. It is a huge intersection of 12 straight Avenues with the Arc de Triomphe throning in its center.
Commissioned by Napoleon in 1806 and finally inaugurated 30 years later, it honors all those that fought and died for France during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. In the vault under the Arc lays the tomb of an unknown soldier of World War I and an eternal flame burns in memory of the never identified deads of both World Wars.
Enough with the history lesson. The Arc de Triomphe is around 50m high and qualifies as an excellent viewpoint. Especially the panoramic view over the massive roundabout at your feet is worth the visit - observing how drivers are navigating their vehicles fearlessly through this chaos is an entertaining spectacle! Get your tickets here!
Tip: Don't ever try to cross the roundabout by feet! There are underground passages that lead to the Arc de Triomphe. I had trouble finding them at first but they are located on both, the right top ends of the Champs Élysée and Avenue de la Grande-Armée.
Printemps Roof Top Bar
Printemps is one of the big department stores on Boulevard Haussmann, located Just next to the Galeries Lafayette. As it's less iconic - also less pretty - than their famous neighbor, you won't find it as crowded, but you still have a huge range of brands and stores to shop from.
But we're at viewpoints! The upper floor of the Printemps department store is a rooftop bar. It is not a budget-friendly place but honestly, it's not insanely expansive neither and the view over Paris is really nice. Depending on the weather, you can sit inside or outside.
Adress: 64, boulevard Haussmann, Metro station Havre-Caumartin
Belleville is much under the radar of most Paris visitors. The neighborhood in the east of Paris is located around one of the hills of Paris and has the reputation to be a bit rough around the edges. Well, it's clearly not the fancy 16th arrondissement but definitely one of the most lively and charming parts of Paris.
Belleville is a melting pot of different ethnicities and cultures, art - especially street art - and a somewhat authentic Paris.
Best you get out at Metro station Belleville or Couronne and explore the area by feet.
There are many reasons to visit Belleville - be it to explore Paris off the beaten track, to visit the cemetery Pére Lachaise that is just around the corner, or to see the best of Paris' street art. But no matter why you come to the east of Paris, do get up the stairs of the Parc of Belleville!
One side of the hill of Belleville is covered by the Parc de Belleville. On 104m it's the highest parc in Paris and it has also the longest waterfall fountain in Paris, 100m! (fun fact of the day!)
The summit grants you a wonderful view over the central and southern parts of Paris. And if you got tired from the march up, there are some really nice beer gardens just a few meters from the summit!
The Sacre Coeur
The Sacre Coeur can't be missing on this list of best viewpoints in Paris. This famous basilica is located on the very top of Montmartre, the highest hill in Paris. It goes without saying that an excellent view over the city of love is granted from there. You see it all - the Panthéon, Notre Dame, Centre Pompidou, and even the Eiffel Tower... and of course millions of Parisian rooftops.
To take in this special view, take a seat on the steps in front of the church. It's a great people-watching spot and you get most of the time entertained by buskers and street performers.
If you did not bring yourself a drink, don't hesitate to buy beer or softs from one of the flying traders... it seems dodgy and probably is a bit, but they are not ripping you off. Last time I checked the prices were fair.
Let's stay in the area! The Sacre Coeur is not the only good viewpoint in Montmartre... there are actually plenty! Just stroll along the cobbled stoned roads and you'll be awarded with marvelous views all along the way. There isn't one spot I can particularly point out, the best views pop up suddenly in between houses or unexpectedly through doors that got left open.
Good to Know: The entrance to the Panthéon is free if you are holding the Paris Pass! Learn more about it here.
The Panthéon was originally planned as a church, commissioned by King Louis XV. However, by the time it was built, the French Revolution has begun and the national assembly voted to convert the church into a mausoleum.
And it remained one until today and is the honorable last resting place of many important Frenchmen - and women(!).
The Panthéon is located in the heart of the Latin Quarter on the Saint-Geneviève hill. And due to it's elevated ground an excellent viewpoint in Paris.
The beautiful Butte Chaumont
One more hill in Paris... actually the 3rd highest hill of Paris and located in the northeast. Luckily steep elevations are not great as building grounds and so Paris got another beautiful park - commissioned by Napoleon III.
In my opinion, the Butte Chaumont is the most magnificent park in Paris and the most versatile as well. You find not only greens and trees and flowers.. no, but you also have a grotto, a waterfall, a lake, a Roman temple, a suspension bridge designed by Gustave Eiffel! ..
...and last but not least: A beautiful view over Paris' north, most prominent the Sacre Coeur and Montmartre.
The Coulée Verte, also known as the promenade plantée is something like the Highline in New York. An old train track that got transformed into a leisure spot. Even though it's not offering a view over the roofs of Paris - it's simply not high enough - the elevated perspective is a nice change from seeing Paris from street level.
To know more about the Coulée Verte, click here.
Good to Know: The entrance to the Centre Pompidou in included in the Paris Pass! Learn more about it here.
The contemporary Art Gallery is an interesting building. It stands in total contrast to basically everything else in Paris - are you wondering how to recognize it? watch out for big blue and red pipes!
The best way of enjoying the view from Centre Pompidou is certainly to book a table at the rooftop restaurant "George". However, it's without a doubt cheaper just to head up to the panorama terrasse.
Good to Know: The entrance to the Musée d'Orsay is free if you are holding the Paris Pass! Learn more about it here.
The Musée d'Orsay is - next to the Louvre - one of the most important museums in Paris. While the Louvre focuses on "old" art, the Musée d'Orsay focuses on exhibits from 1800 -1900. The museum is located in an old train station and the building resembles still its original function. So it's not surprising that you find an enormous clock within its walls - through which you can see the Louvre! It's one of the most popular foto spots in Paris!
Do you know of any other great viewpoint in Paris that I didn't list here? Please share in the comments, I can't wait to know more!
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