Where to Find the Best Views in Paris
With a charming café on every corner, elaborate storefronts left and right, and sprawling parks always within walking distance, it’s hard to find a bad angle of Paris. However, finding the perfect panoramic view requires a bit more planning. Thankfully, most of the highest and most spectacular vistas already come attached to one of Paris’ top landmarks. Here’s where to go for the most photogenic viewpoints in the City of Lights.
The Eiffel Tower Summit
Naturally, at the top of the list (and the city).
Whether it’s from the 377-foot (103-meter) 2nd-level observation deck or the 906-foot (276-meter) summit, the 360-degree view from the Eiffel Tower is almost as iconic as the external view of the Iron Lady herself. Take the glass elevator to the top of the tower, and you’ll see the Arc de Triomphe, Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre, Les Invalides, and dozens of other recognizable landmarks. With an abundance of skip-the-line, small-group, private, nighttime, and self-guided Eiffel Tower tours, reaching these great heights couldn’t be simpler, or more adaptable to your plans.
The Arc de Triomphe terrace
Surrounded by the past and present.
Marking the end of the Champs-Élysée, 164 feet (50 meters) above the 12-lane Place Charles de Gaulle roundabout, the Arc de Triomphe presents visitors with a sweeping yet intimate look at Paris. Make the 284-step ascent to the top of the arch by foot, or take an elevator to the attic room, then walk 46 steps to the terrace. Skip-the-line admission tickets, guided tours, and the flexibility to visit at the time of your choosing make it easy to fit this postcard-worthy view into any sightseeing schedule.
Centre Pompidou Paris
The visual experience doesn’t end with the artwork.
Masterworks by Kandinsky, Matisse, and Calle aren’t the only visually pleasing things to see at Centre Pompidou in Paris. This colorful modern art museum also boasts a spectacular panorama of the City of Love from its 5th floor. You can enrich the museum visit with a private or small-group guided tour; with skip-the-line admission, you’ll have plenty of time afterwards to soak in the views and enjoy a leisurely drink at the museum’s terrace restaurant, Le Georges.
Montparnasse Tower Observation Deck
Literary legends aren’t the only lofty draw.
Home to the catacombs of Paris, Hemingway’s favorite café, and high-end retail stores, the Montparnasse neighborhood also proudly offers one of the best—and most overlooked—viewpoints in town. Visitors can enjoy sweeping city views from the Montparnasse Observation Deck, including unobstructed visibility of the Eiffel Tower. Perched on the 56th floor at 689 feet (210 meters), the observation deck is second only to the Eiffel Tower’s summit as a Parisian lookout.
The Seine River
A UNESCO World Heritage–listed view.
Of course, you don’t have to be above sea level to soak in the sights of Paris. A leisurely Seine River cruise along the city’s river banks puts Parisian landmarks like the Louvre Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral, and Île de la Cité front and center. With cruises running from morning to night, hop-on, hop-off tickets, and candlelit dinner options, it’s a sightseeing opportunity that can suit any budget, interest, or itinerary.
Bohemia from above.
Resting atop Paris’ vibrant Montmartre, the Sacré-Coeur Basilica guarantees exceptional beauty from the outside, inside, and at the top. The 300-step climb to the basilica’s dome is well worth the reward of the panoramic view of the city. Before making the 272-foot (83-meter) ascent, be sure to explore the famous neighborhood and stop for a coffee at one of its charming cafés. Many group tours and private tours of Montmartre also include a guided visit inside the basilica, plus free time to climb to the top.
La Grande Arche de La Défense
View from a cube.
In addition to bragging rights to a stellar 360-degree view of Paris, La Grand Arche de La Défense also holds the title of the largest rooftop in town. Looking out 361 feet (110 meters) above the city’s bustling business district, visitors can traverse a 320-foot (100-meter) footbridge spanning the building. A skip-the-line ticket lets you bypass any long waits and grants entry to the modern landmark whenever it suits your schedule. You’ll also gain access to any exhibits taking place at the time of your visit.
From the air
A Parisian pigeon’s point of view.
While the Eiffel Tower may be Paris’ tallest structure, there’s one viewpoint that’s higher still. Visitors who like a thrill can see the City of Love from several thousand feet in the air on a round-trip helicopter tour to the Palace of Versailles. In addition to soaring over La Défense, Montparnasse, Place du Trocadéro, and numerous other Paris landmarks, passengers will get a birds-eye view of King Louis XIV’s 17th-century residence, all within a couple of hours.