You can get stunning views of Paris from many places, and you don’t have to pay for all of them.
Many dream of traveling to Paris and staying somewhere with views of the Eiffel Tower. If you have a budget to splurge for a room with a view, go for it. But if you need to watch the pennies, you will be relieved to know that there are many places in town where you can catch incredible Paris views.
Whether you are into photography or just want to enjoy the pleasure of recording an image in your mind, Paris won’t disappoint you. Always carry a camera or a smartphone with you to take at least a quick snap of the best Paris views.
Curious to discover the best places for views of the Ville Lumiere? I have you covered!
Where To Get The Best Views Of Paris
The Eiffel Tower
Think about the best views of Paris and chances are that the first thing that comes to mind is the Eiffel Tower. Paris’ most iconic attraction is not only a fantastic sight in and of itself, but also a great vantage point to take in all the views of the city.
I don’t think I need to convince you to get on the Eiffel Tower – I am sure this will likely be the first place you visit in town.
Now, the big question is: should you make the effort (and pay) to get all the way to the summit? Some will tell you that you can get incredible views from level one. Others will try to convince you that the best views are from level two.
I actually believe that the views you get from the summit of the Eiffel Tower are by far the best.
Another question is whether you should go up for sunset or at night, or simply during the day. That is completely up to you. Surely, if you want to get views of the illuminated city, going after dark is a great idea.
Whether you go for sunset or not is a matter of weather too. I was perfectly happy with the morning views I got!
The Eiffel Tower is open daily. Opening hours vary with the season so make sure to check the official site for that.
The Champ de Mars
Right behind the Eiffel Tower, you can freely access the Champ de Mars, a park which was opened in 1780 next to the École Militaire. It’s a great place to get views of the Eiffel Tower, to hang out, to spend an afternoon with family and friends. And it’s 100% free to visit.
One thing to keep in mind is that this is a favorite spot for both locals and tourists, and it can get crowded especially on sunny summer days.
Walk towards the back of the park for the best views of the tower, bring some cheese, bread and wine with you, and a blanket to relax on the grass in perfect Paris fashion.
Across the Seine river from the Eiffel Tower you will get to the Trocadéro. This is one of the undisputed best places for Paris views – especially if you are keen on taking photos of the Eiffel Tower.
The Trocadéro can be accessed freely throughout the day. You may find that it is rather crowded – there were a lot of people when I went, at around 12:30 pm. If you want to have the place to yourself, and an incredible light to capture the Eiffel Tower, make sure to go at sunrise.
The Arc de Triomphe
The views from the Arc the Triomphe are simply stunning. The terrace is at 50 meters (164 feet) above ground, so you won’t be looking too much into the distance.
You get to see the Eiffel Tower, the Champs-Elysees all the way to the Louvre and La Defense, Paris’ modern district packed with skyscrapers. You will also love seeing 12 roads diverging from Etoile, the big junction of roads that all lead to the Arc de Triomphe itself.
If you are keen on seeing the Eiffel Tower beautifully illuminated, plan to visit at night – thankfully it’s open quite late. The views are glorious!
The Arc de Triomphe is open every day from 10:00 am to 10:30 or 11:00 pm, depending on the season. It is closed on 1 January, 1 May, 8 May (morning), 14 July, 11 November (morning) and 25 December. Get tickets in advance here or here.
Le Grande Arche de la Defense
You can see La Defense from the Arc de Triomph and even from the Eiffel Tower, but did you know you can get incredible views from the Observatory Deck of the Grands Arche de la Defense too?
This 110 meters (almost 361 feet) tall skyscraper was built in the 20th century – inaugurated on July 14th, 1989, and has the largest terrace in Paris, with great views of central Paris – including the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Champs-Élysées and the Arc de Triomphe.
It’s a bit of a trip to get there – but it’s worth it, as this is really a non-touristy spot.
Le Grande Arche de la Défense is open Monday to Friday from 9:30 am to 7:00 pm. You can get tickets here.
The Montparnasse Tower
Easily the ugliest building in Paris, the good thing about getting on Montparnasse Tower is that once you are in, you don’t get to see it!
Located in Montparnasse in the 15th arrondissement, this is the perfect spot to catch sunset views over the city – just give yourself plenty of time to be there for sunset. There is a bar where you can get drinks anyways, so you can relax before it’s time to take that perfect shot.
There are two levels you can visit: floor 56, which is basically all enclosed with glass windows, and the Terrace, which is also closed but there are a few openings so you can dodge your camera for views. There also are telescopes to get closer views.
Montparnasse Tower is open every day from 9:30 am to either 10:30 or 11:30 depending on the day and the season. Get your tickets in advance here – opt for the 48 hours ticket which allows you to visit twice on the same day if you are keen on getting the views both during the day and at night.
The Sacre-Coeur steps and dome
The steps of Sacre-Coeur Basilica in Montmartre are supposed to be one of the best viewpoints in Paris. After all, the hill on which the church is located is the highest in the city!
Unfortunately, when I visited the weather was not very cooperative and as there was a fair in Montmartre, so it was terribly crowded (even more than usual) and I couldn’t get to a decent spot for photos without being constantly elbowed and interrupted by someone walking in front of me.
Even then, I was able to see the Centre Pompidou and Notre-Dame on the right, as well as the Invalides, the Eiffel Tower, and the business district of Paris. I know, my photo isn’t the best – so if you do go make sure to send me yours for comparison!
You can access those steps for free, but for better views of Paris and less crowds, you can actually go to the dome of the basilica, located at a nice height of 83 meters (272 feet). I shall warn you though: there is no elevator to the dome. You will have to climb 300 steps to get to the dome, and there is a small fee to pay for that.
The streets of Montmartre
A walk around Montmartre may not reward you with the sweeping views you may get from higher viewpoints in the area, but who says that pretty views are all about panoramas?
In fact, I am a firm believer that even the views of alleys and small squares make for the perfect shot. The views of the colorful buildings, of Sacre-Coeur Basilica, and even of the city in the distance as you wonder the narrow cobbled alleys of Montmartre are just gorgeous.
The Seine River and the bridges
You will find great views of the city along the Seine River, and they are completely free to enjoy!
The many bridges (especially Ponte Alexandre III), Notre-Dame Cathedral (which used to be one of the best places to get Paris views but was unfortunately hit by a fire in April 2019), the Eiffel Tower and much more can be seen by simply walking along the banks of the river.
In fact, for one of the best views of Paris stop at Pont Alexandre III, easily the most famous bridge in the city. From there, you can see the Eiffel Tower in all its glory.
For an even better experience, you should take a Seine river cruise. There are plenty available throughout the day, but for the best experience try to go around sunset time.
Make sure to also read my post How To Pick The Best Seine River Cruise In Paris.
The Pompidou Center is a National Museum of Modern Art and Europe’s largest modern art museum. Inside you will find the work of artists such as Picasso, Matisse, Kandinsky.
But to make your experience even better, you can ride the elevators and get to the upper level from where you can enjoy views of the Eiffel Tower. What’s actually great about it is that you don’t even have to visit the museum to access the observation deck.
Pompidou Center is open Wednesdays to Mondays from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm. It closes at 11:00 pm on Thursdays. You can get your tickets here.
The Musee d’Orsay is one of the best museums in Paris, with a fantastic collection of impressionist art with works of the likes of Monet, Manet, Renoir and more.
What many don’t know is that you can actually get incredible views from there, through the clock on the upper level. You’ll get to see all the way to Montmartre and the Sacre Coeur Basilica.
Musee d’Orsay is open every day from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm. On Thursdays it closes at later hours. It is closed on Mondays. Make sure to get tickets in advance before you go. You can get them here.
The Paris Pantheon
Not many tourists actually visit Paris Pantheon, but did you know it actually offers some of the best views in the city? In fact, from its Dome you can appreciate views of the Latin Quarter, Luxembourg Gardens, Eiffel Tower and even Notre Dame.
The Dome is accessed via a steep staircase of 276 steps. Once up, you will be rewarded with stunning views and the best part of it is that contrary to other popular viewpoints in Paris, this one is not crowded at all – in fact, only 50 people are allowed on the Dome at the same time.
The Pantheon is open every day from 10:00 am to 6:00 or 6:30 pm depending on the season, however the Dome is only accessible between April and October. You can get tickets to the Pantheon here however keep in mind they don’t include access to the Dome for which there is a separate, additional fee.
The Haussmann Rooftop Terrace at Galeries Lafayette
For one of the best (and free) views of Paris, go to the Galeries Lafayette Haussmann. This is one of the most famous (and luxurious) department stores in Paris, and you will surely have heard about it.
What most don’t know is that there is a terrace on the 7th floor from where you can see the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Palais Garnier and other important landmarks in the city.
The rooftop terrace at Printemps Haussmann
The upper level terrace of this shopping mall offers great views spanning from the Opera to the Eiffel Tower, from La Defense to the Sacre Coeur, and it is completely free to access. It’s actually quite close to the more famous Galeries Lafayette so you can easily go to both even on the same day.
The Brasserie Printemps on the terrace is also great lunch spot – nothing better than a meal with a view!
One of Paris’ many rooftop bars
If you would like to enjoy the views of Paris with a drink in hand, head to one of the many rooftop bars in the city – there certainly is no shortage of good bars with a view in this incredible city.
Here are some I recommend:
La Terrasse at Hotel Raphael: if you have the budget to splurge, this is definitely the best place to have a drink with a view. You will fid it close to the Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Élysées, offering stunning views the views over the Eiffel Tower and the skyline of Paris skyline.
Khayma Rooftop Bar: In a city that is so expensive, it’s refreshing to find Khayma Rooftop bar on Generator Paris hostel, which offers drinks for a reasonable price. You don’t have to actually stay there to get drinks and views. From the terrace, you can see all the way to the Sacré Coeur and Montmartre.
Terrass” Hôtel Bar: this nice bar is located in the Terrass” Hôtel Montmartre. You can sip excellent cocktails while taking in the views of the Eiffel Tower.
Your hotel room
Ok, so this is not a given. You will have to really look for a room with a view and chances are you will have to pay dearly for that – but if you can afford it, definitely opt to wake up to the best views of Paris!
However, I have good news. While you may not be able to afford a hotel with views of Paris, you may indeed be able to enjoy those perfect views from the hotel terrace: many places will allow non-guests on their terraces and bars, as long as you get a drink or a snack.
Another hotel you may wish to consider for a memorable stay or even just for a drink are Hôtel Balzac, in the area of the Champs-Élysées and offering impressive views of the Eiffel Tower.
There also is the Hotel Kimpton St Honoré Paris, from where you can see the Opéra Garnier and the Tuileries Gardens, as well as the Eiffel Tower. Its rooftop bar Sequoia is one of the best in Paris.
For a selection of hotels with views of the Eiffel Tower, click here.
The Ballon the Paris
Located in the Parc Andre Citroen in the 15h arrondissement since 1999, the Ballon de Paris is a fantastic vantage point to enjoy views of the city. Not many people actually know about it, so you won’t really have to beat the crowds. However, this sort of attraction is very much depending on the weather so if it rains or it is windy you won’t be able to ride.
The Parc de Belleville
You will find the Parc de Belleville – the highest park in Paris – in the 20th arrondissement. This lesser known spot is another wonderful, quite place in the city to enjoy pretty views.
Go there for a walk, with a picnic basket and a blanket, and take the time to relax and enjoy the incredible views. You can get unobstructed views of the Eiffel Tower from the summit of the hill.
A Note On Notre Dame
You will by now have noticed that I don’t mention the Towers of Notre Dame Cathedral as one of the best viewpoints in Paris. That’s because following the terrible fire of April 2019 the church and the towers are currently closed for restoration works. Rumors suggest they will open again in 2024, but there is no official information yet.
Having said that, should you be in town when Notre Dame is finally open to the public again, definitely plan to visit!
The views of Paris from the 69 meters (226 feet) tall towers is out of this world. You can see the Eiffel Tower, the Sacré Coeur, and the Seine river. Keep in mind you will have to climb 387 steps to the top!
If you are planning a trip to Paris, you should definitely read these other posts:
- 33 Incredible Places To Visit In Paris
- The Best Paris Travel Tips
- The Best Museums In Paris
- Seven Smart Ways To Get Versailles Tickets And Skip The Line
- Seven Smart Ways To Get Eiffel Tower Tickets And Skip The Lines
- Nine Smart Ways To Get Tickets To The Louvre And Skip The Line
- Eight Incredibly Smart Ways To Get Musee D’Orsay Tickets And Skip The Lines
- 27 Cool Things To Do In Montmartre, Paris
- A Week In Paris Itinerary: What To See And Do
- A Wonderful Itinerary For 5 Days In Paris
- A Fantastic Itinerary To See Paris In 4 Days
- Paris In 3 Days: A Great Itinerary To Make The Most Of It
- A Fabulous Itinerary For 2 Days In Paris
- The Perfect Itinerary To See Paris In A Day
- 15 Amazing Day Trips From Paris
- A Guide To The 5 Best Cities To Visit In France
- How To Avoid The Most Common Paris Scams
- How To Get From Charles De Gaulle Airport CDG To Paris