There's so much to see in Paris that it's best to know where to look. In this post I 'll tell you about ten must-see places from which to enjoy unique views. If you want to know where to take the best panoramic photos of the city or where to take an unforgettable souvenir, read on!
In this list you'll find tourist viewpoints and other more hidden spots, places to enjoy the heights or at ground level, from monuments or in the open air. What they all have in common is that they offer a unique and spectacular view of one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Enjoy them all!
1. The Eiffel Tower: first floor and summit
The Eiffel Tower is the most famous monument in Paris and the one you cannot miss for any reason when you travel to the French capital. At 324 metres high, it also offers two unrivalled vantage points overlooking the city.
To enjoy the views of the Eiffel Tower you can go up to the first floor by lift (there are hydraulic lifts that you can take on the "legs" of the tower) or you can go up on foot. That said, there are quite a few steps: 704 to be exact. In my opinion, every single one of them is worth it.
You can't miss the view from the first floor of the tower: it is 115 metres high and so big that you can share it with up to 1600 people. From there, the 360º perspective of the city is breathtaking. To make sure you don't miss anything, you can hire a guide who will tell you all the information and anecdotes about the Eiffel Tower.
If you've already enjoyed the viewpoint on the first floor, it's likely that your body is still asking for more height. Don't worry, you're in the perfect place! The Eiffel Tower has a second observation deck right at the top: at the top of the Tower you can enjoy the view from the restaurant Le Jules Verne.
It's a place with an impressive window overlooking the city. There's also a small bar where they serve champagne... it's a typical place for proposals. If you stay there for a while in high season, you're sure to return home with a love story in addition to the views.
The height of this second viewpoint is 276 metres. Although it is a little narrower than the first floor, you can still share the views with 400 people at the same time. To enjoy these views you can decide to eat at the Eiffel Tower restaurant, but you can also simply pay the entrance fee to go up and enjoy the observation deck. By lift, going up to the top of the Eiffel Tower costs about 26€, and by stairs, about 20€.
- Where is it: It is located on the Champ de Mars. It is very easy to get to the Eiffel Tower, as it is easily visible from the surrounding area. It is also very well connected to public transport services in Paris.
- Opening hours: Every day from 09:30 to 22:45.
- Price: The lift to the first floor costs approximately €17. You can also take the stairs, then the entrance fee is about €10.
- Booking: You can either book online (I recommend you do this to avoid queues and waste time on your trip) or go to the ticket office. I recommend you book your ticket with a guide to enjoy the full experience.
2. Viewpoint of the Quai du Branly museum
The Musée du Quai du Branly offers visitors a selection of non-Western art, with pieces from Oceania, America, Asia and Africa. It is located on the banks of the Seine, near the Eiffel Tower.
Besides the fact that the objects you can find there are very interesting (from musical instruments to textiles), I recommend that you enjoy the building, especially the views from the observation deck on the top floor. There you can have lunch or dinnerwith one of the best views of the Eiffel Tower.
- Where is it? 37 Quai Branly. You can also enter from 218 rue de l'Université.
- Opening hours: 10.30 am to 7 pm, except Thursdays, when it is open until 10 pm. Closed on Mondays.
- Price: Admission to the museum costs approximately €10. The price of meals in the restaurant depends on what you order, of course, although it is not a cheap place.
- Reservations: If you want to have lunch or dinner there, it is best to book.
3. The towers of Montparnasse
It's the second tallest building in Paris, so imagine the views. It is in the 14th arrondissement (the neighbourhoods of Paris are numbered) and from its observation deck you can see the neighbouring Eiffel Tower, the Invalides, Montmartre, the Sacré Coeur Basilica, the Latin Quarter...
The observation deck is on the 59th floor, 210 metres high, and offers a 360º view of the city. The lifts are said to be among the fastest in Europe. It takes 18 seconds to go up.
In winter it's freezing cold, but the views make up for it. There is also a café on the floor just below where you can take a break and take shelter from the Parisian cold.
- Where: Rue de l'Arrivée.
- Opening hours: You can enjoy the Montparnasse Tower at your leisure: The 360 Café (the highest panoramic bar in Paris) is open until 1am. There is also a restaurant (Le Ciel de Paris) which closes at 11pm.
- Price: Around 23€ for adults, 9€ for children up to 11 years. Admission is included in the Paris Pass.
- Reservations: You can buy your ticket online.
4. The staircase of the Sacré-Coeur Basilica
On your visit to the Sacré-Coeur Basilica, don't forget to turn around, turn your back to the monument for a moment and enjoy the view of Paris.
The Basilica isone of the most important monuments in Paris, but its location on a hill (the hill of Montmartre) also makes it a spectacular viewpoint that allows you to enjoy the view of Paris stretching to the horizon.
The height is about 130 metres above the city and it's free, you can stay there and enjoy the view for as long as you like. I recommend you go up at sunset, as the sunset from the steps of the Basilica is unforgettable. Sometimes street musicians also contribute their bit and make the visit even more special.
- Where: 35 rue du Chevalier de la Barre, in the Montmartre district.
- Opening hours: The viewpoint is located outside the Basilica, so you can visit it whenever you want. The Basilica does have opening and closing hours: every day from 6am to 10.30pm.
- Price: Admission to the Basilica is free. The belvedere is also free.
- Reservation required: No, the belvedere is open access. I advise you to take advantage of your visit to the Basilica and Montmartre to enjoy the view.
5. The terrace of the Arc de Triomphe
Don't miss the panoramic view from the top of the Arc de Triomphe
This monument is in thecentre of the city, right where the twelve most important avenues of Paris meet. The Arc de Triomphe is just as impressive: it is 22 metres wide, 45 metres long and 50 metres high.
At the top of these 50 metres there is a terrace from which you can enjoy the city. You can reach it from the inside, where a 286-step spiral staircase takes you to the highest point, where there is a viewing platform. From the top you can see the city buzzing all around you.
Note: If you like to take photos on this route of the viewpoints of Paris, it is forbidden to bring your selfie stick or camera tripod into the Arc de Triomphe monument.
- Where: Place Charles-de-Gaulle.
- Opening hours: The monument is open between 10:00 and 21:45. The last admission is at 21:45.
- Price: Admission costs around €13. Children under 18, disabled persons and their companion or young people between 18 and 25 years of age can enter free of charge. Admission is also free on Sundays.
- Reservations: I recommend that you buy your ticket online to make sure there are places at the time you prefer.
6. The 6th floor of the Pompidou Centre
I recommend a visit to the Pompidou Centre, both for the contemporary art exhibitions and for the observation deck at the top of the building. If you don't have time to see the museum, you can go directly to the terrace on the 6th floor, which is free to enter.
The observation deck of the Pompidou Centre is 46 metres high in the centre of the city. The entrance to the museum includes a visit to the observation deck on the 5th floor, but if you are only interested in the views, you can also go up on your own to the terrace on the 6th floor.
It is certainly worth it. From there you can see the heart of the city: the Seine, the Louvre, Notre Dame, the Palais Royale and the whole network of narrow streets that make Paris an unforgettable city.
- Where: Place Georges-Pompidou.
- Opening hours: The museum is open every day except Tuesdays. Opening hours are from 10am to 11pm.
- Price: Tickets to the museum cost around €14 and are included in the Paris PassParisPass. On the first Sunday of every month, admission is free. With this ticket you can enjoy the observation deck on the 5th floor. If you are only interested in going up to the terrace, you can go on your own to the 6th floor.
- Reservations: Although tickets are available at the ticket office, I recommend that you buy your ticket online.
7. Defence Arch
In the financial centre of Paris is the Arc de la Défense. I'm sure you've seen it if you've been up to see the view from the Arc de Triomphe. In France it is known as the "Grand Arche de la Fraternité" and from the top of its 35 floors (110 metres high) you have a breathtaking view of the city.
The arch houses among other things a museum of photojournalism, but you can take the lifts straight to the top of the building and enjoy Paris from above. The viewpoint is called "La Promenade", and is an open terrace from which you can see many of Paris' most recognisable monuments such as the Louvre.
- Where: At number 1 Parvis de la Défense.
- Opening hours: On the days it is open, you can go up to the observation deck between 10:00 and 19:00. The last climb is at 18:30. Check the days you can go up on their website, as it is not always open to the public.
- Price: Adults pay around 16€ and children under 18 pay around 8€.
- Reservations: You can buy your ticket on the spot, but I recommend that you reserve and check availability before you go. It is not a very touristy area and there are restrictions on going up to the monument.
8. Terrace of the Galeries Lafayette
Look out over Paris from the terrace of a unique building. Close to the Place de l'Opéra, on Boulevard Haussmann, the Galeries Lafayette is a classic for visitors who want to experience an afternoon of shopping in Paris. In fact, it is the largest shopping area in Europe.
In addition, this building offers an extra advantage: the terrace is a viewpoint overlooking the city. You can look out completely free of charge, no purchase is necessary. From there you can see the back façade of the Opera, the Sacré-Coeur Basilica and, in the distance, the silhouette of the Eiffel Tower.
The building is also worth a visit: it has been declared a historical monument. Take a look at the dome and its stained glass windows, it's amazing!
- Where is it? 40 Boulevard Haussmann.
- Opening hours: Monday to Saturday from 10:00 to 20:00 and on Sundays and public holidays from 11:00 to 20:00.
- Price: Admission to the building is free and the terrace is open to the public.
- Reservations: No, as long as the shopping centre is open you can come and enjoy the viewpoint.
9. The highest point of the Saint Jacques Tower
If you're still in the mood for heights, I recommend you climb the Saint Jacques tower. It is all that remains of the monument to which it once belonged, the Gothic-Flemish church of Saint-Jacques-de-la-Boucherie.
Climbing to the belvedere, at the top of the tower, is a 300-step exercise with a reward: the views are incredible. Mind you, it's a narrow medieval building. If you don't like enclosed spaces, you might find the staircase a bit overwhelming.
This building is also curious for other reasons: it houses a small weather station and is the starting point of one of the routes to Compostela on the Way of St. James, the Via de Tours.
- Where it is: Place de la tour Saint-Jacques
- Opening hours: Between 10am and 5pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
- Price: Admission is approximately 12 euros.
- Reservations: Reservations are necessary as this observation deck is only open to 17 people at a time.
10. Terraces of the Louis Vuitton Foundation
Visit one of the lesser-known and less crowded viewpoints in Paris: the Louis Vuitton Foundation is a museum housed in a unique building with several terraces offering spectacular views. You can take advantage of this visit to the heights to take a look at the contemporary art exhibitions housed in the building.
If the building catches your eye, it's no wonder. It was built by Frank Gehry, the same architect who designed the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. It is a glass and metal building that has created a very special space, playing with light in the City of Light.
- Where: The address is Bois de Boulogne - 8 avenue du Mahatma Gandhi.
- Opening hours: The museum is closed on Tuesdays. The rest of the days it is open between 12:00 and 19:00, with extended opening hours on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays, when it is open between 11:00 and 20:00.
- Price: Admission is approximately €9.
- Reservations: Although you can get your ticket at the ticket office, I recommend that you reserve a ticket to avoid unnecessary queues.
From these viewpoints you'll get an idea of how incredible the city of Paris is, but if you want to explore the city through virtual reality, I recommend the Flyview Pass experience where you can see the city from above. You can choose between one or two virtual reality experiences - enjoy your trip!