One of my favorite parts of visiting a city is to find that picture perfect view from a higher perspective. Paris offers several different stunning cityscape views – from the Eiffel Tower itself to Sacre Coeur in Montmartre. Below are my top 5 favorite views of Paris, with a little bonus pick. 🙂
View from Eiffel Tower
One of the most well-known attractions in Paris is, of course, the Eiffel Tower! This is the tallest structure in Paris (324 meters) – and actually the tallest building in all of Île-de-France.
You can climb the 674 steps up to the second floor of the Eiffel Tower or take an elevator. I personally like to climb, because it’s all part of the experience!! Though there are stairs from the second floor up to the very top, these are not open to the public. Access to the summit is via elevator.
View from Montparnasse Tower
The Montparnasse Tower in the 14th arrondissement is the tallest skyscraper (210 meters) in Paris outside of La Défense. It is sometimes referred to as the ugliest building in Paris – the dark modern look a striking contrast to the rest of Parisian architecture. The completion of this tower actually sparked a city-wide height restriction in 1977 (which has been eased in more recent years).
Tour Montparnasse has a Panoramic Observation Deck at the top. Though it is not as high up as the view from the top of the Eiffel Tower, Tour Montparnasse offers a beautiful 360 degree view, including the Eiffel Tower. The view is beautiful both day and night. There are actually Day and Night tickets that allow access twice in a 48 hour period (see all ticket options here).
View from Arc de Triomphe
Arc de Triomphe sits in the middle of the largest traffic circle in the world – Place Charles de Gaulle, formerly Place d’Étoile. With 12 boulevards all converging into one, the traffic circle is pretty epic. To access the base of the Arc, there is an underground pedestrian passageway which also contains the ticket booth for going up the Arc de Triomphe (which can be bought online here). The passage entrance is near the Charles de Gaulle Étoile Champs-Élysées metro exit.
The tomb of the Unknown Solder from WWI sits beneath the arch with the eternal flame. The names of 660 French generals are inscribed on the inner and outer walls of the arch. Walk around the base to enjoy up close views of the four intricate reliefs – The Triumph, Resistance, Peace, and Departure of the Volunteers.
There is an elevator to access part of the arch, but unfortunately stairs are required to access the top. If you’re able to make the 280 stair climb, the views from the top of Arc de Triomphe are beautiful. Not only are there sweeping views of the city and the Champs Élysées, but you can also watch the crazy traffic circle from above!
Pro Tip: The first Sunday of every month in the off season (November through March) it is free to climb the Arc de Triomphe!
View from Notre Dame de Paris
Disclosure: Unfortunately, the towers are closed until further notice.
Previously, you could climb the 422 dizzying spiral stairs up the towers of Notre Dame Cathedral. Not only are there stunning views over the city, but also the iconic GARGOYLES.
View from Sacré Cœur
Basilique du Sacré Cœur sits atop Montmartre, overlooking the rest of the city. The steps in front of the basilica offer beautiful views over Paris, but visitors can also climb up to the dome for even better views!
This is one of the cheaper options for a cityscape view in Paris and ticket prices vary so you will have to check in person. Access to the dome is outside the Basilica on the lefthand side.
There is no elevator option at Sacré Cœur, so you must climb 300 stairs to enjoy the view.
Bonus: View from Galeries Lafayette
Galeries Lafayette is a department store in the 9th arrondissement famous for its ornate dome ceiling. Take the elevator to the top floor, and enjoy a FREE rooftop view!