The Best Panoramic Views of Paris

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I have sort of a love/hate relationship with Paris.

While my first three visits were pretty much disasters, the last two were a lot better, and even made me admit what everybody else knew already: Paris is a pretty awesome place.

I decided to pretty much start my relationship with the city completely anew, and revisit all of the tourist spots I so despised the first time. Not only did I not pay a centime (most attractions are free for all European residents of less than 26 years old), I honestly had a lovely time admiring Paris from its best vantage points, competing with my husband to see who could name the most sights. I won, of course – this travel blogging thing is really starting to pay off. 

And, well, my calves are now firmer than ever, after climbing thousands of steps in a two days!

I also did kind of go overboard with the picture taking. So here’s a small selection of my best photos of Paris, from an unusual perspective.

photos of paris

I think my favorite spot was the Arc de Triomphe. Very iconic by itself, it offers instant, unobstructed 360° panorama over all of Paris, including the surprising area of La Défense. I really loved seeing all the boulevards converge towards the arch, as if it was the natural center of the city, and watch the instant chaos it creates in the roundabout below. Plus, I don’t think it ever gets too crowded because the platform is pretty big, so no sharp elbows needed!

photos of paris

photos of paris

The Champs-Élysées on the right, and chic boulevard Haussman on the left

Next up was Notre-Dame-de-Paris. The cathedral offers unique views thanks to the dozens of gargoyles watching over the city, but the first deck gets real full, real quick because of the tiny space available. For a panorama of the whole city, make sure to climb all the way to the top of the spire, from which you can see everything from Bois de Vincennes to the east, to the Panthéon to the Eiffel Tower. Be prepared for A LOT of twirling stairs and potential vertigo, though!

photos of paris

Butte Montmartre in the background, with Basilique du Sacré-Coeur

photos of paris

The most iconic shot of the Notre-Dame-de-Paris observatory

photos of paris

photos of paris

photos of paris

Finally, the top of the Eiffel Tower. While I did not witness any engagement while I was there, I found it a tad too much. The queues alone are a good enough reason to make you want to skip the tower altogether! I’m still glad I went up because it’s kind of a must-do when in Paris, but I don’t think I will be going again.

http://amontrealerabroad.com/photos-of-la-defense/

photos of paris

As I only had two days in the city I couldn’t possibly visit all of the vantage points, and there are many other great ones to take into account, starting with the butte Montmartre or the Tour Montparnasse, for example.

Which one was my favorite, you ask? I would have to go with the Arc de Triomphe for the overall experience. No big crowds, fairly easy to get to the top, unique panorama and very close to dozens of other attractions.

What’s your favorite panorama, or photos of Paris? Would you recommend another secret picture-taking spot?

 

13 Comments on The Best Panoramic Views of Paris

  1. Cassie
    May 28, 2012 at 7:19 pm (3 years ago)

    Loved your pictures!!!! Glad Paris treated you better this time!

    Reply
    • Marie
      May 31, 2012 at 11:08 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks Cassie! Glad you liked the photos :-)

      Reply
  2. Katherina
    May 29, 2012 at 12:42 am (3 years ago)

    I love the pictures, Marie! The first one is impressive – you can even see the financial district in the end!

    Reply
    • Marie
      May 31, 2012 at 11:08 pm (3 years ago)

      I know – the view from Arc de Triomphe is amazing.

      Reply
  3. Laurence
    May 29, 2012 at 10:15 am (3 years ago)

    I love the view from the top of the Arc de Triomf. One of my favourite spots in Paris too :)

    Reply
    • Marie
      May 31, 2012 at 11:08 pm (3 years ago)

      Great minds think alike :)

      Reply
  4. Cherina | Quiet Wanderings
    May 30, 2012 at 11:15 am (3 years ago)

    So happy to hear you have had a change of heart about Paris! I was a little underwhelmed by Paris the first time I visited. I think when enough people rave about how wonderful a place is, your expectations are immediately heightened.
    I was constantly told how much I would “LOVE Paris” so it was a little bit of a letdown when I didn’t love it as much as I thought. This changed though, and Paris is now one of my favourite cities in the world. Love it to bits! Great photos :)

    Reply
    • Marie
      May 31, 2012 at 11:09 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks! :-) I’m glad to see I wasn’t the only one to have a hard time adjusting.

      Reply
  5. Andrea
    May 31, 2012 at 5:28 pm (3 years ago)

    This city always looks so great from above – I love the angles

    Reply
    • Marie
      May 31, 2012 at 11:22 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks! The angles from the Arc de Triomphe are particularly impressive.

      Reply
  6. The luixury Travel Bible
    July 22, 2012 at 12:09 pm (3 years ago)

    Love this photo essay on the rooftops of Paris – will share with our readers – hope you relaxes in a hoel with a great view too. Let us jknow where

    Reply
    • Marie-Eve Vallieres
      July 30, 2012 at 5:20 pm (3 years ago)

      That was Hotel Wilson Opera.

      Reply
  7. Sofie
    November 2, 2012 at 11:00 am (3 years ago)

    My relationship with Paris isn’t the greatest either. The first time I went was with school on a 3-day trip, the second time I only went for a day. It’s not that it was that bad, it’s just that the city hadn’t live up to my expectations, I guess.
    I’ll be going again in two weeks with some friends. Third time’s a charm, they say. And I hope they’re right :-)

    Reply

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