Paris’ skyline is famous, with the Eiffel Tower standing tall amongst the Haussmanien apartment buildings with their iron balustrades. But as for the best place to enjoy this view? Folks remain undecided.
1. Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower is of course one of the most famous places in Paris to enjoy the view: climb (7 euro) or take the elevator (11 euro) to the second story viewing platform, where you’ll get four unique panoramas: central Paris to the east, the Chaillot Palace and La Défense to the north, the Champ de Mars to the south, and the Ile des Cygnes or Swan Island to the west, which is home to a miniature replica of the Statue of Liberty.
The only problem with this view? The most famous emblem of Paris is invisible – because you’re standing on it!
2. Montparnasse Tower
The large black office building lurking in the 15th is the Montparnasse Tower, generally seen as an eyesore to most. But what Guy de Maupassant once said about the Eiffel Tower is true of Montparnasse as well: it’s a great place to take in the view, because it’s the only place in Paris that you can’t see it!
What you can see from the viewing platform (17 euro) at the top of the Montparnasse Tower is, of course, the city’s more famous Tower: Eiffel is located not too far from Montparnasse, making this one of the best views of the Iron Lady. However, seeing as Montparnasse is rather far to the south of the city, a lot of the northern landmarks, like the Louvre, are tough to make out.
3. Sacré Coeur Basilica
The former village of Montmartre became Paris’ 18th arrondissement in the 19th century, and today, it’s one of the city’s most picturesque neighborhoods. Not only does it have narrow cobbled streets and secret gardens to uncover, but it also offers one of the best views of Paris in the city: from the steps of the Sacré Coeur Basilica, a white behemoth that sits at the very top of the hill, you can see Paris unfold in front of you – and as a bonus, you’ll also see where Amélie almost meets Nino in Amélie Poulain.
(Hint: to see the Eiffel Tower, walk along the edge of the hill past the funicular – you’ll be able to see it just before turning up towards the Place du Tertre).
4. Parc Buttes Chaumont
For a rather unique view of Paris, head to the Buttes Chaumont park in the 19th arrondissement. This park is home to a temple replica overlooking a man-made lake – from the temple, you get a pretty fantastic view of the nearby Sacré Coeur Basilica as well as unique views of the city from the northeast.
5. Galeries Lafayette
If we had to pick our favorite view in Paris, though, it would undoubtedly be that from the top of the Galeries Lafayette department store, behind the ornate Palais Garnier opera house. This centrally located department store offers great views of not only the gilded opéra but also the Eiffel Tower and Montmartre. And perhaps the best thing about it? It’s free!