6 Paris Landmarks with the Best Panoramic Views

France Travel

Every time I travel to a new city, I always try to not only visit its iconic landmarks but also observe the city from a different perspective. Looking through a bird’s eye point of view gives you a picturesque sight of all the landmarks together, an idea of their scale, and how the city is connected and comprised.

Paris has always been and will always be one of the most beautiful cities on my list. If you’re visiting, I would strongly recommend that you take a step back to discover the incredible view of the city from above. One unique thing about Paris is that the viewpoints I’m about to tell you are also the city’s landmarks themselves. Some spots are pretty obvious, while others are not so well-known. Here are the views that made it to the top of my list:

1. La Tour Eiffel

What the boulevard in front of the tower looks like from way up.

This one needs no introduction, as it’s one of the most visited attractions in Paris. Climbing the Eiffel Tower is at the top of many people’s Paris wishlists, so always expect a long line no matter what time of day it is. To reach the first and second levels, take the stairs or a hydraulic elevator that moves diagonally up the tower’s legs. The views from the second level at 115 meters are already spectacular, and you’re not even halfway up. Then it’s another 160 meters straight up to the peak.

By far, Paris at night is my favorite sight.

My husband and I chose to go at night during our last days living in Paris. Our last glimpse of the city of lights from its iconic tower was an unforgettable farewell. The view was breathtaking. Yet, you would feel something missing; the Eiffel Tower is nowhere to be seen, as you are currently on it!

Saying goodbye to Paris in 2019 after calling it home for about 2.5 years was such a bittersweet moment!

2. Basilique du Sacré-Cœur

The view from in front of the basilica. It was a hot summer day, yet the area was packed with people.

Another iconic view not to be missed is from the top of Montmartre Hill, where you can find the magnificent Basilique du Sacré-Cœur. Being the second-highest point in Paris, you’ll have an amazing 360° view over the entire city on a clear day. Climb up the stairs or ride the funicular to reach the front of the basilica and enjoy the view. It’s also a popular destination, so expect a huge crowd of people at the top. If you want to go even higher, go inside the building and find your way to the top of its dome. There you’ll find an unobstructed view of the city with a little more peace and quiet, which comes with an extra price.

3. Arc de Triomphe

Since it’s not that high, you can still actually see the Haussmann details on the surrounding buildings, one of the things I adore about this city’s beauty!

Not necessarily the highest point to view the city, however, the Arc de Triomphe offers a unique standpoint because of its unparalleled location. The Arc is located at the end of the Champs-Élysées, captivated by an enormous roundabout where 12 roads radiate outward, called the Etoile (star). It forms an axis through the center of Paris that leads from the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel to la Grande Arche de la Défense. The Arc may not look that tall, yet prepare to climb 100 spiral stairs to reach the top, where you’ll be greeted with a mesmerizing view of the Eiffel Tower, Tuileries Gardens, and Place de la Concorde, as well as the insane traffic below.

Can you spot anything familiar far far away? This was taken in December, thus the bare trees.
The other side!

4. Tour Montparnasse

The unobstructed view of the Eiffel Tower. Can you spot the tall skyscrapers of La Defense? All tall buildings are now restricted there following the completion of Tour Montparnasse in 1968.

This building may not be as attractive as the other landmarks that made the list, but the view from its top floor will blow you away. Some might even say it has the best view of Paris, simply because it’s the only place where you can’t see the infamous tower. You can easily spot this towering building from afar; at 210 meters tall, it’s the tallest and the only skyscraper located in Paris’ city center, where most buildings don’t rise above 30 meters.

The tower is mostly occupied by offices, but there are 2 levels open to the public: the 56th floor, which is enclosed by windows, and the observation terrace on the roof, which offers an open 360° view of the city. Not many tourists know this, so it’s way less crowded; there’s hardly ever a line. I would also be clueless if it weren’t for my aunt’s friend, who generously invited me and my cousin for lunch on the 56th floor, where we dined with a gorgeous view of the Eiffel Tower.

The perfect spot, yet impossible to take a picture with the view!
We dined in Le Ciel de Paris, which literally means the Sky of Paris, a French restaurant with an incomparable view of the city. Don’t forget to make a reservation if you’d like to try this one-of-a-kind dining experience!

5. Galeries Lafayette Hausmann

Galeries Lafayette on Hausmann Boulevard is well known for its glamorous window displays, great selection of high-end products, and beautiful architecture. However, not many people know that on top of the building, there is a lovely roof-top terrace that is accessible to the public – for free! See, not all great viewpoints cost money! Just head to the seventh floor, where you’ll be welcomed by a 360° view across the surrounding Paris skyline. There is also a bar and a restaurant if you’d like to soak up the view with a bite to eat.

6. Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris (before the fire)

The iconic gargoyle’s view of the city from the first viewpoint! There are two levels of the tower where you can get out and witness the mesmerizing view. This was taken in July 2017, during a much-needed dissertation break.
Can you spot the tiny Basilique du Sacré-Cœur? This is taken from the highest accessible level of the tower.

Before the cathedral was closed for renovations after the devastating fire in 2019, I was lucky enough to experience the iconic gargoyle’s view of Paris from its towers. The main reason I was so eager to go up this specific landmark was to see for myself what Quasimodo’s (from Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame) view was like each day! And sure enough, it was stunning! Prepare your comfiest shoes though, because you’ll have to endure a couple of hundred stairs before you can reach the breathtaking (literally) view! Unfortunately, due to its closure, you will not be able to experience this any time soon. It is predicted that Notre Dame will only reopen in time for the 2024 Summer Olympics. Fingers crossed!

Burning all those calories while climbing up the stairs was totally worth it!
The view of the back. Oh, bonjour la Seine!

There you have it: beautiful landmarks to view the beautiful city of lights from above! Consider altering your visits between the day and at night because, although it’s the same city, it will give you different vibes! This blog entry was inspired by Tantangan Blogging Mamah Gajah Ngeblog April theme, City Landmarks.

Another blog entry in 2 weeks! Let’s get this blog back rolling 🙂
Please follow and like us: