11 Places Where You Can View Paris from Above

© Jenny Hughes for Frenchly

You’ve got the pictures of clinking Champagne glasses at high-tea, Impressionist art, and hidden streets, but something’s missing: that view of Paris in all its glory.

The streets radiating from the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower standing strong over the Seine, the resilient facade of Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral. Here’s where you can get a view of Paris from above.

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1. Tour Montparnasse

It may not be an attractive building, but you’re not looking at the building so what does it matter? Pay the 18 euros to get to the 57th floor then head out to the observation deck. A 360-degree, unobstructed view of the city awaits. Get a night view until 11:30 p.m. during summer months and 10:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. during winter months (details here). — 33 Avenue du Maine, 75015

2. Musée d’Orsay

Up on the top floor of the museum housed in an old train station there is a café. Behind it is the face of a clock, through which you can see Sacré-Cœur high on its hilltop. You won’t be allowed into the café to peek through the clock unless you’re dining there, so either get in line to be seated or stand back and zoom your camera in until you’ve got a nice view of Paris. — 1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007

3. 45-47 rue Piat

For the most unique view over the city, head to the address 45-47 rue Piat in Belleville. Under an iron arch and down a tree-sheltered path, there is a stairwell, accented with black street lamps. Down the stairwell is a series of colorful buildings that lead to a view of the Eiffel Tower, framed by a cascade of lush tree branches. Once you’re done there, follow the pathway around for another view of the Paris skyline. Once you’re done looking over the city, take a walk through the Parc de Belleville. — 45-47 rue Piat, 75020

4. Galeries Lafayette

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The Opera 😍

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An approximately 270-degree view awaits you on the seventh floor of this grand magasin. It’s so good it’s basically a highlight reel of the best of Paris’s landmarks: Palais Garnier, the Eiffel Tower, Sacré-Cœur The terrasse is free to visit and accessible year-round. Go up at night (Galeries Lafayette is open until 8 p.m.) for a view of the Eiffel Tower glowing. — 40 Boulevard Haussmann, 75009 

5. Square Nadar

Near Sacré-Cœur but with far fewer tourists, Square Nadar is just below the basilica and above the funiculaire. Park yourself on a bench and look out over the city’s rooftops. The sun sets in the perfect spot for a lovely pink-orange view in the evening. Perhaps best of all, unlike on the steps of Sacré-Cœur, you won’t be elbowing tourists and standing on tip-toe to see the view. — 2 Rue Saint-Eleuthere, 75018

6. Centre Pompidou

Ride the escalator up the front of Paris’s museum of contemporary art (you can do this without visiting the museum for just 5 euros). Below, the street performers and artists hawking their goods, the picnickers and perusing tourists will grow smaller and the endless rooftops will appear. Spot the Eiffel Tower and Notre-Dame Cathedral in the distance. At the top, there’s a restaurant, Brasserie Georges. It’s quite expensive, so there’s no shame in doing a u-turn and riding the escalator back down. — Place Georges-Pompidou, 75004

7. Sacré-Cœur

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Un pasajero con destino de ser feliz 👀

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Sacré-Cœur is not only beautiful on the inside and out, it’s also a great vantage point. Put on your comfiest shoes and climb the 300 steps to the top of the basilica. The view at the top is as far and wide as the stairs up are steep and narrow. Hours are every day from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. (May to September) and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (October to April); admission rates vary. — 35 Rue du Chevalier de la Barre, 75018

8. Eiffel Tower

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My head's in the ☁️☁️☁️

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From muse to vantage point, the Eiffel Tower is a multi-purpose structure. The art of the Haussmann boulevard — and Paris’s lush green spaces in warmer months — are on perfect display from 984-feet high in the air. Take a turn around the top level to get a view of all the different monuments and areas. — Champ de Mars, 5 Avenue Anatole France, 75007

9. Printemps du goût

Grab a bite to eat at this fancy food hall and sit in one of the booths or outside on the terrasse to get the best view of the city. Besides the view, the food itself is quite good, made by Laurent Dubois, Christophe Michelak, and Gontran Cherrier. It may be pricey, but the view, free wifi, outlets to charge your phone, atmosphere, and happy belly make it worth it. — 59 Rue de Caumartin, 75009

10. Parc des Buttes Chaumont

Parc des Buttes Chaumont has some unique views of the city thanks to its rolling hills and unobstructed views of Paris to the northwest. The best view is from the Temple de la Sybille, 150 feet above the lake, on an island connected by a bridge. You can see more views of the city on Avenue Cascade and one of the large lawns.  — 1 Rue Botzaris, 75019

11. Arc de Triomphe

At the top of a historic monument, admiring other historic monuments. The Eiffel Tower, the Champs-Elysées, La Défense, the streets shooting out in all directions, the Haussmann structures, Le Grand Palais… it’s all visible from the 360-degree view atop the Arc de Triomphe. Pay your 13 euro ticket and climb to the top for a breathtaking view. — Place Charles de Gaulle, 75008 

Bonus: the seasonal Grande roue de Paris

Because it’s only around for less than two months a year (and its annual appearance in recent years has been questionable due to disagreements between the wheel’s owner and the city of Paris), we decided to include La Grande Roue de Paris as a bonus view. The wheel arrives in the winter months, usually around the same time as the holiday markets begin to pop up, and provides a panoramic view of Paris. Adult tickets are 12 euros to go around the wheel three times. In 2019 it was in the Jardin des Tuileries. It should be announced in late-summer whether or not the wheel returns for the winter holidays.