Everyone knows that the best view of Paris is from the top of the Eiffel Tower, right? Or the Arc de Triomphe? Maybe Sacre Coeur? Wrong! Well, not totally but these places are definitely not where the locals go when they want to survey Paris in all its glory.
We’ve listed 5 of our favorite places to go to get a great view of Paris. One of the best parts, no queues and they’re free, well, mostly.
Cocktails, sunset and a rooftop view of Paris are the reasons we love this bar set atop the BHV department store in the Marais. If you time it right and position yourself well, you can even stay and watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle. This bar is only open for the summer, so don’t wait too long to check it out.
Galeries Lafayette and Printemps both have spectacular viewing decks on the top of the buildings, and both are entirely free. Situated just behind Opera Garnier you have a nearly 360° view of Paris with the Eiffel Tower in front of you, the Arc de Triomphe a little further to the right, Sacre Coeur at your back and Norte-Dame on your left. All you need to do is keep wandering up to the top of the department stores and you’ll pop out on top. Printemps has Déli-Cieux, a cafeteria style restaurant, where you could grab a bite to eat or a drink as you soak up the views. The terrace at Galeries lafayette has lounges and they encourage you to bring some food from their take-away outlets and enjoy the atmosphere.
L’INSTITUT DU MONDE ARABE
Situated on the left bank, the Arab cultural institute has a rooftop terrace with panoramic views of Paris. It has the best view of the fly buttresses of the Notre-Dame and all along the river Seine. It’s free to go up and there is a little café if you’d like a tea and something sweet.
Bang in the center of Paris, the view from the top of this old church bell tower is unrivaled. The tower has been closed for reconstruction for several years but is now open again to the public for tours in the summer months, costing only 10 euros. The tours are only in French at the moment, which is very informative, but even if you don’t understand the view makes it well worth it. Bryan has detailed our experience more on his blog with all the details of how to book.
A little out of the way at the east of Paris, the whole city is laid out before you from the top of this hidden little park. Take the metro to Pyrénées, for the easiest climb, get some sandwiches from a nearby bakery and just watch from a bench or a spot on the grass. It doesn't get much more local than this corner of Paris.
Do you guys have any favorite places to add?