Nothing beats a panoramic view of a city, especially one as beautiful as Paris. Seeing a city from above allows you to immediately gain perspective and get your bearings, as well as be inspired by the beautiful cityscape. Fortunately in Paris, you can climb most of the famous monuments and the best thing is that each of them offer an entirely different vantage point. Thus, we’ve listed the most iconic monuments, rooftop terraces and restaurants to help you find the best views in Paris.
Shangri la – La Rooftop Lounge
If spectacular views of the Eiffel Tower are what you’re after, then this is where you must go. This 5* luxury hotel opens its terrace to the public between the hours of 4pm to 11.30pm during the summer, giving you access to one of the absolute best views in Paris without the per-night price tag. Do be prepared to dig deep into your pockets for drinks, however the view makes the pricy cocktails worth every penny. (Photo via Shangri-La)
Arc de Triomphe
Standing at the top of the Arc de Triomphe offers a spectacular view of Paris. The twelve avenues stretch out from the roundabout below offering a dizzying view of the city and a birds eye view of the most famous avenue in Paris: the Champs Elysées. But the real reason this view is so good? It offers an unparalleled panorama of the Eiffel Tower which stands proudly above the Parisian rooftops.
The chic and trendy restaurant Maison Blanche is located on the exclusive Avenue Montaigne, one of the most expensive shopping streets in Paris. The restaurant is as exclusive as the road it lies on, reservations are needed but if you nab a table you won’t be disappointed. The all-white restaurant has large glass panels and an outdoor terrace with views towards the Eiffel Tower and the Champs-Elysée. On Saturdays the upper floor turns into a nightclub for those who want to party with a view over the Paris skyline. (Photo via Maison Blanche)
It is said that the best view over Paris is from atop the Montparnasse tower, the reason being that when you’re at the top you can’t see the modern monstrosity of the building itself. The second reason being that it offers one of the best views of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the kind of shot you see on postcards. It also boasts the fastest lift in Europe so an additional bonus is not having to climb hundreds of stairs to appreciate the views but instead reaching the 56th floor in 38 seconds! (Photo via Where Kate Resides)
This luxury hotel located in Montmartre opens its terrace as a restaurant for lunch and dinner. The verdant and leafy terrace provides the most romantic setting for dinner, only heightened by the breathtaking view over the city of lights with the Eiffel Tower in the distance. (Photo via Hotel Terass”)
Everyone loves a good rooftop bar. What’s not to love about enjoying a chilled glass of rosé or an expertly crafted cocktail whilst taking in a spectacular view? Paris doesn’t have very many rooftop bars like hip and happening New York does, so Parisians flock in large numbers to the select few rooftop bars in the city. Le Perchoir is one of the trendiest in Paris attracting long queues but offering killer views to boot. (Photo via Where Kate Resides)
Hôtel Plaza Athénée Paris
As one of Paris’ most iconic hotels, you really can’t get a better room view than those on offer at the Plaza Athénée. The entire facade of the hotel is covered in lush greenery and red flowers, making this an even more magical sight with the glorious Eiffel Tower as a backdrop!
Similar to roof top bars, hotel terraces are a wonderful way to view Paris from above. It tends to be the higher end hotels that house the most impressive roof top terraces, with views spanning over the whole city. Hotel Raphael offers one of the best terraces as it is situated in equal distance between the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe; therefore boasts astounding views of both of these iconic monuments.
Atop Sacré Coeur
The view from atop the Sacré Cœur basilica seems to be the least well known of all the monuments. Not many people realise you can climb stairs to the top of the dome roof, but rest assured you can. The basilica is perched on one of Paris’ highest peaks so climbing a further 300 steps to the top of the basilica offers unparalleled views over Paris.
Parc des Buttes Chaumont
The Buttes Chaumont park is located on one of Paris’ highest peaks therefore offers a pretty spectacular panorama over the whole city. Many flock here for the park itself replete with cascading waterfalls and pony rides for children and others for the views over Paris that they can enjoy whilst picnicking on the expanse of green.
Some of the best views in Paris can be found from apartment windows, especially if the apartment is on one of the upper floors. Every time you go to one of your friends’ apartments in the city, make sure to take a look out their windows and I bet you’ll see some pretty phenomenal views. The above photo was taken from my friend’s place who lives on the 7th floor in the 16th neighbourhood.
Atop Notre Dame
Climbing the worn stairs of the gothic Notre Dame cathedral built in 1163 is somewhat surreal. The higher you get, the more precarious it feels, but fear not, for it is very safe. The view from the top spans the river Seine and all of Paris’ left bank. Queues form very quickly so I would recommend arriving earlier rather than later.
Two of the biggest department stores in Paris, Lafayette and Printemps, offer terraces with beautiful views over Paris. The best part is that climbing to the top of them is entirely free. You come face to face with magnificent Opéra Garnier and get a real sense of the buzz of the city below.
Ciel de Paris
Literally translated as Paris’ sky, this dizzyingly high restaurant and bar offers a specular view of the Paris skyline, as its name implies. Located on the 56th floor of the Montparnasse tower, the Ciel de Paris doesn’t only house a gourmet restaurant but also a chic champagne bar. (Photo via Ciel de Paris)
Café Richelieu is located in the Richelieu wing of the Louvre and has an outdoor terrace with a birds eye view of the Louvre, the Pyramid and the Napoleon courtyard. The food isn’t the best, but it is ideal for photos of this world famous museum without any tourists in front of the lens. (Photo via Café Richelieu)