If you’re headed to the City of Lights anytime soon and are wondering where to go for incredible views in Paris, you’ve come to the right place!
Even something as simple as requesting top floor at the hotel where you are staying can offer a great view. One of our favorite things to do when visiting a new city is to go above the rooftops for spectacular panoramic vistas!
In our opinion, one of the best ways to get a great 360º view of central Paris is to climb the 284 stairs to the top of the Arc de Triomphe.
It’s an exhilarating workout and you’ll soon be rewarded with stunning views of all of Paris.
While many people choose to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower for views of the city, we preferred the views from the Arc that included the tower in the beautiful skyline. We arrived at 5:30 pm (17:30) on a summer evening and experienced no wait to go up the Arc. Lines for the Eiffel Tower were well over an hour and the cost to get to the top is €15. (Entry to the Arc was included in our Paris Museum Pass.)
On the other side of the Arc, we had great views of Montmartre, including the beautiful Sacre Coeur Basilica. Of course, the terrace in front of the basilica offer a gorgeous city view and many people choose to visit Montmartre around sunset for romantic views. Unfortunately the day we visited the basilica, it was raining and incredibly windy, so we couldn’t see much of anything.
Another way to gain incredible views of the city is to go up into the bell towers at Notre Dame Cathedral… so we’ve heard. (This experience is also included in the Paris Museum Pass. However, due to a misprint of closing times in our Paris guide book, we missed this opportunity on our last day in the city. We were pretty bummed, as I’m sure the views were great!) So, there are two experiences we cannot vouch for, but would encourage you to check them out for yourselves during your next visit to Paris!
Centre Georges Pompidou provides visitors with a ‘View of Paris’ on Level 6 for just €3 (this cost does not include access to the museum or exhibitions). However, the cost of entrance to the museum is included in the Paris Museum Pass, which would then include the ‘View of Paris’ experience.
The top floor of the Musée d’Orsay leads out to a rooftop, providing stunning views of the city, specifically the nearby Louvre and Jardin des Tuileries. (And guess what?! The Musée d’Orsay is also included in the Paris Museum Pass!)
Although not necessarily a ‘rooftop view’, taking a boat tour along the Seine River is a wonderful way to experience and ‘see’ Paris from a different perspective.
We got in line pretty early, so we could get the exact seats we wanted- front row on the top deck!
During our journey, we passed the Notre Dame, the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower and floated under Alexander III bridge, to name a few icons.
Not only is the Eiffel Tower incredible to see in the skyline from the Arc de Triomphe or from a river boat tour, but you can’t even fathom its grandeur until you’re standing beneath the massive structure. As the sun sets, the tower lights up. Pack a picnic, grab a spot on the grass, and relax until about 11 pm (in the summer months) when the sun is finally below the horizon and the tower twinkles for about 5 minutes.
We guarantee this will be one of the most memorable and magical views you experience during your trip to the City of Lights.
For a (printable) quick-reference destination guide to what we did during our entire stay in Paris (where we stayed/ate, what we saw, money saving tips, etc.), click here.
Entry Fees* / Directions to Locations Mentioned Above
*Prices Subject to Change (Do your research as many museums/monuments offer free admission on the 1st Sunday of the month and discounted evenings admissions)
Arc de Triomphe
Adults: €8 Students (18-25 yo): €5 Children (0-17 yo): Free
(Entry is covered by the Paris Museum Pass)
Metro Station: Charles-de-Gaulle-Etoile (lines 1, 2 and 6)
RER Station: Charles-de-Gaulle-Etoile (line A)
Notre Dame Cathedral
Entry to the cathedral is always free! Access to the bell towers is covered by the Paris Museum Pass, otherwise the cost is €8.50.
Metro Station: Cité (line 4)
RER Station: Saint Michel-Notre Dame (lines B & C)
Centre Georges Pompidou
€3 to access to the ‘View of Paris’ on Level 6 (does not include access to museum or exhibitions). If you want to go into the museum, ticket prices range from €9 to €13 (depending on the period) and include the ‘View of Paris” or entry to the museum is covered by the Paris Museum Pass
Metro Station(s): Rambuteau (line 11), Hôtel de Ville (lines 1 and 11), or Châtelet–Les Halles (lines 1, 4, 7, 11 and 14)
RER Station: Châtelet–Les Halles (lines A, B and D)
Adults: €11 Students (18-25 yo): €8.50 Children (0-17 yo): Free
(Entry is covered by the Paris Museum Pass)
Metro Station: Solférino (line 12)
RER Station: Musée d’Orsay (line C)
Montmartre (Sacre Couer)
Entry to the basilica is always free and of course it’s free to visit the terrace in front of the basilica. Brave the steps to the terrace or take the funicular for a small fee (included in the Paris Metro Pass).
Dome: Adults: €6 Youth (4-16 yo): €4 Crypt: Adults: €3 Youth (4-16 yo): €2
Dome & Crypt: Adults: €8 Youth (4-16 yo): €5
Entry to the dome and crypt is free for children under the age of 4.
Metro Station: Anvers (line 2)