Where to get the best views over Paris (besides the Eiffel Tower)
The Eiffel Tower is closed due to strikes, but there are other places in and around Paris that also offer excellent (and in our opinion often better) views over the French capital. This is where to find them.
Published: 2 August 2018 11:43 CEST
The view from Tour Saint-Jacques. Photo: AFP
Eiffel Tower workers are on strike over a new access policy for visitors which they say is generating “monstrous” waits at the famous tourist landmark.
But don't be disappointed, instead see it as an opportunity to check out one of the many other stunning views over Paris (many of which include the Eiffel Tower).
Parc de Belleville is considered to be the highest park in Paris and as a result it has some of the best views over the city. For the best panoramas, head to the terrace at the very top of the park and get snapping.
The view from Parc de Belleville. Photo: Sunny Ripert/Flickr
This might not be the first place on your list of places to visit in Paris but the terrace on the ninth floor of the institute offers wonderful views of Notre-Dame Cathedral, the River Seine and the Marais, as enjoyed in the picture below by former president François Hollande.
If you're prepared to climb to find some of the most spectacular panoramic views over Paris, look no further than Tour Saint-Jacques, which has the extra bonus of fewer crowds.
The only slight drawback is that the tower is only open on Friday, Saturday and Sundays (as well as Monday in July and August) and just 136 people can go on any one day. Get there before it opens at 10 am and buy a ticket for the 50 minute guided tour in advance and you won't regret it.
There's a saying suggesting the best view of Paris is from the Montparnasse Tower because it's the only place in the capital where you can't see the tower itself. A bit harsh, perhaps and quite frankly, a blatant theft of a Guy de Maupassant quote, who said the same thing about the Eiffel Tower.
Nevertheless, head to this tower for a fantastic view and an expensive cocktail at the top. But it's worth it – how often are you 210 metres above Paris?
The view from the viewing deck at Montparnasse Tower. Photo: AFP
Head up to Sacré-Coeur. It's a free view of the entire city and you get the chance to visit the beautiful chapel. You can even climb up to the dome for only €6 for an awesome view of the city with all the best monuments. The struggle of the staircases is definitely worth it (or you could always pay extra for the elevator).
For some of the best views of the city, visit the rooftop terrace at Galeries Lafayette or Printemps next door. From here, you'll find both a breathtaking view of the French capital and a virtual reality telescope, which gives you a view of the city as it would have been in 1912.
The view over Paris from Galeries Lafayette. Photo: AFP
Like the Tour Saint-Jacques, seeing the view from the Arc de Triomphe involves a bit of leg work. But once you're up there, the whole of the city will be at your feet including the world's most famous avenue the Champs-Elysées.
The view of the Eiffel Tower from the Arc de Triomphe. Photo: ros k @ getfunky_paris/Wikicommons
From the top of the Centre Pompidou art gallery, you'll get a great view of the Marais, Notre Dame and Sacre Coeur. And if you're willing to spend a bit more, you can enjoy the view for longer by getting a table at the gallery's Le Georges Restaurant and Bar.
The view over the French capital from the Centre Pompidou. Photo: AFP
If you're a fan of the Sacré-Coeur, the view from the Musee d’Orsay art gallery is not to be missed. The white basilica is revealed in all its glory perched on the hill of Montmartre and you'll also get a stunning angle on the iconic architecture in the French capital and the River Seine.
If you'd like your view over the city to be accompanied by a delicious cocktail, Le Perchoir bar is the place for you. But remember to get there early as it's certainly no secret.
The people on the door also tend to pick and choose who gets in when it's busy, so it's better to turn up in couples or small groups. Hipsters seem to have no problem getting in, so it might be worth growing a moustache and a big beard if you're a guy to improve your chances.
Car, moped, public transport, or electric bicycle - which means of transport is the quickest way to get across Paris?
Published: 14 April 2022 14:12 CEST
One intrepid reporter for French daily Le Parisien decided to find out.
The challenge was simple. Which mode of transport would get the journalist from the heart of Fontenay-sous-Bois in the eastern suburbs to the newspaper’s office on Boulevard de Grenelle, west Paris, fastest?
Over four separate journeys, each one in the middle of rush hour, the electric bicycle was quickest and easiest. More expensive than conventional bikes, electric bikes do come with a government subsidy.
Voiture, métro, vélo électrique, scooter… On a testé les 4 moyens de transport sur un même trajet
The journey was described as ‘pleasant and touristy’ on a dry but chilly morning going via dedicated cycle lanes that meant the dogged journalist avoided having to weave in and out of traffic.
It took, in total, 47 minutes from start to finish at an average speed of 19km/h, on a trip described as “comfortable” but with a caveat for bad weather. The cost was a few centimes for charging up the bike.
In comparison, a car journey between the same points took 1 hour 27 minutes – a journey not helped by a broken-down vehicle. Even accounting for that, according to the reporter’s traffic app, the journey should – going via part of the capital’s southern ringroad – have taken about 1 hr 12.
Average speed in the car was 15km/h, and it cost about €2.85 in diesel – plus parking.
A “chaotic and stressful” moped trip took 1 hour 3 minutes, and cost €1.30 in unleaded petrol.
Public transport – the RER and Metro combined via RER A to Charles-de-Gaulle-Étoile then Metro line 6 to the station Bir-Hakeim – took 50 minutes door to door, including a 10-minute walk and cost €2.80. The journey was described as “tiring”.