Looking for some stunning panoramic views and rooftops to visit in Paris, France? In this guide, we highlight the very best views in Paris that you can easily see as a tourist.
The good thing is that most of the best observation terraces and rooftops in Paris are quite simple to visit. Some of them are located inside the monuments and you will need a ticket, while a few others are open to the public and can be visited free of charge.
Whether you are looking for some of the best romantic sunset spots in Paris, a restaurant with a fantastic view, or just want to get some nice panoramic pictures of the city’s skylines, this list will give you plenty of inspiration.
To help you plan and decide where to go and which observation decks and rooftop terraces to visit in Paris, we also share some pictures of the best views, tips on how to visit, and a map with the exact locations of the best views in Paris.
Take a look!
How to use this map: Use your computer mouse (or fingers) to zoom in or out. Click on the icons to get more information about each place. Click the arrow on the top left corner for the index. Click the star next to the map’s title to add it to your Google Maps account. To view the saved map on your smartphone or PC, open Google Maps, click the menu and go to ‘Your Places’/’Maps’. If you want to print the map or see it in a bigger window, click on ‘View larger map’ in the top right corner.
Good to know: The featured image on top of this article is the iconic Paris view from the Notre-Dame Cathedral. At the moment, the Cathedral is undergoing a serious renovation after the recent fire, and visits here are not possible.
These are the best views and viewpoints in Paris:
1. Arc de Triomphe Panoramic Terrace
Arc de Triomphe de l’Etoile is one of the most recognizable landmarks of Paris. Even if you haven’t been to the city before, you will definitely remember it from movies, books, and travel brochures.
What you may not know is that this triumphal arch has an amazing panoramic terrace at the top. This is one of the very best viewpoints in Paris, and it’s really simple to visit!
The arch isn’t that high (about 50 meters (164ft)), but it’s high enough to look over the rooftops of the surrounding streets. It offers a very unique angle with elevated views over the entire city.
From the top, you have 360° views of the Paris skyline, with the Eiffel Tower on one side, Montmartre hill with the Sacre-Coeur Basilica to the other side, and the modern business district La Defense in yet another direction. Right under your feet is the busy roundabout with 12 avenues that come together at the Arc de Triomphe. Watching the traffic here and on Champs-Elysées underneath is an attraction in itself.
If you’d ask me to recommend just one viewpoint to visit in Paris, Arc de Triomphe is by far my favorite choice. We’ve visited a few times over the years and it never disappoints, at any time of the day and in any season.
TIP: Try to time your visit to be at the top of Arc de Triomphe for sunset (so ideally arrive at least 45 minutes before the official sunset time). You never know how the weather will be or what the sky will look like, but if you are lucky, sunset views from here are magical.
If you have more time, you can also stay around and wait for it to get dark. That way, you get to see amazing Paris views during the day, at sunset, and in the dark. However, this is also the busiest time and the rooftop terrace can get crowded. If you want to avoid the crowds, visit here in the morning or in the evening, after dark.
Practical information: Arc de Triomphe is open daily, the whole year round except for some public holidays. It can sometimes close during official ceremonies as well. In summer, it’s open from 10 am to 11 pm, and in the winter – a bit shorter, but still well after the dark. The last entry is 45 minutes before closing).
Good to know: There are 284 steps to get to the panoramic terrace on top of Arc de Triomphe. They do have an elevator for people with mobility issues, but even if you can use it, you will still have to do some stairs to reach the rooftop terrace.
TIP: Book your tickets in advance (unless you have the Paris Museum Pass, in which case the entry is included). That way, you can skip the line at the ticket desk and only have to queue at the security check. The tickets are not timed, so you don’t have to worry about missing your slot or being there at a specific time.
! Just like other public museums and landmarks in Paris, the entrance is free of charge for people under 18 (under 26 for EU citizens).
2. Montparnasse Tower
The Paris Montparnasse Observatory is the viewing terrace on top of the Montparnasse Tower. This is the tallest skyscraper in Paris and you can visit two levels: the 56th floor at 196 meters (643 ft) in height and the open-air terrace on the 59th floor at 210 meters (689 ft).
A visit to Montparnasse Tower offers one of the best 360° views of the Paris skyline. The Eiffel Tower is not too far away and the views in that direction are breathtaking, especially around sunset.
TIP: For the nicest light, come before sunset and stay until it gets dark. That way, you can see the nicest views in Paris during the day, at twilight, and in the dark. There is no time limit on how long you can stay at the top, so if you have an hour or two to spare in the evening, it could be a great experience.
Once there, you can also download their free app which brings the city alive with interesting facts, stories, and 3D reconstructions of the landmarks that you see from here. And in the summer months, they sometimes have a pop-up rooftop bar at the top.
There is also an upscale restaurant Ciel de Paris at Montparnasse Tower, but it has a separate elevator and nothing to do with visiting the rooftop terrace. If you want to dine here (and have a table by the window), be sure to reserve in advance.
Good to know: The elevator takes you to the 56th floor in just 38 seconds. They say it’s the fastest elevator in Europe (and an experience in itself!). To reach the 59th floor, you will have to climb some stairs, so the rooftop terrace is not wheelchair accessible (people with reduced mobility can get a discounted ticket on-site).
Practical information: Montparnasse Tower is open daily from morning to late evening (hours vary a bit depending on the season).
TIP: Book your ticket in advance to skip the line. The tickets at Montparnasse are not timed and you can just scan them straight from your phone. If it’s busy, it can save you a long wait (and you don’t miss the sunset standing in line).
3. Eiffel Tower
When you think of Paris views, the Eiffel Tower is probably the first place that comes to mind. Quite frankly, the views are often nicer if you are looking at the tower from somewhere else rather than from the Eiffel Tower itself.
But if this is your first time in Paris, visiting the Eiffel Tower is such a bucket list experience that you will definitely want to visit. And the Eiffel Tower does offer easy access to some of the best aerial views in Paris.
Good to know: There are three levels that you can visit on top of the Eiffel Tower: the 1st floor (57 meters – 187 ft), the 2nd floor (115 meters – 377 ft), and the summit (276 meters – 906 ft). The city views are probably the nicest from the 2nd and the 1st floors. The views from the summit are much higher, so everything is much further away.
The summit of the Eiffel Tower is the highest viewing terrace in Paris. Here, you will also find a champagne bar. On the first and second floors, there are several shops and restaurants, including a seasonal rooftop bar in the summer months.
Practical information: Eiffel Tower is open daily from morning to late evening. It’s best to reserve your tickets in advance – they are timed and so you won’t have to wait long. The tickets on the official website are cheaper than anywhere else, but they are timed and non-refundable, so be sure that you are on time.
Good to know: You’ll have to decide in advance whether you want to visit all the levels of the Eiffel Tower including the summit, or just the first two floors. The tickets to the summit are more expensive and the timed-entry summit tickets usually sell out days (if not weeks) in advance.
If you get the tickets for the 2nd floor, you cannot ‘upgrade’ them anymore. I find that the 2nd floor is still worth it, so don’t stress too much if the summit tickets are sold out. As mentioned, the views are actually better here than from the top; it’s just a different experience.
TIP: Even if certain tickets are not available on the official site, they always have walk-in tickets too. In that case, you’ll just have to queue longer. Alternatively, you can also buy Eiffel Tower tickets on GetYourGuide or on Tiqets. Most of the time, they have tickets even if the official ones are sold out and they usually allow free cancelation up to 24 hours in advance.
Some tickets also include a host who shows you where to go, etc. or even a guided tour of the Eiffel Tower. There are also combination tickets, e.g. for the Eiffel Tower summit and the Seine Cruise.
4. Rooftop Terrace at Galeries Lafayette Haussmann
Best known for its stained-glass dome, Galeries Lafayette Hausmann is the most beautiful department store in Paris.
While many tourists come here to see the stunning interior or for some luxury shopping, not everyone knows that you can also visit the rooftop terrace of Galeries Lafayette, located on the 8th floor. They call it ‘the most beautiful Parisian rooftop’ and it sure could compete for the title.
The views from the top are really nice, with Paris Opera right in front of you and the Eiffel Tower in the distance. Compared to the other observation decks in Paris, you are not very high here and the terrace only offers about 180° views. But you can see a big part of central Paris, the sights are really nice, and it’s totally worth coming here.
In addition, they now have the big letters ‘Paris, je t’aime’ (Paris, I love you) on the rooftop terrace where you can take some nice souvenir pictures of Paris.
Practical information: There is no entrance fee to visit the rooftop terrace at Galeries Lafayette and it’s open to the public. The rooftop is accessible during the same hours as the department store (usually 10 am to 8 pm).
You can take escalators all the way to the top. That way, you can also enjoy the beautiful views of the glass dome from different perspectives.
Good to know: There is a nice seasonal restaurant on the rooftop of Galeries Lafayette, and they serve food throughout the day starting from 10 am. You can reserve a table for lunch, or just try to find a spot as you arrive. The rooftop restaurant is only open in the warmest months.
5. The Dome of Sacré-Cœur Basilica
Montmartre is the highest hill in Paris and offers nice city views from various viewpoints in the neighborhood. But for the most spectacular view of Montmartre, be sure to climb all the way to the top of Sacre-Coeur Basilica.
The 360° views of Paris from the Dome of Sacre-Coeur are absolutely breathtaking!
What makes it even more special is that you are surrounded by the stunning architecture of this impressive Basilica, and the entire Montmartre neighborhood lies right at your feet. You can also see the entire city stretching in all directions, as far as an eye can see.
I can’t believe that it took me so many trips to Paris to finally take the time to visit here. And most tourists seem to completely overlook the dome of Sacre-Coeur as well. When we recently visited Paris in October, it was really busy at the Basilica and in Montmartre in general, but there was hardly anyone here. I met just a handful of people at top of the dome.
Good to know: The entrance of Sacre-Coeur Dome is located outside, on the left side of the Basilica (when looking towards it). You will have to do 300 steps to get to the top, and there is no elevator here.
Practical information: The Dome of Sacre Coeur is normally open daily, from 10.30 am to 8.30 pm. See their website for up-to-date information.
There is no fee to visit the Basilica itself, but you have to pay if you want to climb the dome. At the moment, you can only get the ticket on the spot and the prices are also displayed there. When we visited, a regular adult ticket was 7 euros. It’s totally worth it!
READ ALSO: Best Things to Do in Montmartre, Paris
6. Trocadéro Gardens
Trocadéro Gardens are located across the Seine River right in front of the Eiffel Tower. The panorama that you can see from the elevated terrace here is among the most famous postcard views of Paris.
You are not that high here, but this is one of the best viewpoints if you want to get nice pictures of the Eiffel Tower in all its glory.
And the best thing is that this is a public place and you can visit at any time of day or night and it won’t cost you anything.
Good to know: This is an extremely popular viewing terrace in Paris and there are always lots of tourists taking pictures here. If you are looking for pictures without the crowds, come here at sunrise. The light is beautiful and it’s usually empty.
TIP: Trocadero Garden is also a very popular place to see the sparkling lights on the Eiffel Tower. The tower is lit every evening and the sparkles can be seen after dark, every hour for about 5 minutes on the hour (so e.g. at 8 pm, 9 pm, 10 pm, etc.).
Lots of people come to Trocadero Gardens with picnic blankets and wine or champagne, to enjoy the views of the beautifully lit Eiffel Tower.
7. The Dome of Paris Pantheon
Located in the Latin Quarter, Paris Pantheon is best known for its crypts where you can visit the tombs of many famous French writers, artists, and intellectuals. But nowadays you can also climb to the top of the restored dome of the Pantheon for some really nice views of central Paris.
The Dome of the Pantheon is 83 meters (272 ft) high and so you are well above the rooftops of the surrounding area. There are about 200 steps to reach the top, so about a third less than at the Sacre-Coeur Basilica or the Triumphal Arch.
Once on top, you can walk all the way around the dome and enjoy the 360° views of Paris. But by far the nicest view is probably that in the direction of the Eiffel Tower. You also see part of the roof of the Pantheon and the French flag which gives a different angle and a French touch to your photos.
Good to know: You can only visit the dome of the Pantheon in the warm season. At the moment, it’s open from April 1 until October 31.
Practical information: Paris Pantheon is open daily and you need a ticket to visit inside. Get skip-the-line tickets in advance, unless you have the Paris Museum Pass which also grants fast-track entry here. In any case, you will need an additional ticket for the dome (it’s about 3.5 euros for adults).
TIP: Don’t just come here for the views. The Pantheon is absolutely worth a visit and the burial crypts are really impressive. You’ll need at least 35-45 minutes for a quick visit here.
8. Rooftop Terrace of Printemps Haussmann
The rooftop terrace of Printemps Haussmann department store is a somewhat lesser-known observation deck in Paris. The views from here are quite nice, also because of the stunning architecture of the building itself. It’s also a great place for some free sunset views of the Paris skyline.
You will need to take the elevator/escalators all the way to the top of the shopping center to reach the rooftop terrace which is located on the 9th floor.
Not too many tourists seem to know about this terrace yet; we saw only locals when we visited.
The rooftop restaurant and cocktail bar Perruche is one of the nicest places for a cocktail with a nice view of central Paris. You can also reserve a table for lunch or dinner and enjoy some stunning sunsets overlooking the Paris skyline with the Eiffel Tower in the distance.
Practical information: The Printemps rooftop terrace is open daily when the store is open. If you would like to have lunch or dinner at the restaurant here, it’s best to reserve in advance.
TIP: Don’t forget to check out the stunning glass dome which is located on the 8th floor of the Printemps department store.
When you exit the rooftop terrace, walk to the back of the store and take the stairs down to the 7th floor. This colorful stained-glass dome is a bit of a hidden gem in Paris, and totally worth a small detour from the nearby Galeries Lafayette which attracts big crowds.
9. Rooftop Restaurant at Centre Pompidou
Centre George Pompidou is a modern art center that is best known for its unique architecture with the colorful pipes visible on the exterior of the building.
In addition to visiting the museum, you can also find some really nice views of Paris if you take the escalator to their rooftop restaurant Georges.
I don’t think you can visit the rooftop terrace here without going to the restaurant. When we tried to visit, it was closed for a private event. But you can enjoy the nice views from the escalator and also just come here for a drink or a quick lunch. The reviews of this place are a bit mixed though, mostly about the friendliness of the staff. I can’t comment on this since we weren’t even allowed to go up. 🙂
If you are looking for a special treat, this is also a nice place for dinner with sunset views. Be sure to book in advance and ask for a table with the best views!
So, this is our short guide to the very best panoramic views in Paris.
As you can see, it’s a mix of landmarks and towers that you can climb, observation decks, seasonal rooftop bars, and rooftop restaurants. So no matter when you visit and what your budget is, you can always find a nice place from where to enjoy some spectacular views of Paris rooftops and skylines.
TIP: If you are planning your trip to Paris and have practical questions, be sure to take a look at our first-timer’s guide to visiting Paris. It’s filled with practical tips and useful information that will help you make the most of your trip. Check it out via the link below!
LEARN MORE: Tips & Useful Info for Visiting Paris
If you are looking for ideas on how to plan your sightseeing itinerary, take a look at our recommended 4-day Paris itinerary. It includes all the main landmarks in the city, almost all of the best viewpoints in Paris mentioned in this article, and a few lesser-known local gems. This will show you how to experience the very best of Paris in just a few days!
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Images: personal collection and Depositphotos.com