Get Up There: Fantastic Sweeping Vantages of the Whole City
Boasting several sweeping viewpoints and hilly areas, the city of light is certainly not lacking where sweeping and dramatic views are concerned. Providing skies are relatively clear when you set out to see the sights, here's where to head for the most breathtaking panoramic perspectives of Paris. Make sure to bring along a good camera, and perhaps a map to assist you in identifying important monuments and sites on the skyline.
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Pictured here: In this dusky view from popular rooftop bar Le Perchoir, you can make out the Sacré Coeur Basilica towering over the city in distant Montmartre (see next slide).
Picture-perfect Spot #1: Sacré Coeur Basilica Viewpoint
The panoramic viewpoint at the base of the Sacre Coeur Basilica in hilly Montmartre is a favorite. You can either brave the stairs up to the top, or take the funicular up the hill for the price of a metro ticket. Do watch your belongings here, though, as pickpockets are known to operate in the area. To get there, take Metro line 2 to Anvers, and follow signs to "Butte Montmartre" (Montmartre Knoll).
Read related feature: Montmartre in Pictures
Picture-Perfect Spot #2: Eiffel Tower
From the top deck of the world-famous Eiffel Tower, you can see most of the city's famed landmarks-- not to mention enjoy watching the crowds below swarm around like tiny ants. If you don't suffer from vertigo, walking part or all of the way up to the top levels can be a true adventure- but it's not for the faint of heart, nor for anyone suffering from health conditions.
More details on getting there and admission: Eiffel Tower Visitors' Guide
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Picture-Perfect Spot #3: Montparnasse Tower
One of Paris' only skyscrapers, the Montparnasse Tower has, in our humble opinion, little charm aside from the breathtaking panorama provided by a ride to the top. Once you're up there, though, prepare to be dazzled: many say the views from this nearly 700-foot tower are superior to the ones you can get from the Eiffel Tower? And if course, from this tower, you can actually see the Eiffel!
Visit the Tour de Montparnasse before exploring one of the city's more modern neighborhoods, where 20th century writers like Henry Miller were known to haunt nearby bars and cafes.
Read Related: 4 Towers in Paris Worth Visiting That Aren't the Eiffel
Picture-Perfect Spot #4: Arc de Triomphe
See Paris as the Emperor Napoleon apparently wished to: from a sweeping vantage atop the 164-foot tall Arc de Triomphe, a monument scaled appropriately to the ego of the Emperor who commissioned it. From here you can witness the perfect symmetry of the Avenue des Champs-Elysees, the Tuileries Gardens beyond, and the entire line of monuments known as the "Trumphal Way" extending all the way to the Louvre and in the other direction to the Grande Arche de la Defense. There's something sublime and grandiose about the perspectives in both directions.
Picture-Perfect Spot #5: The Top Floor at the Centre Georges Pompidou
From the rooftop of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris' city center, you can procure excellent views of most of the capital's most-famous landmarks, including Notre Dame Cathedral to the southeast and the Sacré Coeur to the north. You can take the elevator to the top with the purchase of a ticket to the National Museum of Modern Art housed at the center, or opt to dine at the trendy Georges Restaurant located on the last floor for stunning views over the right and left banks of the Seine.
Picture-Perfect Spot #5: Parc de Belleville
This little-known jem of a park nestled in a residential, albeit gritty neighborhood of northeastern Paris provides one of the best views of the city, and the romantic-style park winds down the hill for a charming stroll. An excellent off-the-beaten-track afternoon can be had here.
Read Related Feature: Exploring Gritty, Arty Belleville
Metro: Get off at the Pyrenées stop. To get to the park, take the Rue des Envièrges up the hill from Rue de Belleville until you reach the panorama and the park entrance on your right.