Where to sleep, eat, and shop to get the best views of Paris.
While Paris is truly beautiful from every angle, a few places throughout the city promise to dazzle. From restaurants with views of the city’s iconic attractions to hotels with enviable vistas to stores with terraces overlooking the rooftops—here are 18 places with breathtaking views that won’t disappoint.
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Beholding the views from the iconic Eiffel Tower seems like a rite of passage, especially when you factor in its long, snaking lines. Consider a skip-the-line tour, or better yet, get a ride on the VIP elevator with a reservation for lunch or dinner at chef Thierry Marx’s Madame Brasserie, on the tower’s 1st floor, or the gastronomic restaurant Le Jules Verne, helmed by three-star chef Frédéric Anton, on the second. Better yet, you can climb the 327 stairs to the first floor, then take the elevator from there to get the best views of the entire city.
Arc de Triomphe
Some say the views from Napoleon’s triumphal arch are the best in the city. From Place Charles de Gaulle—known as Place de l’Étoile (the star) for the 12 streets that radiate from its center—you have a view straight down the Champs-Élysées and the rest of Paris beyond. Take the underground passage (or arrive from metro line 1 or RER A). Attempting to cross the ring road around the arc is taking your life in your hands. Be prepared to climb 284 stairs, as the elevator is available only to those who need it (with another 40 stairs to the observation deck).
The final resting place of such French notables as Hugo, Voltaire, Rousseau, and Zola (and, as of 1995, several heroic women, including Josephine Baker, interred last year for her service in the Resistance during WWII) and home of Foucault’s pendulum, the best part of this giant mausoleum atop the Left Bank’s Montaigne Sainte Genviève, is the spectacular views of the heart of Paris from its colonnade. From April through October, the newly restored dome offers 360-degree views to intrepid visitors willing to climb its 206 steps.
Sacré Coeur Basilica
Perched atop Montmartre, the views from Sacré Coeur’s 271-foot-high dome, its famous white steps, or its sprawling front terrace are breathtaking. For a truly iconic experience, take the much-photographed Rue Foyatier, pretty much all stairway, from the foot of the Butte Montmartre and climb its 222 steps alongside the Park Louise Michel. For the price of a metro ticket, the funicular is a more leisurely and wheelchair-accessible way to get to the top. Once up, people with disabilities can access the basilica from the back of the church on Rue du Chevalier de La Barre.
Institut du Monde Arabe
Palais de Tokyo
To avoid the crowds (and pickpockets) at Trocodéro’s famous esplanade, Paris’s most popular spot to view the Eiffel Tower just across the way, head just a few steps over to the sprawling terrace of the Palais de Tokyo. Set in a historic Art Deco-era building, erected for the 1937 International Exposition, and home of the Palais de Tokyo contemporary art museum and the Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris (MAM), this is a favorite spot for Parisian skateboarders and romantics. You can also enjoy the view while sipping a cocktail or enjoying lunch or dinner at the three onsite restaurants, Monsieur Bleu, Forest, and Bambini.
Mount the escalators at the Centre Pompidou for legendary views of Les Halles and beyond as Paris’s rooftops come progressively into view. It’s well worth stopping in for a drink on the terrace of the museum’s Le Georges restaurant to take it all in, especially at sunset, when you see the Eiffel Tower sparkling in the distance.
INSIDER TIPBe sure to go soon since the museum will close in late 2024 for a massive four-year restoration.
From the exterior terraces of the Musée d’Orsay, you’ll get Instagram-worthy views of the banks of the Seine, the Eiffel Tower, the Tuileries Gardens, and the glittering domes of the Sacré Coeur. Don’t miss a glimpse of Paris through the ex-train station’s iconic clock face.
Related: The Best Museums in Paris
Hôtel de la Marine Museum
The views of Paris from the Eiffel Tower are not to be missed, but the views of the Eiffel Tower are hands down Paris’s most sought-after. At Paris’s Shangri-La Hotel, the closest luxury hotel to the tower, 30 rooms offer guests up-close-and-personal views in the majesty of their own room, as the tower sparkles every hour on the hour after dusk till midnight.
From the swanky SO/Paris hotel, set in the lower Marais a block from the Seine and the Île Saint-Louis, guests get unobstructed views of the city’s Left Bank and the Eiffel Tower. Best of all are the panoramic views from Bonnie, the hotel’s restaurant on the 15th floor, and cocktail lounge on the 16th floor, boasting reflections of the Seine and its boats passing from Olafur Eliasson’s mirrored installation.
TOO Hotel Paris
Outside the city center, set on the four top floors of Jean Nouvel’s towering Tours Duo—the city’s second-highest structures at Paris’s eastern edge—the new TOO Hotel Paris offers eye-popping city panoramas. Monuments may be distant, but for sheer drama, the restaurant’s floor-to-ceiling windows give the feeling of gliding high in the Paris sky. Spring for a corner suite, where you can enjoy wraparound views from your tub, or book a moment in the sky-high open-air Jacuzzi in the hotel’s 17th-floor spa’s outdoor terrace.
Le Oiseau Blanc
Two-Michelin-star Le Oiseau Blanc at the Paris Peninsula Hotel boasts stellar views of Paris’s rooftops, the Eiffel Tower, and Sacré Coeur in the distance. This is one of the few menus in Paris that take you to equally thrilling heights.
Le Jules Verne
Atop the Eiffel Tower, Le Jules Verne is a favorite spot for presidents, celebrities, and VIPs. Helmed by three-Michelin star chef Frédéric Anton, this beautiful dining room is worth the hefty investment (tasting menus run more than €200). Winning a Michelin star in 2020 clinched the restaurant’s standing as one of Paris’s top splurge-worthy dining rooms.
The legendary Tour d’Argent has served Paris high society for nearly 250 years on snowy white linens, spotless silver glinting in the candlelight over peerless views of the Seine and Notre Dame cathedral. Its legendary wine cellar boasts bottles from over 15,000 estates enumerated in a 400-page wine list. Don’t panic; the sommelier is happy to help you choose a wine.
Le Perchoir Group
Le Perchoir Group is Paris’s most popular chain of terrace cocktail bars and nightclubs. The six outposts all offer off-the-charts views, but the original Ménilmontant location is the most popular, open year-round, with heated tents in winter and sunbathing in lounge chairs in summer.
Historic Galeries Lafayette‘s rooftop terrace offers one of the best panoramas of Paris, with waist-high glass panels between you and Paris’s rooftops, the Opera Garnier, and a panorama of almost every monument in the city. Its outdoor rooftop terrace’s chic restaurant and café are excellent spots for a time out from shopping or enjoying the views in warmer weather.