Most, if not all, visitors to Paris will make a beeline for the iconic Eiffel Tower to experience the long held fascination of seeing it, peering up with heads dropped back to admire this world famous monument. Many will stand in line (for hours) to make the ascent to the top of the tower and gaze in awe at the sight of Paris spread before them.
What many visitors may not realise is that Paris also offers many other opportunities for magnificent birds eye views of this memorable city.
For some of the most beautiful views of Paris consider climbing (and in one case, taking the lift!) to the top of these famous Parisian monuments. Not only will you get a new perspective on Paris but you will be afforded with a panoramic view that includes the Eiffel Tower (which of course can not be seen when viewing Paris from the Eiffel Tower)
Perched atop the Butte de Montmartre, the Basilique du Sacre Cour entrance and the place du Parvis du Sacre Cour offer stunning vistas over Paris which can be enjoyed as you sit on the steps and gaze at the view in front of you. For the brave of heart with strong legs, climb the 234 spiralling stairs to the Basilica’s dome (entry fee) to be presented with a spectacular panorama of Paris, where on a clear day it is said you can see for up to 30km.
Viewed by many Parisians as a blight on the skyline and described by Lonely Planet as a ‘steel-and-smoked-glass eyesore’, the redeeming feature of the Montparnasse Tower is the spectacular views it offers of Paris. A lift whisks you to the 56th floor observatory with exhibition centre and glassed in views. Climb the sets of stairs to the open-air terrace on the 59th floor and walk around the roof to admire Paris from every angle. A wonderful way to enjoy the light show on the Eiffel Tower when it ‘twinkles’ each evening on the hour.
The Cathedrale de Notre Dame de Paris is one of the most visited sites in Paris welcoming more than 10million visitors each year. After exploring the internal beauty of the Cathedral, exit and head to the right, around the corner from the Cathedral’s main entrance. Here you will find the tours de Notre Dame (entry fee) with a spiralling 422 stairs to the top of the west facade with close up views of the gargoyles and another spectacular view of Paris.
Arc de Triomphe
Situated in the middle of a large traffic roundabout northwest of the place de la Concorde along the Champs-Élysées, stands the Arc de Triomphe. Climbing 50 metres via another set of spiralling steps (284 to be precise) brings you to the viewing platform (entry fee) on top of the arch with the dozen wide avenues spread out before you and reaching out towards each part of the city.
What’s the best view of Paris you’ve enjoyed?
(Photos by my wonderfully talented friend Robyn Cook and iStock)