Skip the Eiffel Tower: 4 places to see Paris from above

by Stacy Roman
Stripes Europe

The Eiffel Tower is the most well-known of Paris’ landmarks. This modern marvel of architecture is a must-see on millions of bucket lists. However, if you want a photo with this iconic tower, you'll have to find another spot in the city to snap your pic. Here are four fantastic places to see the tower and the amazing city views — without climbing those famous wrought-iron lattice steps or waiting for an elevator. 

Trocadero Gardens

For a convenient and breathtaking view of the Eiffel Tower, especially when it sparkles to life after dark, walk a short distance across the Seine to the Trocadero Gardens. Surrounded by lush trees, ponds and charming sidewalk cafés, this is a great location to get your obligatory photo of the Eiffel Tower. Because it is a popular tourist destination, it can get a little crowded. Beware of pickpockets and individuals selling trinkets throughout the gardens.


Located just on the outskirts of Paris in the quaint neighborhood of Montmartre is Sacré-Cœur. This exquisite basilica was completed in 1914 and consecrated in 1919. Perched atop a small hill, Sacré-Cœur is a much-visited tourist destination. While it’s a little farther from the city center, the views of the city are spectacular. Visit at sunset for a phenomenal panorama as the city lights up.

Take a water bus

One of my favorite ways to get around Paris is via the Seine. Hop on one of the bateaux buses (boat buses) and explore the city at your leisure. There are many types of cruises — hop-on/hop-off, sunset dinner cruises and basic get-from-point-A-to-point-B options. Most boats have outdoor coverings where you can seek shelter when the weather is less than cooperative. While cruising on the Seine, you will pass directly by the Eiffel Tower for a close-up view without the crowds.

Tour Montparnasse

Arguably one of the least-attractive buildings in Paris, Tour Montparnasse is the second-tallest skyscraper in France. The 59-story office tower is hard to miss — the non-descript façade rises in the heart of the city. What it lacks in charm it makes up for in stunning 360-degree views of Paris. Many say it’s the best place to take in the sweeping cityscape, since it’s the only place in which you can’t see the unattractive office building. An elevator will whisk you to the 56th floor in less than 40 seconds. Walk up three flights of stairs, and you’ll arrive at the observation deck. Sip a delicious glass of bubbly from the champagne bar, or just admire the fantastic view of every major landmark in the city. Visit for hours and more information.


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