Skip the Eiffel Tower lines: 4 alternatives to see Paris from above
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. Unfortunately for many disappointed tourists, the Eiffel Tower has been closed since Tuesday due to a strike and labor dispute. If you have plans to visit the City of Light in the coming days, there are still plenty of opportunities to see the tower and the amazing city views — without climbing those famous wrought-iron lattice steps or waiting for an elevator. Here are four great alternatives to check out:
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.
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.
Tickets are normally 15 euros for adults, 12 euros for young adults ages 16-20, and 9.50 euros for children ages 7-12. Through Jan. 2, 2017, there is a special offer of 30 percent off ticket prices when purchased online. Visit www.tourmontparnasse56.com for hours and more information.