The Heights of Paris, a Photo Essay

Posted on 28. May, 2012 by in Destinations, Europe Travel, France, Photo Posts

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I have sort of a love/hate relationship with Paris.

While my first three visits were pretty much disasters, the last two were a lot better, and even made me admit what everybody else knew already: Paris is a pretty awesome place.

I decided to pretty much start my relationship with the city completely anew, and revisit all of the tourist spots I so despised the first time. Not only did I not pay a centime (most attractions are free for all European residents of less than 26 years old), I honestly had a lovely time admiring Paris from its best vantage points, competing with my husband to see who could name the most sights. I won, of course – this travel blogging thing is really starting to pay off. 

And, well, my calves are now firmer than ever, after climbing thousands of steps in a two days!

I also did kind of go overboard with the picture taking. So here’s a small selection of my best photos of Paris, from an unusual perspective.

I think my favorite spot was the Arc de Triomphe. Very iconic by itself, it offers instant, unobstructed 360° panorama over all of Paris, including the surprising area of La Défense. I really loved seeing all the boulevards converge towards the arch, as if it was the natural center of the city, and watch the instant chaos it creates in the roundabout below. Plus, I don’t think it ever gets too crowded because the platform is pretty big, so no sharp elbows needed!

The Champs-Élysées on the right, and chic boulevard Haussman on the left

Next up was Notre-Dame-de-Paris. The cathedral offers unique views thanks to the dozens of gargoyles watching over the city, but the first deck gets real full, real quick because of the tiny space available. For a panorama of the whole city, make sure to climb all the way to the top of the spire, from which you can see everything from Bois de Vincennes to the east, to the Panthéon to the Eiffel Tower. Be prepared for A LOT of twirling stairs and potential vertigo, though!

Butte Montmartre in the background, with Basilique du Sacré-Coeur

photos of paris

The most iconic shot of the Notre-Dame-de-Paris observatory

Finally, the top of the Eiffel Tower. While I did not witness any engagement while I was there, I found it a tad too much. The queues alone are a good enough reason to make you want to skip the tower altogether! I’m still glad I went up because it’s kind of a must-do when in Paris, but I don’t think I will be going again.

As I only had two days in the city I couldn’t possibly visit all of the vantage points, and there are many other great ones to take into account, starting with the butte Montmartre or the Tour Montparnasse, for example.

Which one was my favorite, you ask? I would have to go with the Arc de Triomphe for the overall experience. No big crowds, fairly easy to get to the top, unique panorama and very close to dozens of other attractions.

What’s your favorite panorama, or photos of Paris? Would you recommend another secret picture-taking spot?



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13 Responses to “The Heights of Paris, a Photo Essay”

  1. Cassie

    28. May, 2012

    Loved your pictures!!!! Glad Paris treated you better this time!

    Reply to this comment
  2. Katherina

    29. May, 2012

    I love the pictures, Marie! The first one is impressive - you can even see the financial district in the end!

    Reply to this comment
  3. Laurence

    29. May, 2012

    I love the view from the top of the Arc de Triomf. One of my favourite spots in Paris too :)

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  4. So happy to hear you have had a change of heart about Paris! I was a little underwhelmed by Paris the first time I visited. I think when enough people rave about how wonderful a place is, your expectations are immediately heightened.
    I was constantly told how much I would “LOVE Paris” so it was a little bit of a letdown when I didn’t love it as much as I thought. This changed though, and Paris is now one of my favourite cities in the world. Love it to bits! Great photos :)

    Reply to this comment
    • Marie

      31. May, 2012

      Thanks! :-) I’m glad to see I wasn’t the only one to have a hard time adjusting.

      Reply to this comment
  5. Andrea

    31. May, 2012

    This city always looks so great from above - I love the angles

    Reply to this comment
    • Marie

      31. May, 2012

      Thanks! The angles from the Arc de Triomphe are particularly impressive.

      Reply to this comment
  6. The luixury Travel Bible

    22. Jul, 2012

    Love this photo essay on the rooftops of Paris - will share with our readers - hope you relaxes in a hoel with a great view too. Let us jknow where

    Reply to this comment
  7. Sofie

    02. Nov, 2012

    My relationship with Paris isn’t the greatest either. The first time I went was with school on a 3-day trip, the second time I only went for a day. It’s not that it was that bad, it’s just that the city hadn’t live up to my expectations, I guess.
    I’ll be going again in two weeks with some friends. Third time’s a charm, they say. And I hope they’re right :-)

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