If you’re looking to uncover a whole new side to the French Capital here are my suggestions of the best views in Paris that are mostly unknown to the general tourist. But, you’re no average tourist. You’re looking to delve deeper and discover the hidden gems of Paris.
It’s time to discover and enjoy the City of Light from an entirely new perspective.
What the guidebooks don’t tell you.
Reading time: 6 minutes
Image by Markus Jaschke
When you think about great views in Paris, what comes to mind?
The Eiffel tower, Sacré-Coeur, Notre Dame or the Arc de Triomphe.
Sure the views from here are incredible.
But, that’s the Paris you know. And so does e-e-e-eeeeveryone else.
What you may not know is that the most visited city in the world is full of hidden gems and corners to uncover, charming streets to wander along and astounding spots concealed alongside chic restaurants or behind clandestine gates.
Let me introduce you to a whole new side to the French capital with my top ten surreptitious views of the city.
So that you too can dig a little deeper and get fragmentally off the beaten path.
So that you too can feel like you at least beginning to get a feel for the real city.
Not the one in the manuals.
Image by bortescristian
10 Best Views in Paris Hidden Gems
For the perfect rendezvous with friends or for a romantic escape, pack a picnic of baguettes, pastis, and my personal favourite tarte infiniment vanille and wander to one of these ten recommended viewpoints.
You can thank me later with a portion of said French delights 😉
1| Du Parc de Belleville
Image by Phil Beard
Completely off the beaten path, somewhere in the 20th arrondissement, is the hilltop district of Belleville and at its centre is Parc de Belleville. Perched at 108 meters above the city, it the highest park in Paris.
The view of the city is simply wonderful from the many vantage points! At the summit of the park, an almost thirty-metre tall terrace provides a panoramic view of the city.
There are not many places in Paris where you are able to see all the main tourist attractions in a linear fashion and point them out as you look right to left.
So head up the walkway to the top of one of Belleville’s many hills. You wont be disappointed.
This neighbourhood is also home to a promising population of artists, so be sure to check out the interesting street art and murals in the area.
47 Rue des Couronnes, 75020
Metro station: Pyrénées or Couronnes
2| La Terrasse at the Hotel Raphael
Image Hotel Raphael
Located on the seventh floor of the Hotel Raphael, La Terrasse, a 7-minute walk from Charles de Gaulle Étoile RER station, offers wonderful panoramic views.
Find yourself being caught off-guard with the glow of the Eiffel tower on one side while the Arc de Triomphe and Sacré-Cœur effortlessly grab your attention on the other.
The wonderful views and popularity of this location mean that getting a table requires a little bit of patience. La Terrasse is open from 4pm to 11pm. Note that drinks are pricey, but the views are worth it.
17 Avenue Kléber, 75116
Metro: Charles de Gaulle Étoile RER station
Image by themikebot
Several of the major department stores, including Galeries Lafayette, have rooftop cafes offering birds-eye viewpoints across Paris.
My favourite one though is the vista from the rooftop terrace of Printemps. A large department store in the 9th arrondisement.
From the rooftop, you are provided with an extensive panorama down the Rue Royale to La Madeleine church, punctuated with the Eiffel tower and the Sacré-Cœur all round.
Definitely try to go at sunset to enjoy a golden view. I did and was not disappointed. I also happened to arrive just after a major storm and was treated to a superlative rainbow framing the city.
Hours: 9 AM – 7 PM
102 Rue de Provence, 75009
Metro: Havre – Caumartin
4| Parc des Buttes-Chaumont
Image by Eric@focus
Imagine a huge park with kilometers of roads and paths surrounded by bridges, a waterfall, crags, implausible cedars and rolling lawns.
A public park located in the Northeast of Paris in the 19th arrondissement, the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont is simply the perfect getaway in the city and the best spot to stop during a weekend in Paris for the best views.
Following the advise of a local, I made my way to this public park and was felt like a kid in a chocolate factory, exploring.
You can’t miss the climb up to the Temple de la Sibylle, the park’s most famous feature. Inspired by the Temple of Vesta in Tivoli, this monument is perched atop a cliff high above the waters of an artificial lake and provides superb views over Paris.
Hours: 7 AM – 8 PM
1 Rue Botzaris, 75019
Metro: M° Buttes Chaumont
5| La Défense
Image by ehpien
The contemporary high-rise and office district of Paris, you will find La Défense beyond central Paris at the start of the western outskirts of the city.
La Défense is also the location of the Grande Arche, one of Paris’ most modern and striking landmarks, situated at the western end of the grand axis formed by the Champs-Elysées, the Place de la Concorde and the Arc de Triomphe.
During my numerous visits to Paris, I always wondered what lay beyond the Grande Arche. Until my visit here. From this platform you get sprawling views back into central Paris as well the satisfaction of seeing what lies beyond this area.
Metro: Gare de la Défense
6| Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris
Image by Four Seasons Paris
Situated in the heart of Paris, a couple hundred meters away from Av. des Champs-Élysées, the rooftop terrace of the Four Seasons rooms, is sure to delight with a dramatic view of the Paris skyline.
This one is a little off-limits (text me and I will explain how to get to the top).
31 Avenue George V, 75008 Paris
Metro: George V
7| Tour Montparnasse
Image by thibhou
My apartment during my second time in Paris was located in the shadow of the Montparnasse Tower, the tallest building in France. One morning during clear skies, I walked in and bought a ticket to the rooftop viewing platform of this office skyscraper.
In under a minute, the elevator brings you to the observation deck on 56th floor, where the view is great, but climb up the four flights of stairs to get 360 views which on a good day will allow you expansive views beyond that of central Paris.
The platform is vast and thick Plexiglas walls enclose the area for safety. But don’t worry; your instagram doesn’t have to suffer as a result. There are gaps in-between to allow the capture of the perfect view.
Hours: 9:30 AM – 11:30 PM
33 Avenue du Maine, 75015
Metro: Gare Montparnasse
8| Centre Georges Pompidou
Image by Istvan
This museum of modern art located in the 4th arrondisement provides unique views of the rooftops of Paris. Look to the right for sweeping views of Montmatre and the left for the Eiffel tower.
While here, be sure to check out the vast public library and the numerous exhibitions on offer.
Hours: 11 am – 10 pm (closed Tuesday)
Place Georges-Pompidou, 75004 Paris, France
Nearby metro stations: Rambuteau, Les Halles
9| Musee des Arabes
This is a great place to enjoy the sunset. Take the elevator to the 9th floor for a free view of Paris.
Hours: 11 am – 10 pm (closed Monday)
1 Rue des Fossés Saint-Bernard, 75005
10| Ballon Generali de Paris
Image by *_*
Imagine being taken up in the air in a tethered helium balloon, with a 360 degree view that parallels that of the Eiffel tower, but without the crowds.
This unusual attraction lifts around 50,000 visitors each year with the spectacle lasting around ten minutes.
In optimal weather conditions, the Ballon Generali can reach the altitude of around 300 m (980 ft), making it one of the highest points in the city.
For 12 € you can also enjoy the surrounding park.
Be sure to check the weather, as it does not fly if too windy.
Hours: 9 AM – 8 PM
Parc André Citroën, 75015
Metro: Gare du Pont du Garigliano
Which one is your favourite view in Paris?
For further inspiration and beautiful photos of Paris, head over to my Instagram @araioflight
J’espère que tu prendras du bon temps,