I’ve come to realise that the rooftops in Paris offer some of the most breathtaking views in Europe. This will probably not come as a surprise to you knowing that it’s one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Here is an example of what a typical view over the Parisian rooftops looks like (This is the view from my apartment which is on the 6th floor):
I consider myself lucky to be able to see several iconic Parisian monuments, such as the Sacré-Coeur and the Eiffel Tower, in a distance from my window every morning when I wake up. Many of us in Paris share views like these and some people even have the Eiffel Tower literally just in front of their balconies… Imagine that! When you are next in Paris, you cannot leave without going up to at least one of these rooftops to get some of the best views in the world…
1) GALERIES LAFAYETTE
Even if you’re not in the mood for shopping there are two amazing things to see at the Galeries Lafayette: the beautiful indoor glass roof dome which goes up 43 meters high and the rooftop terrace on the 7th floor where you can even enjoy a glass of champagne at the bar. From here you can see all the monuments of Paris, especially the Palais Garner Opera which is just opposite, and entrance is free.
2) TOUR SAINT-JACQUES
Tour Saint-Jacques is one of my personal favourites as you get to see a spectacular panoramic view of Paris from one simple tower, meaning you can catch the view all at once. It’s only open during the summer which I think is to do with safety reasons as in order to reach the top you have the climb 300 narrow steps. You have to book you tickets online in advance here (10€ for adults and 8€ for students/children). This iconic Medieval tower is all that remains from a church that once existed in the 16th century but which got destroyed during the French Revolution.
3) ARC DE TRIOMPHE
As you can see from my photos, I didn’t have much luck with the weather when I went up to the top of the Arc De Triomphe. But at least this goes to show you that even on the worst day the view is still breathtaking. If you want to take some nice photos I suggest going early in the morning to catch the sunrise or later in the evening at sunset.
Do check the opening times in advance as they change throughout the year. Entrance costs 12€ for adults, 9€ reduced rate where applicable and it’s free for under 18s. Please don’t try to cross the Place Charles-de-Gaulle roundabout as it’s really dangerous so take the underground path.
Printemps department store is next to the Galeries Lafayette and also has a lovely glass roof dome to admire. Once you take the lift to the top floor and then a set of escalators to reach the rooftop you will be amazed by the 360° view (free entrance). What makes it different are the beautiful domes you can see on the outside with their gold-plated finishings. There is also a rooftop bar to quench your thirst.
5) CENTRE POMPIDOU
This is the perfect option to choose if you’re also looking for some culture. Centre Pompidou is a famous centre of contemporary art. It first opened in 1977 and is very unusual and unique from the outside, as you can see. The architecture is so well thought of that I advise you to read the history behind it before visiting. On the top floor there’s a fancy restaurant, Georges, where you can eat or just have a drink. My insider tip is that you can simply access the rooftop for free to enjoy the view if you mention at the bottom that you’re going to the restaurant (even if you’re not).
Other great places to see a great panoramic view of Paris are the Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Montparnasse Tower and, of course, the Eiffel Tower. I haven’t been to these ones yet but from what I’ve heard, and seen from the photos, they seem well worth a visit.
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