You’re going to Paris for the first time and SO ready to see the Eiffel Tower in person. You’ve planned, you’ve pinned, you’ve salivated over travel bloggers’ instagram feeds. Hell, you’ve salivated over old classmates’ feeds who you haven’t talked to since high school and yet you are somehow shocked they made it to Paris before you did.
Well baby, your time has come. And while the Eiffel Tower can be seen from many places throughout the City, there are undoubtedly a few spots that you can mentally picture (thanks social media!) before you even arrive. These are those spots, and details on how to get there and take your own version of that picture you may or may not have already pinned on your wanderlust Pinterest board!
From the steps of Trocadéro.
This is a common viewing spot in the 16th arrondissement that you have probably seen a million times over the years in photos and movies. Well, there is a reason for that- when you walk into that panoramic view in person for the first, it is truly staggering.
When you get off the metro at Trocadéro (Lines 6 and 9), follow the “Eiffel Tower” exit signs, take the escalator up to Avenue du Président Wilson, walk past Théâtre National, et voilà! There she is. Walk past the crêpe stands and street vendors on the esplanade for great photo ops along the cement wall or either sets of stairs leading down to the gardens. If you are visiting between May and August, the majestic patterns of the spraying Trocadéro fountains will only add to the grandeur.
I especially recommend this view at sunset for photo-taking, then grab a crêpe speculoos and stick around. Yes, it will be busy if you are visiting during high tourist season, but the diverse crowd pushes a shared sense of reverence and excitement into the air, and you can’t help but smile and laugh at the audible gasp, followed by applause, that erupts when the Eiffel Tower begins to sparkle on each hour after sunset. On the flip side, if you show up on a week night in the off-season, particularly in January or February, you will most likely have the view mostly to yourself.
While picnicking in Champ de Mars.
Champ de Mars is the large public park in the 15th arrondissement situated between the Eiffel Tower and École Militaire, the grand former military training school that Napoleon once attended. Today, you will find the park filled with beret-wearing, suitcase toting tourists snapping selfies, as well as local families picnicking or attending a puppet show at Le Théâtre des Marionnettes Parisiennes. Take the Metro Line 8 to École Militaire and walk down Place Joffre until you hit the eastern end of the park. You should see the Mur Pour La Paix memorial (Wall of Peace) that was built and dedicated to world peace in 2000.
Once you enter the Champ de Mars, there is a tree-lined walkway with many benches that runs down the middle that you can always stop off at for your picnic. However, these benches have you facing the sides of the park instead of the Eiffel Tower dead-on. I recommend you keep walking up towards Avenue Joseph Bouvard and look for an open side bench along the way. Or just bring a blanket and plop down in the grass when you find a view you like!
Pro tip: Make sure to bring your own corkscrew, and be ready to share. Once other, less-prepared tourists realize you have one and speak English you are suddenly going to become the most popular kid on the playground.
While walking down Rue de l’Université.
Just off the northeast side of the Champs de Mars, this street quite literally dead ends into the Eiffel Tower. Once you are done picnicking in the park, walk out the side that is on your right when facing the Tower, then turn left on Avenue de la Bordonnais. It will be pretty obvious when you hit Rue de l’Université, as the street will be on your right, and a crazy close-up view of the Eiffel Tower will be on your left. If you aren’t coming from Champ de Mars, take the RER C to Pont L’Alma and walk downstream along Quai Branley until you hit Avenue de la Bordonnais. Turn left, and Rue de l’Université will be the first street on your right.
Admire the close-up view and then take that casual pic that asks,“Wait, what? Is there an Eiffel Tower behind me?”
Along the Avenue de New York on the Right Bank of the Seine.
Want one of those photos where it’s nothing but you, the water, and THE tower? Well this is where you go. There is a sidewalk that runs along the Right Bank of the Seine, parallel to Avenue de New York, that you can take an easy stroll down (upstream, away from Trocadéro). By the time you’ve hit the Paris Museum of Modern Art, the tourist crowds will have thinned significantly. If you are not starting from Trocadéro, you can also take the Metro Line 9 to Iéna, walk down Rue de la Manutention towards the Seine, and you will end up in the same stretch of sidewalk.
You can continue your stroll up onto the Passerelle Debilly, a great little pedestrian bridge with another Eiffel Tower view.
While crossing Pont Alexandre III.
With the illuminated Hôtel des Invalides on the left side, both the Petit and the Grand Palais on the right, and the beaux-arts street lamps lining the bridge itself, there are amazing views and photo ops in all directions as you gaze up at the Eiffel Tower from Pont Alexandre III. This bridge is easily one of the most iconic and ornate in all of Paris, and was originally built for the Exposition Universelle (World’s Fair) of 1900, with large bronze statues exemplifying the Parisian Belle Époque of the late 19th/early 20th century.
Take the RER C or Metro Lines 8 or 13 to Invalides and cross the Quai d’Orsay to approach the bridge from the Left Bank. The bridge is wide and there are sidewalks on either side, but the best view/photo op is on the sidewalk on the Eiffel Tower side along the Right Bank end of the bridge. Just look for a bride or influencer that is probably already there posing for a shot.
This breathtaking view is my favorite on a starry night, as both the bridge and surrounding buildings are magically illuminated, and the perfect viewing place to admire an Eiffel Tower sparkle or two. The view is just as magical in the rain- just watch the final scene of Midnight in Paris as proof.