There are so many magical Eiffel Tower views throughout the city of Paris that sometimes it’s hard to know where to begin. These 12 suggestions are based on when you are visiting and what time of the day it is!
Here is the best view of the Eiffel Tower when…
It’s your first.
Place du Trocadéro at night.
This is a common viewing spot in the 16th arrondissement that you will probably recognize from photos and movies alike. 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, 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 crepe stands and rose sellers (tourist central!) on the esplanade for great photo ops on 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.
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 in 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 (almost) all to yourself.
Bonus points if the regular metro musician that haunts the Trocadéro stop is pounding out the crowd-pleasing “Despacito” on his electronic violin as you head to the escalator- this means you have officially achieved the full experience.
On a morning run (or walk) along the Parc Rives de Seine.
There is no better motivation to keep moving forward than running towards the Eiffel Tower in the early morning! The park should still be fairly quiet at sunrise (Parisians aren’t exactly known for being early risers), and by the time you’ve gone under Pont des Arts, the beaconing Eiffel Tower will have sprung up above the row of Haussmann architecture on the left bank, always fresh in new morning light. I’ve run this route 100+ times, and it still gets me every morning.
From the Seine. On a boat.
Sunsets on a nice day in Paris are a fluffy pink dream that electrify the city from bank to bank! Book tickets for a riverboat cruise that departs about 30 minutes before sunset, and you will get to witness the cotton candy sky melt into the illuminated City of Light. I recommend doing this your first evening during a visit to Paris, not just because it’s a lovely experience- it will help you mentally map out the lay of the land. So much of Paris is built right along the Seine!
Bateaux-Mouches offers hour-long cruises for a mere 14€ that start and end at the base of the Eiffel Tower along the Port de la Bourdonnais. They depart every 30 minutes during high season (April-September) and every 40 minutes the rest of the year. Bring your own bubbly, stake out a seat on the benches at the front, and watch the magic that is Paris unfold before you.
*If you book tickets, make sure you do so on the hour, that way when your boat returns on the following hour you can watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle as the grand finale. C’est magnifique!
You’re filling that instagram feed.
From Pont de Bir Hakeim.
Pont de Bir Hakeim connects the 15th and 16th arrondissements just south of the Eiffel Tower, and is popular with wedding photographers and amateurs alike. This is thanks to its pedestrian-friendly strip with stone archways and hanging lamps that scream “Old Paris” as they frame amazing views of both the Seine and Eiffel Tower. You can get great shots on either end of the bridge, as well as in the tip of the Île aux Cygnes (Swan Island) that juts upstream from the middle of the bridge…. just know you might have to fight a bride or two to land that perfect shot.
Look familiar? Recent movies and television like Inception and Parks and Recreation have made this bridge even more famous in recent years.
In the Tuileries Gardens.
You’ve got your fresh baguette, wine and slice of camembert and you’re ready to do some serious people-watching…. or day drinking… or both. While picnicking in the grass in the Jardin des Tuileries, you can easily stake out a spot on the lawn between the Louvre’s Carrousel Arc de Triomphe and the Avenue du Général Lemonnier for a superb view of the Eiffel Tower peeking through the trees and looming over the Tuileries. You shouldn’t be bombarded by keychain vendors here like you would on the Champs de Mars in the midst of a picnic, so enjoy the ambient setting and feel free to end with a gratifying nap.
You’re in a hurry.
From the Metro Line 6.
Get on Ligne 6 (the green line) and take it in the direction of Charles de Gaulle- Étoile. As long as you get on at Cambronne, or any stop east of that, you will catch fantastic views of the Eiffel Tower as the metro takes you above ground and across the Seine by way of the top of the Bir-Hakeim Bridge. Even the locals take a pause from their book or phone to take in the view!
Le Ciel de Paris restaurant at the top of Tour Montparnasse.
Although the look of Tour Montparnasse isn’t too pretty (yeah I’m talking about that weird, standalone black skyscraper that you wondered about), the views from the top of it are absolutely insane. While 18 euros can get you into the open-air observation deck at the top, I recommend a coffee or cocktail from their restaurant on the 56th floor as a swankier (and probably cheaper) option- especially during the cold winter months when the sun goes down early and you get to watch the entire city switch their lights on, with the Eiffel Tower as a luminous focal point. Go up to the restaurant around 5:30/6:00 (17h30/18h) for a coffee or glass of red wine, and as long as you leave when they start serving dinner at 7 PM (19h),no one will mind you lingering to take some pictures.
From top of the Arc de Triomphe.
Yes you have to climb 248 winding steps to get there, but the views from the top of the Arc de Triomphe are worth every single one of them- especially in the spring when everything below it is in bloom! I maintain that the view from the top of the Arc far surpasses the view from the top of the Eiffel Tower simply because the Eiffel Tower is IN it! The top also provides far-reaching views down the Champs-Élysées, which will be lined by picturesquely puffy cherry blossom trees in the spring, followed by the distant yet vibrant Tuileries Garden. On the other side you will find more cherry-blossom lined streets stretching towards the looming modern skyscrapers of La Défense, a major business district on the edge of Paris.
Along the Promenade du Cours-la-Reine on the Right Bank.
This path is lined with trees that turn magnificent hues of orange and red in the fall, and the neighboring wall built along the Seine has a string of vines that does the same. The path connects the Place de la Concorde all the way to Pont de l’Alma, but the stretch before you hit the ornate Pont Alexandre III is particularly picturesque in the fall, with houseboats bobbing on the Seine and the Eiffel Tower looming over the water in the distance.
It’s Christmas Season.
From the viewing deck on top of Galeries LaFayette.
Between the extravagant window displays, ceilings of string lights, and seven story rotating Christmas tree display, this historic Parisian department store has gone all out for the Christmas season since the 1920s. You can check out all their displays and decorations for free throughout the holiday season while working your way up to the seventh floor, which offers an open viewing deck with spectacular views of the entire city, including the Eiffel Tower. Due to Galeries Lafayette’s close proximity to the ornate Paris Opera House, Palais Garnier, you also have a unique opportunity to admire the insane detail of its architecture up close in addition to the far-reaching city views.
From Pont Alexandre III.
With the illuminated Hôtel des Invalides on the left side, both palaces on the right, and the beaux-arts street lamps lining the actual bridge, all is illuminated, and all is right in the world as you gaze up at the Tower from Pont Alexandre III on a starry night. This breathtaking nighttime view is just as brilliant (if not more so) in the rain- just watch the final scene of Midnight in Paris as proof.
You’re saying goodbye.
Down Avenue de Saxe.
Avenue de Saxe is a quiet residential stretch in the 7th arrondissement with a wide concrete slab running down the middle (used for the local weekly market, Marché Saxe-Breteuil). You will see children riding scooters, neighbors walking their dogs, teenagers playing football- all under the backdrop of a dead-straight view of the Eiffel Tower. This used to be part of my daily walk to and from work, ande very night when I left, I would try to time it so I was walking home on the hour and able to turn back and look at the sparkling Eiffel Tower and thank my lucky stars I lived here. After midnight on my final night before moving back from Paris, I knew this was exactly where I needed to go to say goodbye, and it might be yours too. Late at night, it is safe but quiet, so you can shed a farewell tear or take one last photo in peace.