- Climb the Triumphal arch might have not been on your Paris attractions wishlist but climbing the 280 stairs to the top is an incredibly rewarding experience as there are some fabulous views of Paris from the rooftop.
It’s quite a sight!
While climbing so many stairs to the top of the Arc de Triomphe could be tiresome and even daunting to some, you’re in for a treat! You’ll be able to see many of Paris’s top landmarks. Some other iconic places you will spot are the spectacular Eiffel Tower, the tower of Montparnasse, Montmartre and the Basilica of Sacre Coeur.
The stunning view down the tree-lined Champs-Elysées toward Place de la Concorde and the Louvre Museum is a unique way to see how grand and impressive this street is. The Arc is at the end of the Champs Élysees, where 12 roads radiate outwards from a junction called the Etoile (star) which is known for its crazy traffic. It forms an axis of arches through the center of Paris, with the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel next to the Louvre at one end and the Grande Arche in La Defense at the other. You can see both of them from the viewing platform of the Arc.
The Arc de Triomphe is open every day except on national holidays from April 1 to September 30 (10am – 11pm) and October 1 to March 31 (10am – 10:30pm) and costs 13 euro. For up-to-date visitor information, visit Arc de Triomphe official website.
- The Montparnasse Tower has a bit of negative reputation for its looks, as it is a big 210 meters tall box-like blot on the Parisian skyline. Located right in the city center, it used to be Paris’ tallest skyscraper when it was built in 1968. The city no longer allows such tall buildings in the central area as they are restricted to the La Defence area.
Even though the tower mostly provides space for business offices, the general public is allowed to visit the 56th floor and roof. Also, don’t worry if you did not book your entry ticket in advance since the queues are usually not too long unlike other touristy areas of Paris.
You don’t have to climb stairs this time as a fast elevator takes you to the top in 38 seconds. There is an open-air roof terrace with a curved glass wall for visitors to look out across the city in all directions. If you can wait to see the city at dusk with all the night lights and the sparkling Eiffel Tower you will get the best views of the night Paris, a city that never sleeps. There is also a bar and a restaurant, Le Ceil de Paris, to enjoy a glass of Champagne and savor the views.
The Montparnasse Tower is open every day from 9.30am–11.30pm. Entry costs €18 for adults, €15 for students, or €9.50 for children aged 4–11. Click here for more information.
- Although it’s only 83 meters high the dome of Sacré-Cœur Basilica is the second-highest point in Paris because it is positioned on the top of Montmartre hill. The basilica is 83 meters high and was built in honour of the victims of the Franco–Prussian war. The beautiful white travertine limestone that it is made of, gets whiter as time passes and showcases a patchwork of architectural styles.
Climbing up to the top of the inner dome is quite a challenge as there are over 300 spiralling steps that are pretty narrow. When you reach the top you see a gallery to walk around for a 360-degree panorama of the city. If you happen to be there on a clear day you can see for over 30 miles! The dome also gives you a great close-up view of the basilica’s bell towers and stone gargoyles.
Sacré-Cœur Basilica is open daily from from May to September ( 9am–5pm) and from October to April (6am–10.30pm), and you can access the dome from 8.30am–8pm. The entry to the dome costs €6 for adults or €4 for children. For more information click here .
How about admiring the sunset over Paris from the rooftop of Beaubourg - Paris' most popular Modern Art Museum? Perched on the roof of the Centre Georges-Pompidou, this rooftop is a gem.
From the rooftop, which is covered with window panes, you can see Montmartre, Saint-Eustache, La Défense, the Eiffel Tower, Montparnasse, Saint-Jacques Tower, Le Panthéon and Notre-Dame. The view is definitely worth visiting this landmark.
There is also a restaurant offering some fine-dining, featuring modern and tasty French cuisine from a large menu selection, available for both lunch and dinner.
The rooftop bar is one of the best hot night spots. The bar also offers some breathtaking views of Paris and its surroundings from the large panoramic windows. The vibrant rooftop establishment is perfect for enjoying a cocktail and the picture-perfect views with a group of close friends. A live DJs pumps up the vibe later in the evenings on weekends.
For more information check out the website.
- Galeries Lafayette offers a great view that does not cost anything. The free rooftop terrace at the Galeries Lafayette department store on Boulevard Haussmann is not your regular tourist attraction. Yet, it is a great bargain for the amazing views you get from here. The store is well-known for its sophisticated window displays and high-end products and its spacious panoramic terrace.
Galeries Lafayette Terrace
Climb up to the seventh floor and you get a 360-degree views across the Paris skyline, including two of the city's most famous landmarks – the Eiffel Tower in one direction and Sacré-Cœur Basilica in the other. You also get a great view down onto the neighboring Opera Garnier.
Soak up the views with a drink or meal at bar and restaurant La Paillote or Cube Bar on the rooftop where you can lounge with a glass of bubbly as you look out over the Paris rooftops.
The terrace at Galeries Lafayette Haussmann is open from 9.30am - 7.30pm and 11am on Sundays. Check out the website for detailed information click here.