Paris is known to be one of the most photographed cities in the world. With incredible architecture, stunning scenery and a culture that is truly unique – you will without a doubt want to photograph your entire trip while visiting this beautiful city.
While Paris is actually a small, walkable metropolis – there are a handful of wonderful sites that make for captivating imagery. Here are 10 places that you should photograph while visiting Paris.
The Eiffel Tower from Trocadero
The Eiffel Tower is the Iron Lady situated on the Champs de Mars lawn. As an iconic Parisian structure, the landmark can often be seen in many viewpoints throughout the city.
For an up-close and in-depth look at its construction and stature, you should view the tower from the Platform at Trocadero.
Trocadero is a wide platform that hosts the Musée de l’Homme, which is an anthropological museum in the 16th arrondissement. Outside the museum is where you can stand, sit and hang out as the Eiffel Tower paints the scenery in the distance.
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This is the best place in the city to obtain a view of the entire tower as well as a truly symmetrical viewpoint as it features the tower straight on.
From the platform, you can walk left or right and even down the stairs to the bottom lawn where children and pets play in the summertime. Each section of the Trocadero platform and lawns give you an iconic depiction of the Eiffel.
If you want to be closer to the tower, all you will need to do is cross the bridge at Pont d’Iéna. Once you are on the other side of the river, you will be underneath the Eiffel, with a view that is unclosed and personal.
The Bir Hakeim Bridge
About a 5-minute walk along the Seine from the Eiffel tower sits the Bir Hakeim Bridge.
Often referred to as the Inception Bridge, as it was featured in the popular film with Leonardo Dicaprio, the Bir Hakeim is a truly magnificent architectural structure.
The bridge connects the 15th and the 16th arrondissements and is made up of one long, arched walkway that can be used by walkers and bikers alike.
The bridge is better known as the Pont de Bir Hakeim and can often be seen as a special spot for couples photographs, proposals, and marriages.
At the top of Montmartre lies the historical Basilica of the Sacre Coeur, which translates to the sacred heart.
Situated at the peak of this eclectic Parisian 18th district, the Sacre Coeur is always bustling with people looking to visit the church, relax on the lawn or even take in the vast views of the entire city.
As this can be a busy and touristic spot, I recommend visiting this area of Paris early in the morning to beat the crowds.
Climb up the steps to the top of Montmartre and take in the view of Paris from a bird’s eye perspective. Grab a croissant and coffee and make your way down to the lawn, where you can relax and enjoy the surroundings.
The Notre-Dame Cathedral is a Catholic church located on the Ile de la Cité in the fourth district of Paris.
You can catch glimpses of the Notre Dame from across the river in the 5th or just cross the bridge at Pont au Double to situate yourself right in front of the landmark.
The area in which Notre Dame is located, Ile de la Cité, is the most expensive area in all of Paris and is considered the city’s own small, quaint island.
If you want to get a higher viewpoint of the city, you can choose to purchase tickets to go up to the top of Notre Dame.
Now, this must-see site of Paris is not necessarily located in one specific spot, but instead spans through the entire center of the city. The Seine river is 777 kilometers long and borders 10 of the 20 neighborhoods of Paris.
You can walk along the majority of the Seine either at street level or next to the water. I recommend a combination of both, as you can stand on the bridges to take in some breathtaking views of the city.
Along the Seine, you will be able to see:
- The Pont Alexandre III Bridge
- Pont des Arts Bridge
- Pont Neuf
- Pont Marie
Take a walk starting from either the east or west side of Paris and just stroll along the entirety of the river for an accumulation of photographable viewpoints.
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Any of the Beautiful Parks & Gardens
Paris is full of beautiful parks and gardens scattered throughout the entire city.
From the gardens that are found on the grounds of museums or even the parks that serve as sanctuaries for relaxing Parisians, eager children and those looking up to curl up with a good book and enjoy the sunshine – this is a city with an abundance of green space and nature.
Any of the parks and gardens found in Paris are worthy of visiting, yet here are some that you cannot miss.
- Jardin des Tuileries: located outside of the Louvre museum, this is a large garden with plenty of seating, fountains and even a ferris wheel that sits at the entrance.
- Jardin du Luxembourg: located in the 6th arrondissement, Luxembourg is one of the most visually stunning gardens in the city.
- Jardin des Plantes: home to the natural history museum, this garden is full of botanicals and even has a greenhouse that can be visited by the public by purchasing a ticket.
- Parc Monceau: located in the 8th arrondissement, this park is close to the Arc de Triomphe and is often frequented by families for their weekend picnics.
- Parc des Buttes Chaumont: located in the 19th arrondissement, this park is the 5th largest in Paris. With incredible elevation, a suspension bridge and a viewpoint to overlook the city, this park makes you feel as if you stepped into the jungle within Paris.
If you’re photographing any part of Paris, you must remember to take images of the surroundings, not just the landmarks and monuments.
Parisian streets are incredibly unique with the buildings’ architectural structure, the design of shops, boutiques and restaurants and the massive, ornate detail given to each buildings’ doors.
To best photograph the streets of Paris, I recommend seeing as much of the city as you can by foot. Walk along the cobblestone roads, get lost and find hidden gems of this city as you explore.
Paris may have some incredible structures that are world renowned, but this city is best seen by exploring, taking the streets that veer off the beaten path and discovering the true essence of this town.
The Louvre is home to thousands of works of art and is a masterpiece in and of itself. The museum is famously known for its pyramid structure that sits in the center of the museum and is the point where visitors can enter in order to access the museum.
The Louvre can be a great sight to photograph during the day, but it is at nighttime where the view is even more spectacular. The entirety of the pyramid will become illuminated, creating a visually stunning display.
I recommend viewing the Louvre during the day and at night – to experience the duality of its structural ingenuity.
The City from the Top of Printemps
If you want to get a viewpoint of the entire city for free, head to the department store of Printemps. At the top of the store is a cafe with an expansive view of the entire city, featuring the Eiffel Tower peering off in the distance.
There are several areas you can view the entirety of the city, but this is one view that is free to the public and still considered a secret to many. The view is not only incredible but is unique as the landscape is truly uninterrupted by any other buildings that may block the view of the Eiffel.
Parisian Facades + Cafe Chairs
The final aspect of Paris that you will need to photograph during your visit is the Parisian facades and cafés. Paris is known for its unique cafés – and even more so the chairs – that are specific to the French culture.
Many have tried to recreate the design and look of Parisian cafes, but nothing compares to those found within the city of Paris.
The chairs found at the cafés are usually an intentional design element that fits in perfectly with the color palette of the cafe. You will find that some cafés are more unique than others with pops of colors such as red, blue or green.
Aside from the cafés, Parisian buildings cannot be viewed as any other place in the world. The way the city was designed – the rounded corners, the balconies, large windows, and crown molding – is a visual staple of engineering that belongs only to this city.
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Conclusion: What to Photograph in Paris?
Paris is a city like no other, from its magnificent landmarks to the cobblestone streets and the breathtaking architecture – I can assure you that you will be enamored and eager to photograph each and every piece of Paris. Have you ever been to Paris, France? Do you have a spot in the city that is your favorite to photograph? Share your feedback in the comments below.
Shannon Ciricillo is photographer working with digital and film formats, she is currently based in New York City.