One of the finest attractions for almost any tourist is a city’s heights and the climbing thereof.
It helps you grasp the feel of a new city very quickly, get well oriented in an unknown place and see the city from its perhaps more unusual spots – those often not seen even by local inhabitants. As a result, I love to have climbing tours around cities I visit. Here is a sneak peek video I made in Paris.
Paris has a number of spots for gazing at the city from its heights. It is kind of a challenge to visit them all in one day but you could try. I would recommend the following list of Paris top spots:
- Arc de Triumph,
- Sacré-Coeur, Montmartre hill,
- View Circle at Concorde Plaza,
- Notre Dame Cathedral,
- Eiffel Tower,
- Skyscraper at Montparnasse 56.
The list is not full and final. There are other places as well. Please share your best spots (with photos if possible).
I would like to start with one extra location. I was very lucky this time to have an exclusive extra top spot in Paris. During my stay, I lived in a lovely apartment on the 23rd floor of some contemporary premium real estate. The house lies on the Seine river embankment. Have a look at this unbelievable view over the western part of Paris and the famous La Defense district – the old city just below with all it’s history and the new modern city far away. It’s like glancing through the ages
Have you also noticed the Statue of Liberty? Don’t forget to visit it, especially if you are an American French people are proud of their ancestors’ role in making a symbol of the US. So, they have 4 replicas of the Statue of Liberty and the biggest one is on the island in the river Seine.
So, I would recommend staying in some apartments with a great view over Paris.
Arc de Triomphe (Triumphal Arch)
The Arc de Triomphe is a famous arc at the end of Champs-Elysees avenue. It honours those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars, with the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces. This is a great place to start your walk through Paris.
The traffic is pretty heavy on the roundabout of which the Arc is the center, so don’t try to cross it. Just use an underpass. There are two of them – one at the Champs Elysees and the second at the Avenue de la Grande Armee (there are signs).
From the top, you can see all major city landmarks. There is even a circle compass to highlight the most important sights and their silhouettes at the horizon. As ever, the La Defense district looks very impressive with all of its skyscrapers. Grande Arc is also a particularly noticeable landmark. It is reminiscent of looking through the ages when you view the contemporary, even futuristic, Grande Arc from the top of the very historic Triumphal Arc.
There is no elevator here, so you will have to climb all the (very narrow) steps to get to the tip. Good exercise to start your day
This is the place I was the most excited to see. It is as beautiful from outside as the view you have from the top dome. Tickets to the dome can be bought at the left side entrance (a cashier and a tickets machine are available).
Watch out for pickpockets and aggressive inhabitants trying to rope your hand and get your money after that. Those guys occupy areas near the routes to the entrance. Pretend that you don’t understand what they’re saying and use your own language (unless it is French or American English in which case just say “abracadabra” many times.)
Have a look at this beauty.
There is no elevator here and climbing won’t be a one-two deal, especially considering that you just climbed the hill, though it is a great exercise as well! Make your legs healthy and strong. Do it twice!
This is a lovely attraction in the very center of Paris at Place de la Concorde.
Did you know that it is built on the island in the middle of Senna river? It was a surprise for me.
No elevator. Getting to the top requires the work of your very own legs via several hundreds of ladder steps.
Must have for any Paris tourist. I missed the opportunity to visit for a second time already. The reason is simple. Usually the queue is pretty huge here so it’s better to schedule your visit early in the morning or late in the evening. It’s working hours are pretty long to accommodate this.
It was named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the tower. Erected in 1889 as the entrance arch to the 1889 World’s Fair, it has become both a global cultural icon of France and one of the most recognizable structures in the world.
The best view over Eiffel Tower is from Trocadero. It is especially impressive when lights are on.
Elevator is available here, but if you want to continue your exercises then take a ladder, though bear in mind that this is not very accessible with small children. If you have a push chair, then you will have to leave it somewhere at the bottom.
Here is a shot of the view you can have from the top of Eiffel Tower. Notice the huge skyscraper. It is our final destination today – Montparnasse skyscraper.
A very nice and exceedingly tall skyscraper with a view platform on the very top. Said views are great and absolutely breathtaking.
Montparnasse boasts a cool elevator with funny video for passengers waiting until they start their ascent.
You may notice La Defense district right behind the Eiffel tower on this photo. Needless to say that from the top floor of Montparnasse the whole Paris city is like on you palm.
The interesting thing is that views from the tops significantly change with time of a day. Sunrise, midday, sunset give you completely new impressions. Also I noticed that these French guys love straightforward things, they like to put things on the line: La Defense, Eiffel Tower, Montparnasse 56. Another linear example: Grande Arc, Arc de Triumph, Champs-Elysees, Place de la Concorde.
Looking at the city from the tops shows one unpleasant thing. The pollution is usually pretty high in Paris and blue sky is often dark grey at the horizon.