Last Updated on 19th January 2020 by Sophie Nadeau
There’s a post I’ve had at the back of my mind for a little while now, but never quite got around to creating! It’s the Paris Instagram Guide. The most commonly asked question I get on Instagram is always: “what are the best photo spots in and around Paris?” In truth, the answer is probably different for everyone!
Whether you shoot a more urbex vibe (in which case, head to la Defense) or a more delicate floral style will determine where you should be going! However, that doesn’t mean The not-to-be-missed photo spots in the city of love.
Within this guide, you’ll find places of historic note, places to watch the golden hour and plenty of photo-worthy spots… And if you’re in search for a guide on the best gear with which to capture images of the City of Light, then check out my camera photography equipment guide.
#1 Paris Pantheon
With an amazing view over Paris and even more to discover below ground, you can’t go wrong in devoting at least an afternoon to visiting the Paris Pantheon. In France, one of the highest achievements a French citizen can obtain is to be interred in the Pantheon. Once a church dedicated to the patron saint of Paris, Saint Genevieve, the building is now the final resting place of dozens of citizens of note.
Here, you’ll find the graves of people like Voltaire and Marie-Curie. The pantheon is also home to Foucault’s pendulum. A world-renowned design, this 67-metre timepiece is a copy of the original pendulum, which is now housed in Musée des Arts et Metiers. It was through this pendulum that Foucault was able to prove that the earth was round! Purchase your Pantheon tickets here in advance.
#2 Wander around Saint-Germain-des-Pres
Of all the Paris Instagram spots, this may well be the trickiest place to capture without people. Tightly knit buildings mean that heading here shortly after sunrise or before sunset mean a number of shadows everywhere. Head here midday, mid-week for a person free shot!
The district’s close proximity to the Seine and Latin Quarter make it the perfect place to stroll around on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Other highlights of Saint-Germain-des-Prés include the stunning Saint Sulpice Church (which was part of the inspiration for Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code) and the painted interior Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, which was where Merovingian kings were once buried.
Read more: A visit to Café de Flore.
#3 Sunrise at Trocadero
Fancy doing something touristy… without the tourists? Well, set your alarm clock because the easiest way to do this is by heading to Trocadéro for sunrise! Although sunset is pleasant, everyone heads here and so the area is always packed with people enjoying picnics, soaking up the last of the sun and it’s almost impossible to get that perfect shot of the Iron Lady.
Situated on lines 6 and 9 of the metro, the Trocadéro metro station is barely 100 meters away from the Parvis de Trocadéro; a great place to catch the sun rising over the city of light. After enjoying one of the best Paris Instagram spots during the Golden Hour, be sure to take yourself for a stroll along the River Seine, where you’ll see many of Paris’ iconic sights in beautiful lighting.
Read more: Where to catch the best sunrise in Paris.
#4 The View from the Arc de Triomphe
If you’re thinking about going up the Eiffel Tower, I’d strongly advise you to consider the Arc de Triomphe instead. Shorter waiting times and a cheaper ticket price (free for EU residents under the age of 26) ensure that you’ll get up the monument faster and have more time to explore other parts of the city.
An unpopular opinion, but I actually think that the view from here is a lot better than the Eiffel Tower! For starters, you can actually see the Eiffel Tower from this location. Secondly, the central location of the Arc de Triomphe means that you can enjoy those Parisian rooftops up close and get a bird’s eye view of the Champs Élysées (the famous luxury shopping street in the city).
Although pretty at any time of the year, the view from the Arc de Triomphe is arguably that much better come the fall when the leaves turn golden shades and complement the city streets perfectly. Purchase your skip-the-line Arc de Triomphe tickets here in advance.
#5 Enjoy beautiful spring flowers everywhere.
When you think of cherry blossom season, and spring in general, Paris probably isn’t the first place that springs to mind (ha)! However, it definitely shouldn’t be discounted if you want to enjoy some spring flowers or spring blossom in the city.
After all, take a trip to the capital city of France during springtime, and you’ll soon find that you can enjoy plenty of beautiful blooms. While the best of the wisteria is to be found in Montmartre and along the banks of the River Seine, the most stunning magnolia is situated in Palais Royal and in the Champ de Mars area of the city.
Read more: Reasons to visit Paris in the Spring!
#6 Musée d’Orsay
Musée d’Orsay is not only home to an impressive collection of work (notably Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’), but a rather large clock. That’s because the Musée d’Orsay is housed in what was formerly a train station. Gare d’Orsay was built in 1900 and open for business (ie, trains) until 1939. The space has been utilised as a museum since 1977.
For the very best photographs, turn up at the museum opening and head straight to the top floor if you want to capture the clock in all its glory (best light, no people). Nearby, the River Seine also makes a beautiful backdrop to capture picture-perfect moments. Purchase your Musée d’Orsay ticket here in advance.
Read more: Gossip Girl filming locations in Paris.
#7 Sinking house of Montmartre
Of all the places listed in this Instagram guide to Paris, the sinking house of Paris is probably my favourite. Not only because it is the most obscure of the list but because every time you look at this picture, you feel confused! By far the most famous and most popular of optical illusions around the city, you can find full directions to the sinking house here.
Nearby, there are also plenty of other Instagrammable Paris spots. For example, the carousel at the base of the steps to the Sacré Coeur offers a pretty photo opportunity, while an exploration of the rest of Montmartre would not go amiss either! La Maison Rose, Place du Tertre, and Place Dalida are all very beautiful.
#8 The Louvre Museum
It’s hard not to be in louvreeee with the Louvre. Okay, enough with the bad puns! But seriously, the museum is not only the largest museum in France but in the entire world. There are just that many things to see; not just the Mona Lisa, as many a guidebook would have you believe.
In fact, believe it or not, the Louvre actually houses six of Da Vinci’s works (almost half of the fifteen works attributed to the Italian genius). Formerly a 12th-Century fortress, the medieval building’s foundations can still be seen in the basement, while the rest of the cultural hub offers plenty of great instagrammable opportunities. Purchase your skip-the-queue Louvre ticket with a guided tour here in advance.
Read more: Quirky and Unusual Facts about the Louvre!
#9 Tour Montparnasse
As the highest manmade structure in Paris that isn’t the Eiffel Tower, it’s not hard to see why Tour Montparnasse has one of the best views the city has to offer. Over the past couple of decades, a law has been in place which has forbidden the construction of high rise buildings.
The Tower is a rare high point in a city of Haussmann architecture. Tour Montparnasse may not be the prettiest building in the city, but it definitely offers some of the best views the city has to offer! Check prices and availability for Tour Montparnasse tickets here.
Read more: Ascending Tour Montparnasse.
#10 Printemps & Galeries Lafayette
Of all the Instagrammable spots on this list, Printemps is easily one of my favourites. One of the best places to catch the sunset in the city of love is Printemps! Open until early evening each day, it’s the perfect place to head to if you want to catch a great view of Paris. Here, you can buy an espresso for as little as €2 and snap some amazing pictures while you’re at it.
Oh, and the department store also has a pretty speedy WiFi connection so you can upload your best photos without having to wait to return to your accommodation! (Pretty good for an Instagram guide to Paris, right?) Nearby, Galeries Lafayette has a similarly great photo spot in the form of a rooftop terrace. from there, you can see nearby Opera, as well as further afield to the Eiffel Tower.
Read more: Deli-Cieux Rooftop terraces at Printemps.
#11 Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole, the prettiest Instagram Paris café
Hands down, one of the cutest cafés (and restaurants) in Paris can be found in the heart of Île de la Cité and not far from Notre Dame. Covered in flowering wisteria come springtime, the façade of this eatery changes on a regular basis, if only to match the season. Head here for a relaxed drink with friends or a romantic dinner you’ll remember for years to come.
Read more: A guide to Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole in Paris
#12 Chantilly, the Instagrammable day trip from Paris
Of course, the most famous day trip from Paris is that of Versailles (with Fontainebleau Château claiming a close second place). However, if you’re in search of a fairytale château without the crowds, then you may well consider a visit to Chantilly.
Around a half-hour train ride away from Paris, the picture-perfect castle boasts one of the largest art collections in France (second only to the Louvre), a ‘hamlet’ which inspired that of Marie Antoinette’s at Versailles, and a stunning garden designed by André Le Nôtre. If you’re looking for an über luxurious getaway from Paris, then you might consider booking a stay at Auberge du Jeu de Paume. Check all the details here.