Last Updated on 26th September 2022 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! Here are some of the best Paris Instagram spots, as well as what to know before you go!
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.
Paris is a picture-perfect city full of beautiful photography angles. Almost every single corner holds a new photo opportunity. That’s just how beautiful the French capital is. From grand boulevards to quiet bars to golden gilded domes, here are the top 10 iconic photo locations in Paris:
- #1 Paris Pantheon
- #2 Wander around Saint-Germain-des-Pres
- #3 Sunrise at Trocadero
- #4 The View from the Arc de Triomphe
- #5 Enjoy beautiful spring flowers everywhere.
- #6 Musée d’Orsay
- #7 Sinking house of Montmartre
- #8 The Louvre Museum
- #9 Tour Montparnasse
- #10 Printemps & Galeries Lafayette
- #11 Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole, the prettiest Instagram Paris café
- #12 Chantilly, the Instagrammable day trip from Paris
- #13 Streets of Montmartre
- #14 Pont Alexandre III
- #15 Merry Go Rounds of Paris
- #16 Notre Dame Cathedral
- #17 Place des Vosges
- #18 rue Cremieux
- #19 Picnic on Champ de Mars
- How to photograph Paris (and get it right every time)!
- What to wear when exploring Europe
#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.
#3 Sunrise at Trocadero
If there’s one thing you do in Paris, make it watching the sunrise over the Eiffel Tower. The most amazing location to watch the sunrise from is, without a doubt, Jardins du Trocadéro. Located in the 16e arrondissement, the Jardins du Trocadéro lies across from the Eiffel Tower, on the other side of the Seine.
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.
Central to the garden’s layout is the Fountain of Warsaw, otherwise known as the Water Mirror. From here, the sun rises above the horizon before shining through the lower levels of the Eiffel Tower and reflecting on the water. Just like magic.
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.
#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 cherry 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.
#6 Musée d’Orsay
Situated in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, the Musée d’Orsay is situated in a former railway station, Gare d’Orsay. Home to Starry Nights and an impressive collection of Rodin bronzes, Musée d’Orsay overlooks the River Seine and is easily one of the best museums in Paris.
Musée d’Orsay is not only home to an impressive collection of artwork, 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.
#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.
Best photographed at the golden hour so as to make the most of the light, if you visit in the off-season and mid-week, you’ll soon find that you’ll get the place pretty much to yourself. What’s more is that the art work housed inside this famous Parisian museum is also definitely worth checking out!
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.
#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.
#10 Printemps & Galeries Lafayette
Of all the Instagrammable spots in Paris on this list, Galeries Lafayette is easily one of my favourites. One of the best places to catch the sunset in the city of love is Galeries Lafayette rooftop terrace! Open until early evening each day, it’s the perfect place to head to if you want to catch a great view of Paris.
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?)
#11 Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole, the prettiest Instagram Paris café
The picture-perfect café of Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole is like something straight off a vintage Paris Postcard and is situated on Île de la Cité. This means that it’s just a short walk away from the iconic Notre Dame cathedral and plenty of other great Parisian attractions.
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.
The cute little café of Aux Vieux Paris d’Arcole was also one of the first photos I took in 2017 on a New Year’s Day walk around the city. We wandered the cobbled lanes, entered into ancient churches and enjoyed a warm Vin Chaud at the end of the day- a wonderful start to the New Year!
#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.
The Château de Chantilly is so stunningly perfect that it always seems to do well on the visual platform that is Instagram. Built for princes in the 16th and 19th centuries, it makes for the perfect day trip from Paris, and the town makes for the perfect weekend getaway if you’re looking to escape the City of Lights for a little longer.
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.
#13 Streets of Montmartre
The Sacré Coeur Basilica, the sinking house of Montmartre, the Moulin Rouge, and the panoramic view over the city: there are countless photo opportunities in Paris’ trendiest district.
Some of the best places to visit for photography include rue Saint Vincent for the autumn leaves and Place Dalida for one of the most beautiful streets in the entirety of Paris. For a full guide, of Instagrammable and perfect Parisian photo opportunities in the 18th arrondissement, check out this Montmartre guide.
Wander around the cobbled lanes, past the vintage façades and through pretty green spaces and you’re getting pretty much as close to the Paris of old as it’s possible to get in these modern times.
I think it’s a combination of the prettiness and quirkiness of Montmartre that means that photos of the arrondissement are always well engaged with on Instagram! During Montmartre in the fall, you’ll also be able to enjoy the oh-so-Instagrammable lamppost.
#14 Pont Alexandre III
There are few Parisian locations more iconic than Pont Alexandre iii. Overlooking Les Invalides, the Tour Eiffel and the River Seine simultaneously, this bridge is supposedly one of the most beautiful bridges in the World (and it looks even better under candy pink skies)…
Classified as a National Historic monument since 1975, Pont Alexandre III was constructed between 1896 and 1900 in the Beaux-Arts style. This means that the Parisian structure is the most ornate bridge in the city.
This famous Parisian photo spot is popular among wedding and engagement photographers and is characterised by its four gilt-gold statues of Fames (the four horses which flank all four corners of the bridge), art nouveau lamps, and golden highlights all the way along the side of the golden arch.
#15 Merry Go Rounds of Paris
From Hôtel de Ville to the Trocadéro plains to just below the Tour Eiffel, there are carousels aplenty to be found in Paris. The candy colours paired with blue skies make for the perfect photo!
Some of the prettiest merry-go-rounds in the city include the Montmartre Carousel, that of Hotel de Ville, and of course, the one at Trocadero overlooking the Eiffel Tower. Here’s your complete guide to finding carousels in Paris.
#16 Notre Dame Cathedral
Notre Dame de Paris (Our Lady of Paris) was so badly damaged during the French revolution that it was almost demolished in the 19th Century. However, luckily for us photo lovers, Victor Hugo’s novel, ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ reignited public love for the cathedral and it was saved and restored by Viollet-le-Duc (who also restored Carcassonne) in 1845.
Some of the best places from which to photograph Notre Dame Cathedral include Rue Massillon (close to Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole), from the tower of Notre Dame (the visit is paid and you may have to spend a while queuing), and from Petit Pont, en route to the Latin Quarter.
Please note that due to the terrible fire in April of 2019, Notre Dame Cathedral is closed to the public until further notice. With this being said, the magnificent exterior of the Gothic ecclesiastical building can still be admired (albeit it without its spire).
#17 Place des Vosges
Situated in the very heart of Le Marais (literally the marsh), Place des Vosges. The photogenic red-bricked buildings, built in the early 1600s, were once home to many a Famous Frenchman, including Cardinal Richelieu and Victor Hugo.
In 1612, the square of Place des Vosges (a perfect square in terms of dimensions) was officially opened to the public as a way of celebrating the engagement of Louis XIII and Anne of Austria.
Strolling through the park today, you can almost imagine the excitement of such a beautiful space opening all those years ago. Little has changed in the past few centuries and the surrounding area is awash with history.
#18 rue Cremieux
Of all the iconic photo locations in Paris listed here, Rue Cremieux is probably the most obscure. It may also be one of the prettiest places on the list! The candy coloured houses that line rue Cremieux look good come rain or shine.
Situated in the 12e arrondissement, La Rue Crémieux lies close to Gare de Lyon. Opened in 1865, the road was renamed ‘Crémieux’ in 1897 in honour of Gaston Crémieux.
#19 Picnic on Champ de Mars
French food doesn’t taste better anywhere in the world than it does in France. Fact. In fact French food alone may make you want to pack your bags and move to Paris! Think macarons, baguette, wine and even more sweets. If you like meat and cheese, then France is pretty much the place to go!
Champ de Mars (English translation Mars’ Field- i.e. as in the Roman god, Mars) is the place to head to if you want a truly French picnic experience. Think Eiffel Tower at sunset surrounded by your closest friends. If you want to secure a spot on the grass in the Summer time, make sure to head to the park by around 7pm to ensure the best pick of picnic spots!
How to photograph Paris (and get it right every time)!
Paris is surely one of the most photographed city in the world. Just a quick search on Instagram will leave you inundated with over 15 million hits under the hashtag #paris alone!
Besides, it’s not hard to see why the city of love has such an allure: it’s simply so beautiful! But what if you want to take those memories home with you? Then you’ll need to know how to Photograph Paris!
Although photographing urban architecture can sometimes be daunting for the newbie photographer (I obviously still fall into this category!), there are a few simple shots that can be applied throughout the city again and again. I like to call it ‘the Paris photo formula.‘ So here’s a simple guide on how to photograph Paris using five easy techniques (and get it right every time):
The Corner Shot (the formulaic capture)
This is probably my favourite capture and what I like to call the typical ‘Instagram‘ worthy shot. How to take it: Stand in the very middle of the square/ road etc. right in front of the building. Make sure you’re aligned with the very centre of the building in order to get the shot just right; this will ensure a unique yet balanced look (quick note: please make sure to watch out for oncoming traffic!!).
You can also use this technique on what I refer to as the ‘add-on buildings‘ that are the tiny buildings that have been squeezed in between two larger buildings. The technique for this shot is a little different: place yourself in the same line as the corner of the building and take your photo.
The Café Shot (the freestyle capture)
What could possibly be more iconic than Parisian café? Little coffee shops are cute and make for an adorable photo. Besides, with a café on every corner, you’re not going to find it hard to find a shot to take, let alone one you like!
This style of shot is more ‘freestyle’. Add sky or just focus on a particular architectural feature of the building: does it have a nice door? Are the chairs and tables particularly interesting? Take photos of things that interest you and your audience will see your enthusiasm through your work. Read more: Parisian cafés you can’t miss
The Eiffel Tower (the fun capture)
This is the fun shot: Play hide and seek with the Eiffel Tower! Add your friends into the shot. Just do anything in order to mix things up a little bit! Sure, everyone’s seen pictures of the Eiffel tower a million times.
But have they seen it from the metro, or amongst cherry blossom? Look for unusual shots that will surprise (and maybe even shock) people. But, make sure you stay true to yourself- don’t just take a shot to please people- they’ll be able to smell your inauthenticity from a mile away… Read more: unusual and quirky places to spot the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
The typical side Street (the capture you have to find)
This shot is easy to take but difficult to find: take your photo by focusing in a straight line directly down the centre of the street (obviously watching out for traffic and bicycles). The most difficult part of this capture is finding the shot in the first place.
Make sure to look for streets with not too many cars or people: we’re aiming to focus on the ‘feel’ of the city in this capture and not the residents! Going at dawn or dusk will ensure that the light is less harsh and perfect for capturing the perfect ‘just discovered’ shot! Places in Paris where it’s particularly lovely to find this kind of shot are Le Marais and Montmartre.
The Postcard Capture (the imagination shot)
Of all the tips and tricks about how to photograph Paris, postcards are probably the most creative! Pick up a vintage postcard or two from the Flea Market at St Ouen for as little as €1 each and let your imagination run wild!
Juxtapose modern Paris against Paris of the past; when finding the perfect place to capture your postcard shot, don’t be too surprised when you notice just how much Paris has changed over the years…
What to wear when exploring Europe
In the summer, you can’t go wrong by pairing a cute midi dress with classic white tennis shoes for a laid-back smart casual look that’s just as chic for walking around a city’s cobbled lanes as it is for wandering coastal paths. I love this dress and have it in several colour ways. In terms of tennis shoes, this is my go-to shoe.
When it comes to winter in Europe, most places (with the exception of a few islands) can get pretty cold and so warm layers is a must. I find that cute ankle boots like these ones are the perfect mix of practical meets cute.
Shoulder seasons (spring and summer) in Europe tend to come with a mix of rainy and sunny days and so, again, layers are a must. Trench coats and sneakers are the best uniform to explore the continent in.
Finally, a cross-body bag like these ones is a must. I personally use a crossbody bag by this brand and love its shape, size, and versatility. As well as being convenient and compact, it’s one of the safest ways to transport your valuables, all the while looking chic. I also recommend bringing along a travel adapter like this one so you can charge all of your electronics during your stay!
Enjoyed reading this Paris Instagram guide to the most instagrammable spots in the city? Pin it now, read it again later:
Sophie Nadeau loves dogs, books, travel, pizza, and history. A fan of all things France related, she runs solosophie.com when she’s not chasing after the next sunset shot or consuming something sweet. She now splits her time between London and Paris! Subscribe to Sophie’s YouTube Channel.