France / Paris


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Last Updated on 29th January 2017 by Sophie Nadeau

Standing on the banks of the Seine, on one of the many bridges that litter the great river, I was speechless for one of the first times in my entire life. In that moment, the colours of the sky and sheer beauty of the architecture of one of the most beautiful churches in the world merely confirmed to me that moving to Paris has turned me into the fully fledged romantic I was always meant to be. Notre Dame at sunset was everything I had ever imagined it to be.

The sky was filled with hues of candy pinks, oranges and purples and the raised banks of the Seine due to the recent flood waters meant that the buildings were fully reflected in the river below.

As with everything in Paris, if you’re going to do something, then you should probably do it the right way! This doesn’t just go for ordering your morning expresso but for visiting Notre Dame at sunset as well.

If you’re going to Notre Dame at sunset rather than sunrise, then you should go behind the cathedral for the best view of the setting sun. The best viewing points are from the bridges Pont de L’Archêveche and Pont de la Tournelle.

Tips for taking sunset pictures (and Notre Dame at Sunset):

  • Sunset pictures work best when there are at least a couple of clouds in the sky. This will ensure better candy colours when the sun is setting.
  • If you’re looking to do a sunstar setting behind the cathedral from one of the bridges (or the garden immediately behind the cathedral), then I recommend reading this article.
  • If you want to make a puddlegram, then I recommend going down onto Quai de la Tournelle and taking your shot from there.
  • When you want to get the best colours from the sky, you should underexpose the photo so that you don’t lose any definition.
  • Shoot at as low as an ISO number as possible in order to reduce noise. In order to counterbalance this lack of light, you’ll need a longer shutter speed (and maybe even a tripod).
  • If you shoot your images in RAW, then you’ll have ore ability to manipulate the image later on and draw out the colours.

notre dame at sunset

reasons to pick up a camera

notre dame at sunset

About Author

Sophie Nadeau loves dogs, books, Paris, pizza, and history, though not necessarily in that order. A fan of all things France related, she runs when she's not chasing after the next sunset shot or consuming her weight in sweet food. Currently based in Paris after studies in London, she's spent most of her life living in the beautiful Devonian countryside in South West England!


  • Laura
    6th July 2016 at 7:39 pm

    These pictures looks breathtaking!! Great post 🙂

  • the adventurer
    5th July 2016 at 8:28 pm

    wow! these photos are so breath taking! you captured the moment perfectly =o)

  • Lauren Bishop
    3rd July 2016 at 12:29 pm

    Very beautiful well composed photos. Thanks for the sunset photography tips.

  • Caroline
    2nd July 2016 at 9:56 pm

    Brilliant tip! I visited Paris years ago and would love to go back… definitely going to be using this! Also – thanks for those dotted tips. Beautiful photos.

  • Stephanie
    2nd July 2016 at 2:33 am

    Love the photography tips. Sunrise and set are so challenging to photograph.

  • Lindsay
    1st July 2016 at 5:53 pm

    I came here to gawk at the photos and was pleasantly surprised by the sunset photo tips 🙂 love it, seriously stunning. I agree that it is one of the best views in Paris.

  • The Common Wanderer
    1st July 2016 at 12:41 pm

    Okay, your photography is NEXT LEVEL and that sunset is off the charts!

    More please! haha.

    Mark and Mim

  • Sue Slaght
    30th June 2016 at 5:44 pm

    Oh my goodness the photos are incredible. Great tips!

  • FabioRosado
    30th June 2016 at 4:54 pm

    Sophie I would like to congratulate you for these pictures. They look amazing and perfect!

    I have been in Paris and visited Notre Dama, but I was really young and didn’t really enjoy the city and the church properly. But then again, a senior school trip means more girls and drink than all that “boring” buildings.

    I kind of regret it now, luckily my girlfriend’s dream trip is Paris so we might be going there soon. Once there, I will definitely use your tips to try and capture beautiful pictures, just like you. So thank you for the useful tips!

  • the travelogue (by Anna & Vanessa)
    29th June 2016 at 1:20 pm

    Wow, love your photos! Looks really beautiful at this time of the day <3
    xx Anna & Vanessa

  • Darina
    29th June 2016 at 6:07 am

    The photos are stunning! Great tips!


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