Last Updated on 5th December 2022 by Sophie Nadeau
It’s cold and windy. My hands feel like ice cubes. My eyes water and my mascara is running down my face. But I don’t care. Coffee cup in hand, camera in the other, I’m watching the sunrise over Paris.
There’s nothing quite like the first glint of sunlight just over the horizon, that first hint of a golden glow. The candy coloured skyline ablaze, awash with the hope of a new day. I used to think that the best time of day was sunset. Now it’s sunrise…
Sunset is pretty and there’s a pretty adequate amount of time between waking up and the actual event to not be too bleary-eyed yo ensure that you don’t miss a thing. But sunrise is like magic. You wake up with the sun.
The most amazing location from which to watch sunrise over Paris is, without a doubt, Jardins du Trocadéro (and a quick search on google for images of Parisian sunrises doesn’t completely prove me wrong).
Located in the 16e arrondissement, the Jardins du Trocadéro lies across from the Eiffel Tower, on the other side of the Seine. Its predominant feature is the Fountain of Warsaw, otherwise known as the Water Mirror.
From this location, the sun quite literally rises above the horizon before shining through the lower levels of the Eiffel Tower. Like magic. And the best part about going to watch the Eiffel Tower early in the morning? Asides from one or two fashion shoots and a few camera-wielding early birds, the place was practically empty. Bonus.
Tips for photographing sunrise over Paris:
The nearest Trocadéro, and lines 6 and 9 can be found there. If arriving by metro, allow plenty of time for arrival: my train was delayed by around ten minutes and I almost missed sunrise altogether! The weekend will be a lot quieter than during the week. Photo shoots normally take place on a weekday and you’ll soon find that you have the place to yourself.
Bring a coffee and be sure to bring a warm jacket; it can be quite breezy at the top of the jardins! If you have time afterwards, then you may well consider wandering along the Seine towards Place de la Concorde.
And if none of the above has already convinced you to see the sun rise up above the Eiffel Tower (including these beautiful sunrise images): it’s worth noting that seeing the sunrise at Trocadero is completely free. It costs absolutely nothing, making this one of the best free things to do in Paris.
When is sunrise in Paris?
The time of sunrise is entirely dependant on the season. Whereas in the very middle of the winter the sun can reach above the horizon as late as half-past eight, the sun can rise as early as five in the morning in mid-summer. As such, I highly recommend checking online the exact time for sunrise in Paris before you plan to visit!
Psst. If you’re planning to visit Paris, then we’ve created a gorgeous 100+ page eBook full of beautiful photos and insider tips by a local. Included you’ll find hidden gems, arrondissement guides, walking tours, suggested itineraries, and more. Find more information here.
Sophie Nadeau loves dogs, books, travel, pizza, and history. A Francophile at heart, she runs solosophie.com when she’s not chasing after the next sunset shot or consuming something sweet. She splits her time between Paris and London and travels as much as she can! Subscribe to Sophie’s YouTube Channel.