Last Updated on 23rd November 2020 by Sophie Nadeau
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 Montmartre (18th arrondissement)
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. For a full guide, of Instagrammable and perfect Parisian photo opportunities in the 18th arrondissement, check out this Montmartre photo diary.
#2 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 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.
#3 The Arc de Triomphe
There is nothing quite like ascending to the top of the spiral staircases of the Arc de Triomphe when the sun is beginning to dip down, low in the sky. Suddenly, you emerge into the light, onto the open terrace of the Arc de Triomphe roof. And if you’re a fan of fall foliage, then the view is best enjoyed in the autumn when the leaves turn golden and the sunset is simply perfect.
With 360 degree panoramic views, you shouldn’t be surprised that this has absolutely got to be my all-time favourite view over Paris. Truth be told, if you have the time/ budget to see just one panoramic paid view in the French capital, don’t go up the Eiffel Tower, and instead head to the Arc de Triomphe!
#4 Carousels 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.
#5 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).
#6 The Louvre Museum
Who hasn’t heard of the iconic triangle that dominates the central Louvre courtyard? And the fact that it often rains in Paris means that puddlegram opportunities can be found in abundance! 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.
#7 The clock at 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.
The former station is also where you’ll find an impressive clock that doubles up as a window and offers views over Paris all the way over to Sacré-Coeur. Providing the perfect panoramic view from which to capture the city, be sure to head there early in the morning, as soon as the museum opens, to avoid the crowds that head to the cultural attraction later in the day.
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.
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.
#9 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.
#10 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.