10 Great Spots to View the Eiffel Tower
“Seeing the Eiffel Tower in real life” topped our kids’ wish list during our recent family trip to Paris. It was their first time visiting the French capital, and they were super-excited to see its most recognizable symbol: once, the world’s tallest structure; today, one of the most iconic tourist attractions in the world.
Several travel guides suggested that our first stop in Paris should be the Arc de Triomphe. The structure is one of the city’s most important monuments, and it also offers great views of the city, including the Eiffel Tower. We had the perfect plan to unveil Paris to our kids with a big bang!
Unfortunately, at the very last minute, our plan changed due to flight delays and a few other adventures that are part of travel. We will have to come back another time to climb the top of the Arc de Triomphe and catch a view of the Eiffel Tower from its terrace. On the bright side, during our five-day stay in Paris, we found plenty of other locations that offered magnificent and memorable views of the Eiffel Tower, some from afar and some very close to it.
10 Places to Get a Fantastic Eiffel Tower View
1. Place du Trocadéro
Trocadero is the section of Paris located directly across the river from the Eiffel Tower. Many argue that Place du Trocadero, a large square in the heart of the area, is absolutely the best place to see the tower or take a perfect selfie with it in the background. It is especially popular for viewing the Eiffel Tower at night, all lit up and glistening with thousands of lights.
Place du Trocadero can be easily accessed by taking the Metro line 6 or 9 and exiting at the Trocadero stop. As soon as you get to the top of the stairs to exit the Metro station, you will be greeted with a magnificent view that leaves nobody indifferent. After you take it all in, you can walk south towards the Seine river and cross Pont d’léna bridge to reach the Eiffel Tower itself.
2. A Seine River Cruise
Sightseeing cruises on the Seine river are a popular tourist activity in Paris and a nice, relaxed way to get an introductory view of some of the city’s most popular attractions such as the Louvre, Musee d’Orsay, Notre Dame, as well as the Eiffel Tower. Most of the tours operate in a loop and make a turn just past the Eiffel Tower, so you will have an ample opportunity to admire it and take plenty of pictures, no matter which company you choose or where you board.
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3. Pont de la Concorde or Any Other Nearby Bridges
Several bridges that cross the Seine, either east or west of the Eiffel Tower, offer nice views of the river and the Eiffel Tower on its left bank. My favorite section of the bridges is east of the tower, before the river starts to bend by the Jardin des Tuileries. We particularly liked the view from the Pont de la Concorde because it also includes the extravagant Pont Alexandre III bridge with its famous gilt bronze winged horses.
4. Champs de Mars
One of the most classic views of the Eiffel Tower is from the Champs de Mars, the vast green area on the south side of the tower, opposite from the river Seine. For a special experience, grab a picnic basket to enjoy on the grassy area while taking in an unobstructed view of the tower as well as enjoying some people watching.
5. The Top of Sacre Cœur
This stunning white basilica, located in Montmartre, stands on the highest point of Paris with the entire city spreading out at its feet. Climbing the 300 or so stairs to reach the top of its dome is a small price to pay for unparalleled 360° views of Paris, including the Eiffel Tower. For the best views and lighting, plan your visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon as the sun starts to set. You will not be disappointed. C‘est magnifique!
6. The Top of Notre Dame
If you are planning a visit to Paris, you are likely also planing to visit Notre Dame, one of the most famous cathedrals in the world. You must, I repeat you must, make the effort to also climb to its dome after you tour this remarkable church. The lines might be long even in the off season and there are 387 narrow, spiraling stairs to conquer, but the views of the city, the river Seine, and the Eiffel Tower in the company of chimera statues from the top of the south tower are iconic and simply spectacular.
7. Centre Georges Pompidou
Centre George Pompidou, the city’s one-of-a-kind museum, is definitely worth a visit for its unique building design and its splendid modern art collection, said to be the largest in Europe. But not everybody knows that it also offers fantastic views of the Eiffel Tower from its open air restaurant Le Georges, located on the top floor and reachable by a series of transparent escalators.
You can also get a nice view from the west facing outdoor exhibit terraces on floors 4 and 5. For the best experience, arrive in late afternoon and you will be rewarded with a spectacular view of the city and its famous tower in the setting sun.
8. Underneath the Eiffel Tower
Many attractions can be disappointing or appear much smaller when you finally see them in real life. The opposite is the case with the Eiffel Tower. Even if you have seen hundreds of photos or have already admired the tower from various locations around Paris, viewing the Eiffel Tower by standing directly underneath it, is a unique experience that evoked genuine “wows” from all of us.
Before our trip, we read that the tower is painted every seven years with 60 tons of specially designed brown paint in three shades which get progressively lighter with the structure’s height. It was fun to look up and study the color from up close, and slightly less fun to imagine the workers dangling from the structure for 18 months, the time it usually takes to complete the job each time.
9. The Eiffel Tower Steps
Finally, you should experience the tower from the inside. Most tourists take the speed elevator to the top, but I suggest taking the stairs to the first viewing platform and then, after you catch your breath, climb a few more to the second one. Climbing the tower inside its recognizable frame is a very memorable experience, and you will enjoy great views in all directions that even those afraid of the heights will enjoy. For the grand finale, buy a ticket for the glass elevator on the second floor and ride to the very top, 986 feet above the ground.
10. The Unexpected Views
We loved every single viewing experience of the Eiffel Tower listed here, but I should add that catching a glimpse of it when it came into the view completely unexpectedly, particularly in the neighborhoods surrounding it, was an equally special experience. At those times, we were not on a mission to see it from yet another perspective or take a picture for our Instagram album, but rather, we simply enjoyed the reminder that this famous attraction is a part of every day life in Paris.
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Know Before You Go
- The Jardin des Plantes is the most popular garden in France, housing over 200 species of plants. The garden also has a zoo that is open daily.
- There is another Statue of Liberty on the Ile aux Cygnes (also known as Swan Lake).
- The Pere Lachaise Cemetery holds the graves of the famous Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf, and Frederic Chopin. A stroll through this cemetery is a nice free escape from the chaos of the city.