Paris, the city of love, or the city of light, the capital of France and the third most popular destination in the world. It’s no wonder it’s also amongst the most photographed cities in the world and yet, everyone’s obsessed with Paris photography.
Everyone searches for the best view of the Eiffel Tower and couples often book a Paris photoshoot to immortalise the romance. Paris pictures are simply magical when done right!
“Paris is always a good idea.” – Audrey Hepburn
Audrey was right, Paris is always a good idea, however, taking Paris pictures can be difficult. The best Paris places to visit are usually insanely crowded, which is why we highly recommend going to the hot spots during sunrise.
Yes, it takes courage to wake up early, but trust us: it’s so worth it. We’ve visited a couple of times already and have collected the best places in Paris to take pictures!
Best View of the Eiffel Tower
The question on top of a photographer’s mind in Paris: where can I find the best view of the Eiffel Tower?! We’ve collected our favourite places!
Esplanade du Trocadéro
The Trocadero esplanade (and the Trocadero stairs) is hands-down the best view of the Eiffel Tower. The view isn’t obstructed by anything as you’re elevated on the esplanade.
The symmetry is great and, especially for sunrise, it’s a photographer’s paradise. There are birds flying around, there are many (to be) engaged couples doing photoshoots and although this is the most clichéd location, it’s cliché for a reason.
It’s one of those classic Paris pictures you simply must make!
Port Debilly / from the Seine
If you walk towards the Eiffel Tower in a straight line from the Trocadero Gardens, stop when you reach the Pont d’Iéna. Find the stairs to walk down to the banks of the Seine et voila!
You’re at Port Debilly, one of the best places to take pictures of the Eiffel Tower.
Avenue de Camoens
The Eiffel Tower looks great between buildings, and this street is one of those great places to make that happen!
Looking for more Europe city photography?
Check out our list of the best Amsterdam photo spots
Rue de l’Université
On the other side of the Seine, you can obviously take pictures from the Eiffel Tower park, Champ de Mars, but if you turn onto the street Rue de l’Université you’ll find another amazing spot for your Paris photography.
A wide-angle lens comes in handy, otherwise, the tower won’t fit in your frame.
The first time we walked passed this spot, I didn’t take a photo because it looks too obstructed. But I later learned you have to walk all the way into the little street and take a photo from the little garden!
Le Recrutement Café
This place is perfect if you’re looking for a Parisian cafe with Eiffel Tower backdrop. It’s one of the famous Paris Instagram spots actually, and popular amongst fashion and travel influencers.
Pont de Bir-Hakeim
Besides one of the best places to take pictures of Eiffel Tower, this bridge is a beautiful Paris photo spot by itself.
The steel structure of the colonnade is really interesting to photograph, and the streetlights are the perfect addition.
The bridge has two levels: on top the Paris Metro line 6 runs and below there’s a road for vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians.
Pont Alexandre III
This elegant bridge connects the Avenue des Champs-Élysées with the museum area of Les Invalides. The bridge was finished for the World Fair in 1900.
For interesting photos, walk along the banks of the Seine, under the bridge, and see the steel structure below. The four golden statues on the pillars on top of the bridge represent the arts, agriculture, commerce and war.
Arc de Triomphe | Avenue des Champs-Élysées
The full name is the Arc de Triomphe de l’Etoile, which is good to know because there are more arches in Paris! The avenue des Champs-Élysées is perfect for taking pictures of this Arc de Triomphe.
If you bring a long lens (or zoom lens) you can create some interesting shots. From close by, you can take good shots from the pedestrian crossings at the roundabout.
Do not cross the roundabout to get close! There is a pedestrian tunnel to get to the middle.
We highly recommend going up the arch for the perfect Paris pictures for sunset, you can create some interesting panorama shots or long exposure shots.
NOTE: tripods aren’t allowed, but we read mixed reviews about it – some have tried and successfully used their tripods. Otherwise, you can use the railing to stabilise your shots – get creative! Another tip: photograph the spiral staircase, it’s gorgeous.
Be different and photograph the other arches of Paris:
Porte Saint-Denis, La Porte Saint Martin, and Carrousel Arc de Triomphe
Louvre Museum & Louvre Pyramid
Musée de Louvre is the largest museum in the world! The museum has been around since the late 18th century and 30 years ago, the large glass Louvre Pyramid was added to the courtyard.
It is surrounded by three smaller pyramids, which are often overlooked. If you want a shot without other people, go for sunrise.
But we argue that sunset is better because you can see the sunset through the glass pyramids, making for amazing photographs. If you set up a tripod and use slow shutter speed, the crowds won’t even matter that much!
Another magical European city is Budapest,
check out our travel guide to Budapest!
Colonnes de Buren at Palais Royal
Also known as Les Deux Plateaux, this installation art was created by Daniel Buren in the 1980s. It is located in the courtyard of the 17th century Palais Royal and was highly controversial.
The art was considered ‘unsuitable’ for the historic landmark. It’s absolutely free to enter, but it’s not open 24/7. The openings hours are October-March: daily, 8am-8.30pm. April-September: daily, 8am-10.30pm.
The Clock at Musee D’Orsay
If you want to photograph the city from a unique angle, you must visit the Musee D’Orsay – just across the Seine from Louvre. From the fifth floor, you can look through one of the clocks of the building.
It can be tricky to set your camera settings right, it’s best to expose for the view – that way, you get a great silhouette photo.
If you really want to have all the details, it’s best to make an HDR photo: using different exposures you’ll get better dynamic range by merging the photos.
Good to know: the museum is closed on Mondays.
Notre Dame Cathedral
The Notre Dame is CLOSED for renovation until 2024. On April 15, 2019, the Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral was badly damaged by a fire.
Before the fire, both the interior and the view from the tower were amazing spots for taking classic Paris pictures.
During the renovation, you’ll see scaffolding in the back of the building and many tents in the front. You can still get creative and get some nice shots from the facade of the cathedral, from the Seine for example!
You can take beautiful photos of Paris from the bridges over, and the banks of the Seine, but you’ll get an interesting perspective if you book a river cruise.
We highly recommend going on a boat trip during sunset, to capture the most magical imagery! If you like photographing people, make sure to visit the Tino-Rossi Garden on a summer night to see locals and tourists dancing along the Seine!
Photography tip: bring French props like wine, cheese and baguette
to make your photos interesting!
Les Toits de Paris | Paris rooftops
Paris rooftops have that special magic. They’re quirky and romantic, and Parisians love a good DIY rooftop terrace – perfectly fitting the Parisian joie de vivre.
There are a few smart French out there, like @jonathan.bdelaunay and Visuddhi UNG, who can take you up to the most beautiful – and hidden – toits de Paris.
We arranged a sunrise-meeting with Jonathan, who has been climbing roofs since college, and we climbed up to one of the quirkiest rooftops of Paris.
Alternatively, you can visit rooftop bars like Le Perchoir, the one on top of Galeries Lafayette, or climb up the stairs of the Sacre Coeur for a nice view over the roofs of the city.
Like rooftops, carousels in Paris are more magical than they are elsewhere in the world. Maybe because there are three with a very special backdrop!
There are two at the Eiffel Tower, one right in front of the Eiffel Tower and one at the Trocadero gardens, and there is one in front of the Sacre-Coeur Basilica. Bring your wide-angle lens!
Curious what gear we shoot with? Check out our travel camera equipment article.
The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris is a roman Catholic Church and minor basilica. The basilica is located on top of the highest point of the city, making for amazing panoramic views.
The views from and on the basilica are equally beautiful and the interior of the church makes for great photos too (free to enter, open every day).
The basilica is located in the heart of the Montmartre neighbourhood, an area that is full of picturesque places. Let’s explore more!
Montmartre really feels more like a village than an area in the big city of Paris.
The neighborhood is spread over a hill, which makes for sore calves after exploring, but also for the best Paris pictures with great lines in them.
Get creative – a good photographer loves fun diagonal lines. Make sure to check out “Paris Instagram spot” metro station Lamarck – Caulaincourt for nice diagonal lines with the staircases!
Talking about lines and getting creative: the Sinking House is a fun optical illusion to photograph.
It’s actually a normal house, but when you make the grassy hill your new horizon, it looks like the house is falling over.
It’s actually located just one staircase down from the Sacre Coeur!
Good to know: between April 16 and October 14 you are allowed to climb over the fence to walk/sit on the grass (we asked the patrolling police) to make some fun photos, as long as you don’t leave any trash!
La Maison Rose
If you head to the left at the Sacre-Coeur, you’ll walk into the bustling heart of Montmartre. One of the famous “Paris Instagram Spots” is La Maison Rose.
It’s located on Rue de l’Abreuvoir, and if you walk further into the street, you’ll get an amazing view of the street, with a little top of the Sacre Coeur showing above.
Another “Instagrammable Spot” of Paris: restaurant Le Consulat. This is a really cute – yet touristy – area with many souvenir shops, but also more artsy merchandise.
Paris is full of street art, and we found a few beautiful pieces in Montmartre. There’s a flamingo wall on Rue Berthe, but by wandering around the area you’ll bump into many other murals!
Another classic Paris picture: the Moulin Rouge. You can take pictures from the exterior, but know that if you book a show, taking photos won’t be allowed!
Paris Art Nouveau Metro Stations
The Paris art nouveau signage is worth photographing, too. The Blanche metro station, close to the Moulin Rouge, makes for great photos.
Some other beautiful stations are Porte Dauphine, Saint-Michel, Cité (interior), Châtelet, Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre, and Pigalle.
Pigalle Basketball | Playground Duperré
Definitely the most colourful Paris photo spot: the new Pigalle Basketball court, aka Playground Duperré.
This collaboration between French fashion brand Pigalle, photography studio Ill-Studio, and Nike was painted in 2017.
The goal was to create a fun court for kids to play basketball but obviously, it attracts many photographers too!
Good to know: the court opens Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday from 12pm-7pm, Wednesday 10am-19pm and Sunday 11am-5pm (as seen on schedule in August 2019).
Not as colourful as the Pigalle court, but definitely close: we call it the Notting Hill of Paris. This houses in the street have facades in all colours of the rainbow!
Note: make sure to be respectful of the residents, don’t be too loud or block their entrances.
Maison Fond | The Melting House at Gare du Nord
Like the Sinking house, this melting house is a fun photo spot in Paris. As Gare du Nord is a busy station, expect many people to walk/hang around at this artwork. It’s conveniently located next to the entrance of the station!
Looking for more Europe city photography?
Check out our list of the best Amsterdam photo spots
Palais Garnier | Opera de Paris
If you love to photograph buildings, you must visit the Palais Garnier! It was built in the 19th century and is now primarily used for ballet.
Besides the previously discussed rooftop view, Galeries Lafayette has an amazing ceiling that is worth photographing!
Palace of Versailles
An hour (or one and a half, depending on your location) from Paris lies the impressive Palace of Versailles. Here you can find the famous, endless, gardens and Hall of Mirrors.
Good to know: the palace is closed on Mondays. If you’re into photographing gardens, make sure to visit the other famous jardins of Paris: Tuileries Gardens and Luxembourg Gardens.
Paris Photoshoot | Hire a Paris photographer
In the city of love and lights, you might want to take the opportunity to do a photoshoot with your loved one! There are different ways to go about this.
We always love to collaborate with other photographers and usually reach out to them on Instagram. A quicker way to ensure a Paris photoshoot is to hire a Paris photographer through platforms like Airbnb experiences or Flytographer!
Best photo spots in Paris map
We can’t wait to see your Paris photography! If you share them on your channels, make sure to tag us (@onceuponajourney) so we can see & share the results.
If you have any additions to/updates for this article, please comment below!
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