In a city as charming as Paris, there’s certainly no shortage of places to take beautiful photos. However, you might not be able to see all of the popular spots in just one visit. To help you plan your itinerary, I’ll list the top photo spots in Paris in this article! You may be familiar with some of these locations; for example, Sacré-Cœur and the Eiffel Tower. If so, I hope to provide inspiration for your photos in these well-known sites. Moreover, I’ll also be disclosing certain hidden gems, which are less frequented by tourists. Maybe you’ve seen some of these places on Instagram but didn’t know where to find them! To solve this problem, I’m including a map at the end of this post. If you love photography, I hope you’re able to fit all of these amazing spots for photos into your Paris itinerary.
Pro tip: Paris is an extremely busy city, so you’ll have to wake up early to capture photos at popular sights without getting crowds in the background! I recommend checking the sunrise time in Paris on your weather app and planning to be out and about within an hour of sunrise.
Sacré Cœur (front façade)
You’ll have to hike up Montmartre hill to reach the top of this picturesque basilica. Nonetheless, the trek to Sacré Cœur is 100% worth it! Not only do you get to see the church in all its glory, but you also get a fantastic view of Paris. Fun fact: Sacré Cœur is the second-highest point in the city (besides the top of the Eiffel Tower). It’s also the second most-visited church in France. So, just as in the case of these other photo-worthy spots in Paris, you’ll want to arrive as early as you can to for photo opps! My favorite place to capture photos of Sacré Cœur is the front façade. However, there are tons of great options for different perspectives of the basilica.
Sacré Cœur (Rue du Chevalier de la Barre)
If you walk down Rue du Chevalier de la Barre on either side, you’ll find some really picturesque street views of Sacré Cœur. To the left side of the church, you’ll be able to take photos of the Sacré Cœur in the distance behind a street filled with souvenir shops and restaurants. You can also follow this street in the opposite direction to visit the Square Marcel Bleustein Blanchet. This terraced garden offers a unique view of the Sacré Cœur from a less-famous angle. It’s also a nice and relaxing location to escape the crowds! Down the stairs from the basilica, you’ll find a road called Rue du Cardinal Dubois. If you walk along this street towards The Hardware Societé (a yummy restaurant for brunch!), you’ll find another photo-worthy perspective of Sacré Cœur.
Sinking House in Montmartre
The Sinking House in Montmartre is one of the most exciting optical illusions you’ll see on Instagram. I recommend trying to get this photo directly after visiting Sacré Cœur, as you actually stand on the basilica steps to take this photo. With the church to your back and the view of Paris in front of you, the house will be on your left. If you’d like to be in the photo, you’ll have to climb over a metal railing. To make the building look like it’s sinking, you’ll need to tilt your camera. Instead of shooting straight on, line up the horizon of the shot with the grass hill. If you do this correctly, your photo will create the optical illusion of a sinking house!
The first photo above demonstrates what the illusion should look like, while the second photo is an example of the picture without tilting your camera. Many people miss this opportunity for a photo because they don’t realize it’s actually an optical illusion!
If adorable, historic cafés are your thing, you should have Le Consulat on your bucket list. Located in Montmartre, this restaurant is an easy place to fit into your itinerary after the Sacré Cœur. You’ll notice that this section of Montmartre caters to tourists, so expect prices for a meal or coffee to be relatively pricey. As this is a touristic area of Paris, you’ll want to arrive at Le Consulat relatively early in the morning. It becomes packed with tourists in the afternoon! If you’d like to capture the entire restaurant in your photo, you’ll want to bring your wide-angle lens.
La Maison Rose
You’ll most likely recognize La Maison Rose as “that pink house you always see on Instagram”. However, before social media even existed, this resto-café was a hotspot for burgeoning artists in Paris. In particular, Pablo Picasso spent a lot of time in this house due to his complicated relationship with the owner. You can read more on that here because it’s pretty juicy. After the café’s golden age, it eventually became a tourist trap and closed to the public. Luckily, the building underwent a renovation at the beginning of 2018 to restore it to its former glory. La Maison Rose now houses a restaurant that offers traditional French cuisine.
Rue de l’Abreuvoir
Rue de l’Abreuvoir is an adorable cobblestone lane in Montmartre, which also happens to be home to La Maison Rose. Based on the street name, we know that this historic road originally led to a watering place. In fact, Rue de l’Abreuvoir’s beginnings date back to an alley mentioned in 1325. The actual street was indicated in Albert Jouvin de Rochefort‘s city plans from 1672. However, it was not officially called “Abreuvoir” until 1843. As you can tell, you’ll be walking upon centuries of history if you check out this street! I think the most photogenic perspective of Rue de l’Abreuvoir is from its intersection with Rue Girardon. From here, you can capture the whole street!
Musée Gustave Moreau
The Gustave Moreau Museum is definitely the quirkiest museum you’ll find in Paris. It’s filled with items from Moreau’s personal collection, including heirlooms, paintings, drawings, watercolors, sculptures, and furniture. Of course, we can’t forget to mention the most impressive part of the museum: the stunning spiral staircase on the second floor. While the first floor of the painter’s house-studio is set up more like a home with apartments, the second and third floors are spacious art studios. If you’re in the Montmartre neighborhood, pop in to experience Moreau’s unconventional yet impressive home.
After visiting the Montmartre neighborhood and Sacré Cœur, you’ll most likely need to make your way down Montmartre hill to reach a metro station. On your descent, make sure to take the stairs directly in front of the basilica to explore the gorgeous Square Louise-Michel. This park offers spectacular views of the city and even has a beautiful carousel. At the bottom of all these staircases, you’ll find one of my favorite photography locations in Paris! From this spot, you can capture a photo of both Sacré Cœur as well as the Saint-Pierre carousel.
The Eiffel Tower (Trocadéro)
Trocadéro is undoubtedly the most popular place to take pictures of the Eiffel Tower. If you’d like to get one of these classic photos during your Paris vacation, you’ll need to arrive early. If you visit this spot later in the day, you’ll most likely have to wait in line to sit on one of the famous ledges! To arrive at the Place du Trocadéro, you’ll have to take line 6 or 9 of the métro to the Trocadéro station. After getting off the train, make sure to come out of the station at the “Tour Eiffel” exit. From there, it’s a quick walk to reach Place du Trocadéro.
You’ll notice that you can capture the iconic ledge shot with the Eiffel Tower in the background on both the left and right sides. For some reason, the right side (facing the tower with the Place to your back) seems to be more prevalent on Instagram, although you’ll have the same view of the Tower from either side. If you’d like to take a photo while sitting on the ledge, be as careful as possible.
Avenue de Camoëns
After visiting the typical place to take pictures of the Eiffel Tower (Trocadéro), head to Avenue de Camoëns for a more hidden perspective! As a general rule, photographers tend to know about this street, but it’s never filled with tourists. Make sure to pack your portrait lens your gorgeous close-up shots with the Eiffel Tower in the background.
For a unique photo with both the Eiffel Tower and the River Seine, take a walk along Port Debilly. There are staircases that lead down to a path right next to the river from Avenue de New York. The pathway next to the Seine has lots of options for photos, but I chose to take pictures next to the Pont d’léna! You may want to bring props like a picnic blanket and basket or even snacks and wine.
Rue de Buenos Aires
When it comes to streets with Eiffel Tower views, most people are familiar with Rue de l’Université. However, I’ve never seen anyone else mention Rue de Buenos Aires. Although there were cars parked along the street, I loved the pop of red that Castel Café adds to the photo! For the pictures shown above, I waited for a long pause in traffic and quickly snapped a few photos. If you’d like to get closer to the tower, the crosswalk is another great option for photos. I highly recommend investing in a wide-angle camera lens in order to take photos at this location!
The Eiffel Tower (Square Rapp)
Square Rapp is an amazing secret spot to take photos of the Eiffel Tower. From the gated garden in this tucked-away street, you have a perfect view of the Eiffel Tower. I’ve only seen a few photos on Instagram from this location, so it’s definitely a hidden gem. In fact, I never would’ve known about this spot if it hadn’t been for a local friend, Marc. If you happen to go by this location to take pictures, make sure to send him a thank you message for sharing such a secret location!
The Lavirotte Building is an apartment building that was designed by celebrated architect Jules Lavirotte. As you can see from the photos, the façade of this building really stands out! In fact, it’s one of the most famous surviving examples of Art Nouveau architecture in Paris. As you look closer at the Lavirotte, you’ll notice more and more details, including intricate carvings, sculptures, ceramic tiles, and ironwork. This building is only one minute away from Square Rapp, so don’t miss the opportunity to see it while you’re in the area!
Rue de l’Université
Located in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, Rue de l’Université is one of the best locations for a full photo of the Eiffel Tower. The difficulty of taking a picture here is that there are often cars parked on the side of the street and numerous pedestrians. However, if you’re patient, or if you wake up early in the morning, you can still take photos on this street without many distractions in the background. For pictures like the ones shown above, you’ll need to pack a wide-angle lens for your camera!
Rue Saint-Dominique is mainly known as a shopping street. However, not many people know that it’s also another secret spot for Eiffel Tower photos! I think the most adorable location on this road is in front of Au Canon des Invalides, a charming brasserie. You may have to be patient to capture a photo in the crosswalk without people in the background!
Pont Alexandre III
Paris is an over-the-top city, and Pont Alexandre III is a perfect example of this. Although the bridge was constructed to fit into the city layout instead of blocking the skyline, it’s certainly eye-catching. It’s widely considered to be the most ornate bridge in the city, making it one of the most photo-worthy spots in Paris. You’ll find statues of nymphs, cherubs, and winged horses throughout the bridge. I recommend capturing photos both on the bridge as well as on the path underneath it for variation. If you like Pont Alexandre III’s design, make sure to check out the Grand Palais and the Petit Palais. Each of these constructions was created in the same style for the Exposition Universelle in 1900.
Funnily enough, the “Petit Palais” is anything but small. Dripping in gold and intricate details, the entrance to this museum is an Instagrammer’s dream come true. Just like Pont Alexandre III, the Petit Palais was created for the 1900 Exposition Universelle. Its design was so well received that the architect managed to work with King Leopold II of Belgium afterward, and it has served as a model for museums in various countries.
Le Village Royal
Le Village Royal is an open-air passageway that was originally a bustling market in 18th-century Paris. At present, after a remarkable reconstruction in 1992, this same passageway is now filled with couture boutiques, such as Chanel and Dior. Throughout the year, this trendy location changes between different eye-catching installations. Thus, you might find colorful umbrellas or even Christmas decorations depending on the month of your visit!
If you’re looking for a secret view of the Eiffel Tower with no tourists, you won’t want to miss Printemps Haussmann. This gigantic department stoor is actually split into three separate buildings: the first for women’s clothing and accessories, the second for men’s clothing and accessories and gourmet food, and the third for beauty, home, and childrenswear. To find this elusive view, you’ll want to go to the largest of the three buildings. In French, this store is the Printemps Homme-Printemps de Goût. Next, take the elevator to the top floor. You’ll see a small set of stairs after exiting the elevator, which will lead you to the top floor of Printemps. Here, you’ll find Restaurant Perruche, where you can have a cocktail, snap a few photos, and appreciate the 360° view of Paris.
Galeries Lafayette Haussmann
Just past Printemps, you’ll find another impressive luxury department store: Galeries Lafayette Haussmann. On the third floor of the main building, you can experience the Glasswalk, where you can actually stand in the middle of the extraordinary art deco dome. This walkway is free to access and is suspended approximately 52 feet in mid-air. There is normally a line for the Glasswalk, but I think it’s 100% worth the wait.
The Palais-Royal was originally a Cardinal Palace, with construction finishing up in 1639. Over the years, it transferred possession between various members of French royalty and the State. The striped columns pictured above make for a great photo; however, they are part of a somewhat controversial art installation. I find the juxtaposition of the Colonnes de Buren (modern art) with the Palais-Royal to be playful and charming. After taking a few photos with these famous columns, make your way to the Palais-Royal Gardens, where you can relax by the fountain and people watch. If you happen to be visiting during the spring, the gardens are also a wonderful place to take photos among the seasonal flowers.
Odette Paris is both an adorable photo spot as well as a delicious pastry shop that specializes in cream puffs. After visiting Notre Dame, stop by for an affordable dessert and a coffee! You can also easily make your way to one of the cutest bookstores in Paris, Shakespeare and Company, afterward.
Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole
Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole is a quaint French restaurant located on Île de la Cité. If you’re visiting while the wisteria is in bloom, this spot becomes even more photogenic than normal. However, Au Vieux Paris tends to switch up its displays based on the current season, so it’s sure to be an amazing place for photos no matter when you visit!
Did you know that there’s a street in Paris full of pastel-colored homes? With houses like those shown above, it’s no surprise that Rue Crémieux is considered one of the most beautiful places in Paris and a hidden gem! Unfortunately, it seems that the residents of this street have become fed up with Instagrammers and have issued a decree against photography and videography on Rue Crémieux. Therefore, although I cannot recommend this street as a photo spot, I do want to leave it listed here as it’s still a vibrant and unique place to visit in Paris.
Did I miss any of your most photo-worthy spots in Paris? Let me know in the comments!
The first version of this article was originally published in March 2018 but has since been updated.
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