Paris, from above, is a flat city, all thanks to Baron Haussmann’s strict rules about the height of apartments all the way back from the 1800s. But here and there, its gorgeous skyline with zinc-clad rooftops is punctuated by different iconic structures that make for an interesting panorama. It’s not enough to see these structures looking up from the street level; you have to view them from different vantage points above the city. Whether it’s zinc-clad rooftops, appreciating the Haussmann’s renovation of Paris or deciding whether something is an eye sore or not, there’s a different perspective for everyone. Here’s where I’ve been to so far.
- Montparnasse tower. This is the only skyscraper in the City of Light and to be honest it looks like a “photobomber” in the skyline (as seen from a different place below) but it has its advantage. The observation deck at the 56th floor offers an unparalleled 360-degree view of the city. There’s a lounge for food and drinks up here if you want to wait for the sunset and see the Eiffel tower light up at night.
2. Panthéon. The Panthéon is a landmark in the Latin Quarter that’s worth visiting for its jaw-dropping interior of mosaics and paintings of French history. It used to be a church in the 1800s but is now the resting place of some notable/ great French people (some of the names found in the Eiffel tower like Voltaire and Curie are buried here). Pay an additional 2euros to get to the dome viewing platform and the view is just exquisite from up there.
3. Arc de Triomphe. Another iconic structure, this one’s my favourite in that it offers the nearest view of Paris’ “la plus belle avenue du monde” (most beautiful avenue in the world) –the Champs Élysées. But that’s just one of the 12 avenues spreading out of the arc that you will notice from above the arc. The 234-step spiral case going up is quite a cardio though so be warned about it. I wasn’t able to go to the Arc during daytime so I borrowed my friend Christian’s photos. 😅
4. Sacré-Cœur. One can’t be impressed when presented with the whiteness of this basilica located on the hills of Montmartre. I was warned about many friends about going to this place alone so I went to discover it by a walking tour. I’m glad I did coz you’ll fall in love with this place the way the great artists and writers who lived here in the past have. It can also be tricky finding your way in its steep and cobbled streets so a guide or map is needed but the view at the base of top is pleasant and rewarding. This makes Amélie, a French rom com, one of my favorite movies as it was shot here 🙂
5. Eiffel Tower. Aaah, saving the best for last. Of course, as it took me a return trip to get up the 2nd floor of the Iron Lady. Most of the travel websites would say the waiting time is overrated but it’s quite different seeing it from the ground and being in it yourself though. It’s like, pinch-me-I’m-inside-the-Eiffel-tower feeling. Hehe. It wasn’t a good time to be there in October though because nobody could stand how cold it was up there. Most of the people just stayed for the pic and went inside the cafe and shops. Perhaps I was the only one who stayed the most outdoors from the tour bus. City view photo c/o my friend Luis.
So do you think the Montparnasse tower is an eyesore from Paris’ skyline from above? 😅 Also, there’s an ongoing campaign led by one of Paris’ mayors to include their zinc-clad rooftops as a UNESCO world heritage site. Do you think it’s worthy? Where’s your favorite viewing point in Paris? 😊