Sunday, January 7, 2018

The Best Views of Paris

Traveling to Paris soon? Living in Paris? Just obsessed with Paris? 
Then, dear reader, this post is very much for you.

After two trips to Paris: one in the spring, another in the fall, I have become quite familiar with the city of lights and love. In fact, I like to think I know the city like the back of my hand. One thing is for sure, I know Paris better than NYC, (which is kind of sad, and kind of cool, at the same time). Nevertheless, after having plenty of experience and time navigating Paris, I've also had time exploring the best Paris rooftops: from the Notre Dame, to the Arc Di Triomphe, to the Galleries Lafayette, and of course that little known monument AKA The Eiffel Tower. And after seeing the views (and climbing them!), I thought I'd share my favorite ones, and the ones that were the (least)(spectacular)- to me. Read on!

a good view

first on my list, as a good (and pretty good for that matter), but least amazing view, is, The Eiffel Tower. You might be surprised this is not near the top of my list. Don't be. Was it fun, amazing, and super cool? Yes. But at the same time, when you're on the Eiffel Tower, you don't actually SEE the Eiffel Tower of course. And that takes away from a view of Paris. When I think of a good view of Paris, I think of a clear unobstructed view of it's most famed monument. So when you're above all the buildings, watching everything twinkle, sure it's beautiful. But you're on the best source of that twinkle, not looking at it.

The first time I was in Paris, I didn't even bother climbing the Eiffel Tower because frankly, the line was super long and I was completely content just staring at it. The second time I went, which involved being accompanied by my nine year old cousin, it was an absolute must see for her, so we bought the tickets, endured the line, and made our way to the top. 

On a brisk November evening, the journey to the top was a bit chilly and very very windy. Still, the experience was totally worth it. Do I recommend going? In order to say that you've been to the top of the Eiffel Tower- YES. But is it the best view of Paris? It depends on how you (want) to look at it, but for me, no. My idea of a perfect Paris view gets a bit closer with this next view though...

a better view

second on my list, as a better more amazing view, is, the rooftop terrace of the Galeries Lafayette. The Galeries Lafayette is basically this amazing famous Paris mall (technically an upmarket French department store). What many tourists don't realize, is that the mall has a rooftop terrace on the 7th floor of Coupole. So after you're done shopping, or browsing french fashion,  simply take the escalator to the terrace, and you'll be rewarded with a completely amazing view of Paris. (Eiffel Tower included!) Part of what makes it amazing is that it's also completely free!

an even better view

the first time I went to Paris, I didn't get to explore the Parisian village of Montmarte. Before I realized I would be going to Paris again, I highly regretted the fact that I didn't make time to wander around one of the oldest parts of Paris, on the outskirts, where artists like Van Gogh and Monet lived and painted and loved. when I went back, I made sure I was going to go to Montmarte, but I wasn't that familiar with the sights there, or what to expect. I wasn't expecting to see one of my favorite views there. And boy, was it a beautiful surprise. 

One of the most famous sights in Montmarte is Sacre Coeur, on a steep hill, (which I knew about). What I didn't know was that there was a view from Sacre Coeur, a very unique one in fact. What made this view stand out was not so much of the architecture of Paris, but the fact that you really feel like you are above all of those buildings- and even though you are in a city, there's a clear view of the sky, and if you're there at just the right time- a pretty cool show. 

That's right, the view on Sacre Coeur comes with an amazing view from famed street performer, and soccer (football) master Iya Traore. He choreographs an AMAZING and unbelievable performance from this monument, all with a Paris view in the background. You know that saying- a room with a view? Well, from Sacre Coeur, you get a free performance with a view. 

an amazing view

third on my list, as an even better view, is the Arc De Triomphe. I witnessed this view on my second trip to Paris, and it was fun, exciting, and in the center of Paris' busiest and most grand boulevards, (the Champ Elysees). However, the first attempt at climbing to the top was quickly abandoned once we realized that night it was closed, (so definitely check the days and hours it's opened beforehand!) Getting to the Arc De Triomphe is also exciting, as it requires you to first walk under a tunnel to enter the bottom of the monument.

the climb itself is also very fun, and very long for that matter! (284 steps!), but once at the top, you are surrounded by a wrap-around view of Paris's most famed grand boulevards, and the Eiffel Tower clearly in the distance (and pretty close!). The best part? On this monument in Paris, the boulevards and streets look like they are literally leading to where you are standing. I felt like I was literally in the center of Paris, and it was incredible. Still, there's one view nothing quite compares to. It stands out in my mind above everything else. 

the best view

last but FAR from least, is the jaw-dropping view from the top of the Notre Dame. I discovered this view on my first trip to Paris, and I was blown away by the sheer spectacle of a view that greeted me at the top. The climb, however, also happened to be the most adventurous out of all the other climbs for views in Paris: 387 steps. If you're claustrophobic, be prepared. If you're afraid of heights, get ready. This is not a view for the faint of heart. The climb alone is not for the faint of heart. I's 387 steps in a continuous elevated twirl. Once at the top, you're at the edge, accompanied by gargoyles and brave pigeons teetering on their elongated faces. Your barrier is a flexible net, and I was extremely grateful for it, especially as I thought about the 12th century builders, knights, and guards walking around the top without any barriers. 

Overall, this view quite literally takes your breath away. You are standing above what seems to be all of Paris, with views of the Seine on either side, and the oldest Parisian buildings dotted below. Best of all, the Eiffel Tower is pristine and pretty, and not too far in the distance. This view, left me with my jaw open and my eyes watery, and therefore, it takes my #1 spot as the best view of Paris

so, what do YOU think? 
what's your favorite view of Paris?
tell all below!

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