16 Best Places to Take Pictures in Paris

Eiffel Tower at sunrise from Trocadero, one of the best places to take pictures in Paris

Fun fact: I took over 750 photos on my first trip to the City of Light. I arrived with an initial list of the best places to take pictures in Paris, but it quickly grew as I explored. If Instagram is to be believed, Paris is just a blend of Eiffel Tower views and old cafes. In reality, the best Paris photo spots run the gamut, from beautiful old doors to lush flower gardens.

In a city filled with famous landmarks and beautiful scenery, you could spend hours trying to find the best places to take pictures in Paris. While I’m all for getting off the beaten path and taking non-cookie cutter pictures, I also know that vacation time isn’t infinite.

That’s why I’ve also included a map at the end of the post. Simply add it to your Google Maps app so you can see when you’ll be near one of these Paris photo spots. This post also meshes well with my 4 day Paris itinerary.

Empty your SD card and pack a spare battery, because it’s time to tackle this list of the 16 must take pictures in Paris!

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower with purple and pink sunrise in background

Let’s get the obvious choice out of the way. Of all the best pictures to take in Paris, the Eiffel Tower is number one, and rightly so.

Like the Golden Gate bridge of San Francisco or Big Ben in London, the Eiffel Tower is an indelible part of the city’s identity. I always felt a little thrill whenever I saw it peeking out from behind a building or across the Seine.

There are numerous places where you can take great photos of the Eiffel Tower, but my favorite was during sunrise at the Trocadero. It was a long, early trek to the photo spot at the top of the stairs, but the view was worth it.

Other great Eiffel Tower photo spots include the Theater of the Eiffel Tower, Champs de Mars, and the Pont Alexandre III. And don’t forget to come back with a tripod after sunset, when the tower glows brightly against the night sky.

Louvre Pyramid

The Louvre Pyramid

Until I visited Paris for the first time, I had no idea that the Louvre pyramid was actually the main entrance! Every inch of the Louvre is beautiful, from the ceiling murals to the marble floors, and the pyramid is no exception.

The striking angles, fountain pool, and interior golden statue make this one of the best places to take pictures in Paris at sunset. The crowds are thinner in the evening as well, which makes it easier to get clean-looking shots. Or you could visit for sunrise, which is perhaps an even more unusual thing to do in Paris.

Sacre Coeur

The famous white stone of Sacred Heart basilica makes for stunning photographs, particularly during golden hour. The mix of Byzantine and Roman architecture is strikingly different from the typical Parisian buildings. It’s a unique part of the city that should not be missed.

Sacre Coeur’s hilltop location also makes it one of the best Paris photo spots for panoramic views of the city. If you have a zoom lens, you can hone in on the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, and other iconic landmarks.

Rue Cremieux

Rue Cremieux, a popular Paris Instagram spot

Situated in a residential area near the Bastille, Rue Cremieux is one of the most popular Paris Instagram spots. The rainbow-colored buildings with shutters and timbered accents make for fun photos. There are even a few animal friends hidden throughout the street, so look closely as you pass through the area.

As with any residential photography, it’s important to respect the people who live there. Several homes have “no photo” signs, and you should respect the owner’s wishes.

Bastille

Bastille July Column

During my pre-trip research on the must take pictures in Paris, I was surprised that few people included the Bastille monument. This pillar, known as the July Column, commemorates the July 1789 Storming of the Bastille. My French ancestry and French language studies were the main reasons I wanted to see the July Column, but it makes for striking photos as well.

Because of its height and location, blue or golden hour are the best times to photograph the column. I was lucky enough to get this amazing sky as a background!

Notre Dame

A view of Notre Dame from across the Seine

Update: On April 15, 2019, a construction fire broke out under the roof of Notre Dame. Although parts of the cathedral survived the blaze, Notre Dame will be closed to the public for the forseeable future while they work to rebuild.

Much like the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame is one of those Parisian landmarks that’s inextricably tied to the city’s image. It’s location on the Île de la Cité means you can involve the Seine and its arched stone bridges in your photos. Or, you can get up close and personal to snap shots of the gargoyles and flying buttresses. And if you’re visiting Paris at Christmas time, be sure to take some nighttime photos with the illuminated Christmas trees near the entrance.

This is one of the most popular places to take photos in Paris, so be prepared to battle the crowds if you don’t show up early. Also, keep an eye out for pickpockets, as the open area in front of the cathedral is full of them.

Sainte-Chapelle

Sainte-Chapelle stained glass windows: one of the best places to take pictures in Paris

Sainte-Chapelle is another place that wasn’t on my radar of the best places to take pictures in Paris. Frankly, I only ended up going in because it was European Heritage weekend, so admission was free. But after seeing what was inside, I’m incredibly grateful I didn’t skip this opportunity.

The first floor of Sainte-Chappelle is lovely, with a long red carpet leading to a well-lit sculpture. But the real show-stopper is the upper floor, where over 1,000 stained glass windows bathe the area in a soft purple light. It’s a magical experience..

Luxembourg Gardens

Medici Fountain in the Luxembourg Gardens of Paris

Paris is famous for its gardens, and the immaculately planned one in front of Luxembourg Palace is particularly beautiful. From the rectangle-shaped trees to the tranquil Medici Fountain, there are tons of photo opportunities in the area.

If you don’t mind weekend crowds, you can score a unique photo opportunity in the fountain pond in front of the palace. Children come here to rent vintage toy sailboats that they can push around the fountain. On calm day, these sailboats drifting past the reflection of the palace make this fountain one of the best places to take pictures in Paris.

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The Best Paris Photo Spots   The Best Places to Take Pictures in Paris    The Best Paris Instagram Spots with Map

Jardin des Plantes (Botanical Garden)

Jardin des Plantes, a botanical garden in Paris

The Jardin des Plantes was a happy discovery I made while walking through the 5th arrondissement. I saw a bunch of joggers heading in and out of a gate, so naturally I was curious. Sometimes the best vacation moments are the ones that catch you by surprise!

I passed through the gate and was immediately blown away by the lush greenery and exotic plants that greeted me. Walking through the Jardin des Plantes offers plenty of photo opportunities, from vibrant flowers to tropical palms. Because of the tall bushes lining the garden, it’s best to go early in the morning or towards the evening.

Arched Bridges

Images of arched bridges over the Seine are forever seared in my mind from my time studying French in high school. From the Pont Neuf to the Pont Alexandre III, Paris has no shortage of these centuries-old marvels.

There are over a dozen of these arched bridges in the city, which means you’ll have plenty of chances for great pictures. However, the golden statues that adorn Pont Alexandre III make it one of the best places to take photos in Paris, especially at sunset. You can even set up your shot to include the Eiffel Tower!

Seine Waterfront at Sunset

Seine waterfront at sunset, one of the best Paris photo spots

I know I’ve talked a lot about photographing at sunset, but there’s just something special about the light in Paris. It makes golden hour even better than usual, and results in truly spectacular photos.

Though there are plenty of great sunset photo spots in Paris, the Seine waterfront makes for an excellent foreground to the multi-colored sky. The area just across from the Musee d’Orsay is one of the best places to take pictures in Paris, as you get the famous clock faces and the Eiffel Tower in one frame.

City skyline

View of Paris from Sacre Coeur

I’m a big fan of photographing city skylines. With landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame poking out from the Parisian flats, getting a birds-eye view of the city was at the top of my list of must take pictures in Paris.

I mentioned before that Sacre Coeur has excellent views over Paris, both from the dome and the area opposite the green park out front. Other great viewing places include the top of the Eiffel Tower (especially at night), the south tower of Notre Dame, Tour Montparnasse, and the Arc de Triomphe.

Sidewalk Cafes

Treize Bakery Paris

The sidewalk cafe is as quintessentially Parisian as delicious pastries and high fashion. Having a typical French breakfast at a sidewalk cafe was one of my favorite experiences. When I wasn’t busy munching on croissants and downing glasses of apricot juice (why can’t I find this stuff outside of France?), I was scouting out beautiful cafes to photograph.

Although shots with people can be interesting, I didn’t think it was appropriate to photograph people while they were scarfing down breakfast. Thus, I did most of my cafe photography while places were closed. I was lucky to catch a clean shot of the lovely Treize Bakery before I sat down for an amazing breakfast!

Charming Shopfronts

Europe is full of charming storefronts, and Paris is no exception. You’ll find plenty of inspiration strolling through the Marais, Montmarte, and 5th arrondissement.

Despite it being one of the most famous Paris Instagram spots, my English major background wouldn’t let me skip photographing Shakespeare and Co. I made sure to buy a book as well, and I encourage you to do the same!

Beautiful Doors

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I have a thing for doors. I could probably write a post on why doors are the best pictures to take in Paris, but that may be a little too over the top!

That being said, there are thousands of gorgeous doors in Paris, from tall and colorful to wide and wooden. The Marais in particular had some especially lovely ones, which is where I found the door of the Hotel Chatillon as pictured above.

Classic Parisian Flats

I couldn’t conclude this post without mentioning classic Parisian flats. The tall white buildings with window shutters, wrought-iron balcony rails, and pops of floral color make Paris especially charming. These flats are everywhere, but the ones near the Île de la Cité and Eiffel Tower are particularly striking.

Map of the best places to take pictures in Paris

I’ve created two layers on this map. The star layer is for the key landmarks, like the Eiffel Tower and Sainte-Chapelle. The second layer of blue points is for more general photo spots and other places I mentioned in the post, such as the door to the Hotel Chatillon in the Marais.

Google Maps snapshot of Paris photo spots map

Click here to view the full interactive map!

Am I missing anything on this list of the best pictures to take in Paris? Let me know in the comments!

6 thoughts on “16 Best Places to Take Pictures in Paris”

  1. It really is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. There were a few spots here that I’ve never heard of – and now need to go back to see! We had five days in Paris when we were there a few years ago, and that still wasn’t enough to see everything. Thanks for sharing all these photo spots!

    Reply
  2. I am going to Paris again this December and can’t wait to take some more photos there. I will definitely save your post for reference! Thanks so much for sharing!

    Reply

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