The city of lights has long-since been known as one of the world’s most beautiful cities. And as a result, the best way to see the city is up for much debate. After all, if you have just a few days in Paris and can only capitalize on one vantage point, you want to make sure you’re getting the best view. Should you buy Eiffel Tower tickets? Or try to beat the crowds to Sacre Coeur for an non-tourist-obstructed view.
Our take: The second mezzanine of the Eiffel Tower will get you the most picturesque views of Paris. When people buy Eiffel Tower tickets, they tend to purchase tickets that go all the way to the top floor, which currently costs 25,50€. However, Eiffel Tower tickets for the second-floor mezzanine are 16,30€. And it’s the best-kept-secret in terms of perfect views in Paris.
The city is a smaller and shorter city than you might think. Because it’s a major hub, it’s easy to forget that Paris is actually only 40 square miles—and six miles across. Try picturing that next to Los Angeles’ 502 square miles. Even more significantly, Paris is a short city. The tallest building in Paris, after the Eiffel Tower, is Montparnasse at 689 feet. (There’s also the towers at La Défense, but those are technically northwest of the city.)
The artistic detailing of Paris is on the ground floor—like the l’axe historique, a famed line of perspective that runs through the arch in the Louvre’s courtyard, down the Tuileries to the Egyptian obelisk in Place de la Concorde, and then along the Champs-Élysées to the Arc de Triomphe and beyond. Paris’ beauty is all about depth and architectural intricacies, and the second mezzanine of the Eiffel Towers gets you a front-row seat.
While the second floor of the Eiffel Tower is the view that has it all, there’s one very obvious landmark that your photos of the city will miss. You guessed it: the Eiffel Tower itself.
As a complement to your Eiffel Tower tickets, seek out one of these two Paris view points.
Sacre Coeur offers a quintessential view of the city from on-high. To get there, you head to the top of the city (again, because Paris is an intimate size, no sight is really “far away”). Once you get off the metro at Anvers, you’re just a couple blocks and 300 stairs from Sacre Coeur. While it gets you fairly low-down vantage point (compared to the top of the Eiffel Tower), it’s also noticeably farther from the city center. However, it’s a great spot if you’re trying to catch the Eiffel Tower at sunrise. After you wake up early to see the Haussmann buildings bathed in the rising sun’s light, walk into Montmartre for the local boulangerie’s first croissants of the day.
Another unsung-hero view of the Eiffel Tower: the view from the top of the Arc de Triomphe. Thanks to its central location and low vantage point, it’s the perfect complement to your Eiffel Tower tickets. And it’s not far from the tower—you can easily do the second-floor mezzanine and the Arc de Triomphe in the same day. The classic pic-with-the-Eiffel-Tower is always taken from Trocadero, but the Eiffel Tower pic from the top of the Arc is the real money shot.