The Paris Museum Pass gives you free access to over forty museums and monuments in Paris and the surrounding region. We decided to purchase a four day pass, thinking that with our planned visits to the Chateau de Versailles, the Louvre, the Towers of Notre Dame and the Arc de Triomphe, we would eventually come out ahead after paying the 56 Euros per pass.
The Arc de Triomphe
After a lazy morning exploring Montmartre, we headed for the Arc de Triomphe for a 360 degree view of Paris and one of its busiest roundabouts. I enjoyed looking out along the straight avenues that lead to the Place de l’Étoile and watching the chaos on the road below as cars tried to navigate their way on to and off of the roundabout.
We ended up spending the rest of the day window shopping along the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, before making our way up past the Palais Garnier to end the afternoon at the Galeries Lafayette. It was nice to have a day where we didn’t feel like we had to rush around to get our money’s worth out of our museum passes, and by the end of the day we had broken even. Anything we visited on Day 4 would essentially be ‘free’.
As my train pulled in to the Gare d’Austerlitz station and I set foot in Paris for the first time, I had one thought in my mind: When would I get to see the Eiffel Tower?
I couldn’t go to Paris and miss out on seeing the Eiffel Tower, the city’s begrudgingly adopted icon.
While wandering around Montparnasse, I found myself heading towards the golden dome of Les Invalides. I happened to look to my left and there it was, peeking out from behind a row of trees: 312m of iron. I just wanted to spend all afternoon staring at it. How lucky I was to be in Paris, right next to the Eiffel Tower?
As I tore myself away from the view and began exploring Paris, I realised that I shouldn’t have worried about missing out on seeing the Eiffel Tower. As it’s one of the tallest buildings in Paris, it can be seen from almost anywhere.
If you can see the Eiffel Tower from almost anywhere, where should you go?
To fully appreciate the Eiffel Tower, it’s best to visit it at ground-level. Look up at the 10100 metric tons of iron above your head, and think about how many components (2.5 million rivets and 18000 metal parts!) the tower is made up of. Gawk at the omnipresent lines of people (be on the lookout for scammers!), and while you’re here, why not climb up the Eiffel Tower?
From the Champs de Mars
The Parc du Champs de Mars is a area of lawn that stretches out between the Eiffel Tower and the École Militaire. It is a popular place for tourists to bring some baguettes and cheese and have a picnic with a backdrop of one of Paris’s most iconic views.
From the Trocadéro
Across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower is the Trocadéro. You’ll find plenty of coaches dropping their tour groups off here for photo opps, but don’t be deterred (after all, it is one of the best places for photographs!).
From the Seine
Whether you’re floating down the Seine on a boat cruise or crossing one of the famous bridges of Paris, you can’t miss the hazy view of the Eiffel Tower.
From the Towers of Notre-Dame
While you’re whispering in the ears of the chimeras as they stare wistfully out towards the Eiffel Tower, ask them what they were staring at before the tower was constructed! The view from the towers of Notre-Dame de Paris will give you a sense of just how much taller the Eiffel Tower is than the rest of the cityscape.
From the Arc de Triomphe
One of the closer vantage points to the Eiffel Tower, if it’s busy at the top of the Arc de Triomphe, you’ll have to wait (or push your way to the front) to get the perfect view of the Eiffel Tower nestled amongst apartment buildings.
Looking out from the top of the Montmartre, you can catch a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower. While it’s too far off to the right to be seen while standing in front of the Sacré-Cœur, the Eiffel Tower reveals itself just as you turn from the Parvis du Sacré-Cœur on to the Rue du Cardinal Guibert.
From the Tour Montparnasse
My favourite view of the Eiffel Tower is from the top of Montparnasse Tower, where you have an unobstructed view of the city skyline and, if you’re there at the right time, the sparkling tower.
Where’s your favourite place in Paris to gaze at the Eiffel Tower? Share it in the comments!
The first time I went to Paris, I didn’t even think of climbing the Arc de Triomphe. Standing back at a safe distance where I could take a photo of it from across the roundabout was fine with me.
On my second visit, armed with a Paris Museum card and running out of attractions that were still open, I headed for the Arc de Triomphe, and made the climb up the spiral staircase to the top.
It’s worth visiting the Arc de Triomphe just to spend some time watching the eight lanes of traffic. With everyone on the roundabout stopping to give way to cars yet to come on, it’s a wonder that through all of the chaos no one seems to crash.
Luckily, you don’t have to weave through the cars to start the climb to the top of the Arc – there’s a pedestrian walkway near the Avenue de la Grande Armee that goes underneath the road (take it – it’s a lot safer option!).
With an almost 360 degree view from the top of the arc, you can see all sides of Paris, from the CBD, the hill of Montmartre, the Eiffel Tower, and how Parisians try to get a little bit of greenery into their lives.
If you’re there around 6:30PM, there is a daily service where the memorial flame is lit near the tomb of the unknown soldier, as a remembrance for all French soldiers who have fallen in battle.
So for the chance to be in the middle of one of the world’s busiest roundabouts, climb the Arc de Triomphe and enjoy the view.