Paris is the gorgeous capital city of France, and it is one of the most desired places to visit in my wanderlust bucket list. I had to pinch myself multiple times, when we booked our trip to Paris. That yes, it is happening for real, and we are going to PARIS! There are a lot of resources available on Paris sightseeing for finding the off-beat things to do. But that’s for the second or the third trip to Paris. This guide – 15 Best Photo Spots in Paris – is written for people visiting Paris for the first time who live the Eiffel tower dream and wish to see the BEST of the city, before diving into the unknown or lesser known locations. I have been living the Eiffel tower Paris dream for a long LONG time and its evident from the 32+ Eiffel towers scattered around my house and my office space (key-chain, photo frame, notebook, miniature Eiffel tower and shopping bags too). So yea I wanted a picture of Eiffel tower, however cliche it might sound. And I did. I also bought some pretty RED clothes to go with it. And we made lovely memories in Paris (and got amazing pictures too, thanks to my husband). So here are the 15 best Paris photo spots, that you shouldn’t miss. If you are in the city for 1-2 days or visiting Paris for the first time and wish to explore the city’s highlights, then this guide is perfect for you.
15 Best Photo spots in Paris for the first time visitor
This list of Paris photography locations are in no particular order (although, the Eiffel Tower still has a piece of my heart). We have included a map via Google maps and the arrondissement information. Arrondissements means boroughs or administrative districts. Depending on where you stay and what you wish to capture, there is some travel time involved in accessing all the arrondissements in a day. So choose wisely.
We also found an Instagram tour of Paris. Although we didn’t take this tour, but it is an interesting one. It is a guided tour, with a small group experience.
Must take pictures in Paris
1 – Eiffel Tower – Best spot for Eiffel Tower Photo 7th arrondissement
A wrought-iron tower, named after its designer Gustave Eiffel. Doesn’t sound romantic at all, does it? It is also smaller then the Burj Khalifa or the Sears Tower.
BUT when did LOVE need a reason to fall in love? That is the answer to the Eiffel Tower admirers. Since time immemorial (aka since at least I could read and write), Paris and the Eiffel tower have been symbolic to LOVE itself.
Location: Champ de Mars, 5 Avenue Anatole France, 75007 Paris, France
Price: Can be admired for FREE. If you wish to access the Eiffel tower grounds or the tower here are some tour options. Access the Eiffel tower Summit or the Second floor tickets
There are many places from where the Eiffel Tower is visible for you to capture great shots, including Effiel Tower view hotels. But do yourself a favor and go to the Eiffel tower to admire it closely. No hotel balcony or cafe or anything, you ARE in Paris, so please pay a visit to the Eiffel Tower.
Eiffel Tower tips
- To capture the Eiffel tower in entirely, you can walk the lanes leading to the Tower entrance.
- You can also capture the tower by walking underneath it
- Eiffel Tower is located on Champ de Mars, there are many picnic and seating arrangements in and around the Champ de Mars square to give you a great shot at the tower.
- Seine River Cruise at Night – Capture the Eiffel tower from the Seine river (in different angles), including close-ups. Take an open top ferry for your cruise, like this cruise we did. Book your 1 hour scenic Seine river cruise here
2 – Trocadero Gardens – for beautiful pictures of Eiffel Tower 16th arrondissement
Probably one of the most visited places in Paris and only because of the Eiffel tower views. Jardins du Trocadéro is an open space, with fountains and gardens in Paris. This spot is located very close to the Eiffel Tower and hence why it provides exceptional views of the Iron lady as well. (Trocedero is named after the Battle of Trocerdo that took place in the late 19th century. The Trocadero Gardens is located northwest by the wings of the Palais de Chaillot)
Location: Place du Trocadéro et du 11 Novembre, 75016 Paris, France
Price: Entry to the gardens is FREE. And open 24/7
Trocadero Gardens Photography Tips
- Arrive as EARLY as possible. We were there between 7:45 – 08:00 am and it was CROWDED. With Instagrammers, wedding photographers, you name it
- The slanting staircase where you see me walking, is the MOST popular spot to take pictures of the Eiffel Tower backdrop. I COULDN’T sit there. Not that it is at a height, but I just couldn’t.
- So, we went up to a higher platform and I sat on the proper balcony to snap pictures there. (I think it turned it better that way. Thanks Husband)
- Side tip: There is a small cafe/ stall located at the Trocadero Gardens. We slipped some coffee and croissants admiring the Eiffel Tower. Oh so beautiful!
3 – Rue de Universite 7th arrondissement
There are many places in Paris city from where you can get unexpected and sudden views of the Eiffel Tower. 22 Rue de Universite provides with a peek-a-boo version of the Eiffel Tower, in between other buildings.
Location: 22 rue de l’Université, 75007 Paris
Price: FREE. There are hotels and cafes around this place for a quick stop.
4 – Champs Elysees Trees/ Champs Elysees Facts & Stores 8th arrondissement
Champs Elysees is a 1.9 kilometres (1.2 mi) long stretch of lane leading to the Arc de Triomphe (up next). It is lined with boutique stores and restaurants. Champs Elysees was originally filled with kitchen gardens and fields. The drive from the Eiffel Tower to Champs Elysees is still lined with beautiful gardens and gazebos. But what made Champs Elysees to the list are the TREES and the boutique stores and how vintage they look.
Location: Av. des Champs-Élysées, 75008 Paris France
Champs Elysees Photography Tips
- Visit this place at any time of day. You are capturing the people and the streets and the trees 🙂
- Mingle with the crowds
- Ladurée Paris Champs Elysées is ONE of the most Instagrammable Laduree stores/cafes in Paris. This place is crowded, but makes for a great backdrop to your Paris pictures.
5 – Visit Arc de Triomphe Parijs 8th arrondissement
Arc de Triomphe stands mighty tall at the western end of the Champs-Élysées and at the center of Place Charles de Gaulle. This iconic Parisian monument by built by Napoleon after the victory at the Battle of the three Emperors, one of the most decisive Napoleonic wars (1806). This arch was ultimately inaugurated and opened in 1836. The Arc de Triomphe is inspired by the Arch of Titus in Rome, Italy and for the longest time remained the tallest arch in the world (1936).
There is a constant flow of traffic at the Arc de Triomphe roundabout, so safety and being cautious is key while photographing it, from Champs Elysees west end.
Location: Place Charles de Gaulle, 75008 Paris, France
Price: FREE to view. To access the tower, there are tickets available or you can skip the line here
Arc de Triomphe Tips
- To access great Arc de Triomphe view from the Champs Elysees street, arrive early and wait for traffic to stop. Do not CROSS the roundabout.
- There is a PEDWAY, that you can use to access the Arc de Triomphe. Again please do not cross the road.
- The picture here was taken from Champs Elysees (be on a look-out for oncoming traffic)
- You can access the Arc de Triomphe to get great access to the city of Paris, Champs Elysees and the Seine River. RECOMMEND this for evenings and/or city views.
- Book your priority access to the Arc de Triomphe entry
6 – Visit Notre Dame Paris 4th arrondissement
Notre Dame Cathedral is a stunning Catholic church located in Paris’s 4th arrondissement neighborhood. Considered as one of the finest Gothic architectural landmarks, the cathedral was built between the 12-14th centuries as the seat of Archbishop of Paris. Its beautiful architecture is characterized by stained glass windows, statues and bells.
Location: 6 Parvis Notre-Dame – Pl. Jean-Paul II, 75004 Paris, France
Price: FREE to view and enter the cathedral. 8.50 Euros to enter the cathedral towers.
Notre Dame Tips
- Arrive early to capture the Notre Dame minus the crowds.
- Capture the inside as well as the exteriors.
- Tower access also gives you a great view of the Eiffel Tower and the city of Paris.
- The location of the cathedral is stunning and it is recommended that you walk to explore rather then drive.
- Book your Notre Dame guided tour here
7 – Le Petit Palais (sister to Grand Palais) Paris 8th arrondissement
Le Petit Palais may not be a POPULAR Paris photography location, but it could be a great spot if you want to capture Parisian architecture, minus the crowds in day light hours. Le Petit Palais is a sister museum to the VERY popular Grand Palais – a museum and an exhibition hall, located at the center of Champs Elysees. Le Petit or the small palace museum is located right across the Grand Palais and it also houses the City of Paris museum.
Location: Avenue Winston Churchill, 75008 Paris, France
Price: Free to view from the outside. Guided tours available. Book tours here
Le Petit Palais Photography Tips
- The main gate/entrance of the Le Petit is not very crowded, as you can see people are lined up below the stairs. You can include this as one of your spots to check off during the day.
- The Petit Palais’ elegant garden cafe is another place for you to capture this amazing exhibition hall, built in 1900.
- The interiors are beautiful and grand. As like with most museums in Paris, it is crowded, so either visit early or late afternoon.
8 – Explore Montmartre markets – Montmartre Streets artists – Moulin Rouge
There are quite a few things that you can explore at Montmartre. I do recommend allotting ONE day of your Paris vacation to exploring some Parisian neighborhoods and Montmartre should be one of them. You can take the local train to arrive in Montmartre from any part of the city. As soon as you get off the train, keep exploring. There are surprises and beautiful cafes, stores and landmarks in every corner. The famous caberet, Moulin Rouge is located in Montmartre Paris. It is hard to miss this place, as it is located by the Metro and is characterized by gorgeous red color walls and the iconic windmill.
You can capture local street artists at work at the Place du Tertre, Montmartre
Location: 18th arrondissement (Moulin Rouge – Boulevard de Clichy Montmartre – Pinned to map; Place du Tertre – pinned to map)
Montmartre Paris Photo Spots Tips
- To explore the neighborhood, it is better to explore when markets and cafes are open. So ideally after 10:00 am
- You will find cute cafes and restaurants in every nook and corner. Those Instagrammable RED cafes, yes those ones.
- Wall murals are also very beautiful for your photos. You will find them in Montmartre
- Don’t skip the market square, you will find lots of artists at work, making portraits (Place du Tertre)
- Explore Montmartre in this guided tour here. This tour is a 2.5 hour walking tour of Montmartre, small group of 8 people or less, allowing you ample time to photograph and explore.
9 – Visiting Sacre Coeur in Montmartre 18th arrondissement
Sacré-Cœur Basilica or the Sacré Coeur, as it is popularly known, is another iconic landmark of Paris. This basilica is located on a hilltop in Montmartre, assuming the highest point in the city of Paris. Sacré-Cœur is the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris – Roman Catholic church dedicated to the Scared heart of Jesus.
The overall style of the basilica is an example of free interpretation of Romano-Byzantine features, characterized in pure white. The basilica complex also has a garden with fountains, meant to be used for meditation.
Location: 35 Rue du Chevalier de la Barre, 75018 Paris, France
Tips for Sacré-Cœur Basilica
- The interiors are stunning and huge. But photography is NOT allowed
- Due to the location, you can view Sacré Coeur Basilica from Montmartre markets as well
- From the basilica towers, you can view the city-scape of Paris
- Sacré-Cœur Basilica gets pretty crowded during the day. Visit early morning to capture the gardens as well as the basilica.
10 – Le Consulat Hotel & Cafe Montmartre 18th arrondissement
If it wasn’t for Instagram, to be honest, I would not have known about this place. This is Le Consulat cafe, located just a few steps away from Sacré-Cœur Basilica in Montmartre.
Location:18 rue Norvins, Montmartre, 75018 Paris France
Tips for photographing Le Consulate Cafe
- Of course, arrive early to beat the crowds (you know we didn’t)
- You can take better photography shots of the cafe, from right across the street, aim diagonally if possible. There are less tables on that side of the restaurant (as it is a narrow lane, meaning less people)
- Le Consulat serves traditional foods like coffee, croissants, crepes, etc
11 – Visit Latin Quarter Paris Restaurants & Lanes 5th arrondissement
Latin Quarter is a quaint little neighborhood of Paris. Located in the 5th arrondissement, the Latin Quarter is home to the Sorbonne University and it filled with a plethora of cafes, restaurants and stunning buildings. This borough is historic, hip and vibrant. There are open book stalls located here by the Seine river and it is also home to the famous Shakespeare and Co (book store). The historic landmark – Pantheon is also located at the 5th arrondisssement.
Location: Latin Quarter, 5th arrondisssement
Tips for photographing Parisian lanes at the Latin Quarter
- Although just like the other boroughs there many things to admire and explore in the 5th arrondisssement, we recommend that you completely focus on the daily images from the streets of the Latin Quarter. Aka the people, cafes, lanes, the color and anything and everything that you fancy
- If you wish to eat and capture the everyday, visit the Latin Quarter during normal day time hours. From 10-11 am on wards, crowds start to pour in.
- Pedestrian friendly lanes
12 – Seine River Banks
Taking the cue from above (aka the open book stalls), head to the banks of river Seine, from any arrondisssement, you will find something interesting and nice bits of history. Seine river is a 777 kilometer long river, flowing through 10 of the 20 arrondisssements in Paris.
Location: Seine River Banks or Port de la Bourdonnais, 75007 Paris, France (for Seine river cruises, paid)
Photographing the Seine River
- You can capture the Seine River from its banks/bridges. There are 32 bridges built over the river Seine. Pont Neuf is the oldest bridge.
- As mentioned above, if you are at the Latin Quarter, you can capture the green open book stalls at the banks of the river Seine. It is a pretty sight
- There are tons of historic buildings on either side of the Seine River, located especially in the 5th – 8th arrondissement
- Easiest way to photograph the river Seine and the historic buildings around it, is to take a Seine River cruise (night or day). Book your Seine river cruise here
13 – Pont Alexandre iii Bridge 7th arrondissement
Pont Alexandre iii Bridge is one of the most ornate and decorated bridges, built over the Seine river in Paris. This bridge connects the Champs-Élysées quarter with the Invalides and the Eiffel Tower. The stunning golden decorations and sculptures on the bridge makes it for a stunning picture. The towers/arches with the (golden) nymph represent the Franco-Russian Alliance. This bridge has been featured in many movies including the 1985 James Bond movie, ” A view to Kill” and the 2011 movie, “Midnight in Paris”
Location: Pont Alexandre III, 75008 Paris, France
Photographing the Pont Alexandre iii Bridge
- Evening hours are amazing to photograph the Pont Alexandre iii Bridge
- Aim at the bridge lights, towards the Les Invalides to capture the building as well.
14 – La Sorbonne at the Paris 5th arrondissement
The former home of the Paris University and the seat of one of the oldest educational institutions in Europe, the Sorbonne building is a MUST visit to capture the ancient Parisian architectural marvel. Over the course of many years, revolts and history, the original university is no longer in use. In fact, after the 1970s the educational system in France changed and made way to newer colleges and schools.
The Sorbonne is located in the 5th arrondissement, near the jardin du Luxembourg and borders the Latin Quarter. The university opened its doors in the 13th century. La Sorbonne is named for its founder, Robert de Sorbon, who was the chaplain and confessor of Emperor Louis IX.
Location: Université 1, rue Victor Cousin 75005 Paris
Travel Photography Tips for the Sorbonne
- To be honest, we didn’t know about the Sorbonne building before visiting Paris. We accidentally arrived at this location, while exploring the Latin Quarter and we thought this was a museum. But the building is a beauty.
- You can photograph the building at any time of day. It is never too crowded.
- Capture the building’s dome and other architectural details.
15 – Pictures at the Lourve entrance and pyramid – 1st arrondissement
Lastly, one of my favorite photography spots in Paris is the stunning Lourve – the museum and the pyramid. The Lourve museum is one of the world’s largest museums. The museum is located in the Lourve Palace (which was a castle once). The palace was built in the late 12th century and over the centuries, the building had undergone multiple additions and renovations. When Louis XIV built the Palace of Versailles, the Lourve Palace no longer served as a royal residence and was primarily used as a royal exhibition hall.
Location: Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France
Price: Free to access the museum complex. Entry and guided tour is additional. Book your guided tour of the Lourve Museum – Skip the Lines
Tips for photographing the Lourve Musuem
- Visit the Lourve Museum in the early morning hours or late afternoon when the museum closes, to capture the beautiful pyramids.
- Sit, stand by the glass pyramids
- There are steps/small pillars that you can stand on to create some beautiful images with the Lourve pyramid backdrop.
- Capturing the museum displays inside is a bit tricky. You can always book skip the lines and gain entry to the museum quicker than others, but the arriving early or leaving late will allow to photograph some of the popular paintings (aka Monalisa’s) minus the crowds.
- Evenings are also beautiful at the Lourve. There are lights inside the Lourve pyramid and less crowds
- Located on the west end of the Lourve is the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel (smaller arch than the Arc de Triomphe mentioned above). Visit the archway and the gardens in the evening, you will be mesmerized by the glittering Eiffel tower peeking from where you stand (at the archway grounds)
Paris Photo Spots in a Map with photo locations
Here is a handy Google map with all the tourist photo spots for Paris.
Ways to visit Paris Photo Spots
There are a few different ways to get through the Paris photo spots in a day or two.
- The first option is taking the Instagram Photography Tour – customized and meant for Photo lovers. It is a guided tour. Book your Paris Instagram Photography Tour here
- Second option is to take the train and arrive at each of the locations. Pick one arrondissement and cover all the related spots in that area.
- Third and handy option is to take the Hop on and Hop off tour. They are not guided tours, in the sense you don’t get entry or tour exploration with a guide. But the bus will take you to all the Paris spots mentioned here and more, in their Hop on and Hop off tour. They are super convenient, you can get off where you want, spend as much as you like – without having to drive, carry a map/GPS, etc. Check Paris hop on and off tours here.
So here you go these are the 15 Best Paris Instagram spots. These Paris photo spots are ideal for the first time visitor as it includes beautiful photo locations like the Eiffel tower, the Lourve and other awesome things to do in Paris France to get the best Paris Instagram pictures to share and to make your dream vacation come true.
Have you been to Paris? What is your favorite spot to photograph?
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Additional Reading Resources
- Get Packing tips for Paris summers
- Explore Paris with private guided tours
- Get our 4 day itinerary to Paris
- Get the hotels guide to Paris with neighborhood insights
- Your first trip to Europe? Read our Europe Planning tips & guide 101
- Need a visa for Europe? Get the Schengen Visa tips
Last Update: February 12 2019
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