A while back, my husband went to Paris for a conference. He asked me if I’d like to join him for a mini-break after the conference ended. I am sure you can guess my answer to that question! Paris is something you should experience at least once in your lifetime and the best way is to get a view of the city from above.
Even though my family and I have travelled around France quite a bit, the last time I’d been to Paris was when I was a teenager with my mom. At that time, we had – of course – seen the Arc de Triomphe from the Champs Élyseés and the Eiffel Tower from afar, but this time I was obsessed with going to the viewing platforms of both sights AND visiting the Printemps rooftop terrace for extra measure.
Let’s start with the Arc de Triomphe as it’s older than the Eiffel Tower. I am sure it doesn’t need any introductions, after all it is one of the most known monuments in Paris. Nevertheless, I hadn’t realised you could actually go to the top!
The Arc is located in the middle of a roundabout – the Place Charles de Gaulle. Do not risk your life and try to zip through the traffic to get to the base of the monument- there is an underground tunnel on the Avenue de la Grande Armee side of the circle.
The monument was built to honour the brave soldiers who fought for France. Beneath the Arc is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I. The eternal flame was added in 1921 and it’s re-lit every evening.
To get to the top, you will have to take the stairs. I have understood that there is a lift but it’s only to be used if you have a medical condition that makes climbing the 40 stairs impossible.
The lines to get to the top of the Arc were nothing compared to the Eiffel Tower, so there really wasn’t much of a wait.
It’s exciting watching the insane traffic going on underneath and listening to the constant beeping. Honking horns must be trademark Paris traffic behaviour. If you are going for one rooftop view of Paris, I would recommend you choose the Arc.
The Arc is also magical in the evening from afar.
An icon of Paris – the Eiffel Tower – is simply breathtaking. It was designed by Gustave Eiffel and built for the Exposition Universelle of 1889. It’s funny to think how criticised it was at its’ time and what a success it has become after. You cannot even think of Paris without picturing the Tour Eiffel in you mind.
When you approach the Eiffel Tower, be prepared for vendors and scammers who are numerous around the monument. Keep hold of your belongings and don’t keep any valuables in your back-pack. Try to go early to avoid the crowds.
There are different tickets to choose from – stairs or lift access to the 2nd floor (115 meters) or lift access to the top (276 meters). We chose stairs to the 2nd floor – 704 steps to be exact. If you are going to the very top, you will have to change lifts on the second floor.
What is amazing is the amount of maintenance this monument must need. It’s made of wrought iron which has to be painted every seven years to avoid rust.
I just adore strolling the parks in Paris. Here you can see the Champ de Mars.
Event thought the views are amazing, my humble opinion is that the Eiffel Tower is best admired from the ground, especially at night time when it lights up.
And finally to the rooftop terrace café, Déli-Cieux, at the Printemps department store. You will find the terrace on the 9th floor.
As you will have to pass through the café to go outside, it is polite to buy something as well – maybe a coffee or tea which you can then sip while enjoying the view.
The terrace is awesome even on a cloudy day, as you will get a 360° view of Paris.
In the distance – Sacré-Cœur on the Montmartre hill. In front, the Église de la Sainte-Trinité.
And of course, the Tour Eiffel gets you in a romantic mood whichever direction you view it from.
64 Boulevard Haussmann
For a little bit of Paris in Helsinki – visit Café Fleuriste.
Have you been to any of these attractions? If so, which was your favourite? Do you have other great rooftop recommendations in Paris?