The Best Photography Locations in Paris

The Best Photography Locations in Paris

Paris is easily one of my favourite cities in the world, and by far one of the most photogenic. Today, as part of my series where I share some of my favourite photography locations from destinations around the world, I want to give you my tips for getting the best photos in Paris. Starting with:

The Best Photography Locations in Paris



1. The Top Of Montparnasse Tower

It took me a while to figure out the best place to photograph Paris at sunset, but after a lot of trial and error, I came to the conclusion that the top of Montparnasse Tower is the place to go. It isn’t free to get to the top (latest ticket prices here), but it seems perfectly set up for photographers, with holes in the glass to shoot through, and no restrictions on tripod usage.

Eiffel tower at dusk

And what views you get. In my opinion, this is the best location to get photos of the Eiffel Tower, particularly at sunset and through into the blue hour, as the city lights start to come on. You’ll want both a wide angle lens to get the whole city into your shot, as well as something like a 70-200mm to frame the Eiffel Tower more tightly, and of course a tripod, although I would advise bringing a fairly tall tripod as the partitions in the glass are fairly high, and you want to avoid having to extend your central column as much as I did if possible!

VEO tripod Montparnasse

You can also get lovely shots of other parts of the city, including Montmartre.

Sunset over Montmartre


2. At the Arc de Triomphe

The Arc de Triomphe is a classic Parisian landmark, well worth taking the time to shoot. My personal favourite location to do so is from the Champs Elysees, on a long exposure.

Arc de Triomphe at night

There’s a pedestrian crossing a short way down the Champs Elsyees from the Arc, where you can set up a tripod on a long exposure, and get a great shot at dusk, dawn, or night, using the moving cars to create light trails.

Shooting Arc de Triomphe


3. Place du Concorde

The Place du Concorde is home to the 3,000 year old Obelisk of Luxor, brought here from Egypt in 1833. This was no easy feat, given as it weighs around 250 tonnes! The Place du Concorde has also been home to some notable French events, in particular the execution of France’s last King, Louis XVI, during the French Revolution.

Place du Concorde night Paris

I think the Place makes for a fun photography subject, with the Champs Elysees stretching out in one direction, and the Tuileries Gardens in the other. It’s from these gardens that I recommend getting the shot – in particular, taking advantage of the large pond to get a nice reflection shot.

Paris place concorde reflected in tuileries pond - scaled


4. Behind Notre Dame

Notre Dame is a beautiful gothic cathedral, well worth a visit. Its stand out feature in my mind are its flying buttresses, which means you need to shoot from behind for the best shots. To get these, you have two options. The first is from Pont de la Tournelle, a few minutes walk south east of Notre Dame, where you can get some lovely shots with a longer lens.

_by_Laurence Norah-51

Alternatively, head underneath the Pont de l’Archeveche, and to the banks of the Seine itself. Here there are some wonderful locations to grab photos of Notre Dame and the River Seine. Ideal shooting times are at dusk and dawn.

Paris banner



5. The Trocadero

There are numerous places to shoot the Eiffel Tower, but other than Montparnasse Tower, my favourite is from the Trocadero. Across the river from the Eiffel Tower, this offers a slightly elevated vantage point, from where you can shoot the Eiffel Tower against the city skyline, and really get a feel for the scale of this construction.

Eiffel Tower from Trocadero

The other advantage of this location is that there are multiple fountains in the Jardins du Trocadero, which line up perfectly with the Eiffel Tower and the road opposite. When they are going off, they can be a lovely bit of foreground for your composition.


6. Montmartre

One of the most famous locations in Paris to watch the sunset is on the steps and slope in from of the Sacre Coeur on top of Montmatre, a hill slightly to the north of Paris. This whole part of Paris though is excellent to shoot. The hill offers panoramic views, the Sacre Coeur itself is no eyesore, and there are little alleyways galore to explore.

Montmartre Sunrise Paris

Don’t miss the Place du Tertre either – it’s one of the most famous places in Paris to get a portrait painted, and if you’re after a bit of street photography, this is an excellent place to come.


7. At the Moulin Rouge

I very much enjoyed our visit to the Moulin Rouge, even though you can’t take pictures inside the show. Still, you can take pictures of the outside of the world’s most famous cabaret, which is nearly as good.

moulin rouge long exposure

The best spot for shots is just across the road from the famous red windmill, and really you should visit at night with a tripod, and shoot some long exposures. You’ll get that lovely light trail effect from the windmill, and if you position yourself right, you might even get some light trails from passing cars.

VEO tripod moulin rouge


8. The Louvre

Last, but by no means least, on my guide to my favourite photography locations in Paris, has to be the Louvre museum. Again, worth visiting the actual museum, but for photography purposes, you’ll want to be outside. There are lots of angles and shots to try, but my suggestion to use the glass pyramid as the hinge for your shots.

Louvre Paris Dusk

This sits in excellent contrast to the rest of the museum buildings, which are of a more classic architectural style, and offers leading lines galore to draw your viewers in. Again, dusk and dawn are the best times to shoot, with those lights popping on, but you can in fact get decent shots here throughout the day as it’s such a fascinating looking construction.

Additional Resources for Paris Photography Locations

There are lots of incredible photo spots in Paris, and I’ve only touched on some of them in this post. I suspect you’d easily be able to fill a weekend of photography with the above, but if you’ve got a bit more time on your hands and want a few more ideas, then here are some excellent resources to help you get the shots you want, plus enjoy the city to it’s fullest.

Travel Photography Course

 

Eiffel tower at night

And finally, you might want to stay somewhere in Paris. Paris has no shortage of wonderful places to stay, and with the below tips, you should find somewhere to suit your budget, be it unrivalled luxury at the George V or somewhere a little more budget friendly!

Enjoy photographing Paris, and if you enjoyed this post, don’t miss the rest of my photography locations guides!

The best locations in Paris for photographing this gorgeous city, including landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame and Montmartre.



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