Walking the streets of Paris during summer is like living in a postcard. The youth can be spotted drinking wine and laughing on the banks of the Seine and the eldest reading their newspaper with a cup of coffee. And, if you’re looking for unique Paris photo spots this article is for you.
Raphaël and I went to Paris the first time in 2015. At first, it was a secret escape as no one knew that we were dating… We took a train from the south of France (where we met) and arrived at our beautiful Airbnb next to Montmartre (Paris). We fell in love, not only for each other, but for this beautiful city that has such a rich history. And, there is not one year we haven’t gone back since then, always looking for new places to discover the best photo spots in Paris.
Exploring the city was overwhelming at times. Especially when we were trying to photograph famous places and hundreds of tourist would gather around us and take the exact same picture. Therefore, we are always on the hunt for the best photo spots in Paris and, for that, we sometimes walk 20 kilometers per day.
Our biggest realization was that if we wanted to be original and stay true to our way of traveling we would need to do some things differently. Actually, we were more interested in finding the secret gems than photographing what everyone had already seen. Above all, we wanted to do it our way and write about this experience being proud of what we achieved. Eventually, we reflected on our values and what we wanted to express through our photographs.
In order to do this 8 unique Paris photo spots guide, we needed to be a little bit creative. We woke up at 6 for 3 days and, it paid off.
Tips to find the best photo spots in Paris
There are our top tips if you want to do incredible photographs in the most popular places. Indeed, cities like Paris are always crowded especially during the month of July-August. For example, the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triumph are always the centers of attention.
TIP 1: Get there early:
Try to be on site before the shops, museums and tourist tours open. For example, when visiting a place like the Sacré Coeur we made sure to arrive before the small restaurants opened. Tourists (and this might include you) usually like having the possibility to start with a coffee or breakfast.
As another example, you have Trocadéro and the Eiffel tower. This place is a bit special as the wedding photographers apply this same technique to avoid the crowd. If you really want an empty Trocadéro to make sure to be there at 7 AM the latest, as the wedding photographers usually arrive around 7:30.
TIP 2: Be creative:
Don’t chase the most popular angle for the photograph but instead, chase the most unique one. You don’t want to be another copy-paste of what you see every day on the web, do you? People will choose simplicity over creativity and will remake what they’ve seen online. But this is not how you stand out. Sometimes you just have to walk a few more meters to find an empty frame, and people will love that you tried something different. For example, instead of taking our Eiffel tower pictures from the most famous bridge we went to the banks of the Seine and captured a vibe rather than a redundant photograph. It was simple but unique and, it is the picture that went the most viral of our feed!
TIP 3: Be proactive:
For instance, plan your shootings in an efficient way. Make a list of the best photo spots in Paris you want to visit and see where they are located on a map.
Paris is huge and going from places to places with the metro will be time-consuming. For this reason, you should check the different areas of Paris (called “arrondissements”) and see what’s close by the first thing you want to photograph. Do the same for each day so you create a little plan, and you’ll save a lot of time and frustration.
8 unique Paris photo spots
1. TROCADÉRO – best places to take pictures of the Eiffel tower:
You can not visit Paris without taking a long look at the Eiffel tower. Millions of visitors gather around each year to take a selfie next to Paris’ tallest structure (324 meters). Therefore, it is very important for you to know the best spots to take pictures of the Eiffel tower without the thousands of daily visitors passing in front of your lens.
The Trocadéro is the most famous point for taking photographs of the Eiffel tower. We suggest you get there quite early (meaning 7 AM). The reason is that the wedding photographers themselves come quite early with the newly married couples to avoid the crowd. The view from the Trocadéro is quite unique and it’s hard to find a hidden spot but, by coming early and NOT ASKING the guards for permission to take pictures on the wall you can get a few interesting shots (we didn’t say that).
2. THE BANK OF THE SEINE – Paris photography for the traditional romantics:
Our most popular shot of the Eiffel tower was taken at the banks of the Seine. It’s an easy way to get away from the tours and tourist buses. The best part is that you might be able to include a beautiful bridge or barge in the frame.
The feedback we got on this picture was amazing as it inspired a lot of people, and this is the best compliment we could get. In other words, always go for genuine content that reflects you, because that’s something no one will be able to recreate.
3. LA PASSERELLE DEBILLY – Paris bridge of love:
The passerelle Debilly is, for us definitely one of the best photo spots in Paris. The romanticism and vintage ambiance you could expect from Paris are there. Indeed, you can find hundreds of locks attached to the bridge with messages of love and forever promises mixed with a few graffitis. Traditional architectures and urban culture. The old and the young. The confluence of cultures does nothing more than enriching Paris. Besides, the wooden walkway has a unique style you won’t find around and not a lot of tourists pass by, which makes it true Paris hidden gem.
4. ARC DE TRIOMPHE PARIS – most crowded & unique Paris photo spots:
The Arch of Triumph has two challenges. First, you have a huge amount of buses full of tourists that will block you from the view. But, there is another big challenge which is that the arch of Triumph is a roundabout. Therefore, you’ll have to find a way to capture a beautiful picture without having cars and buses. We’d suggest you come really early if you want to avoid the cars and the people otherwise you’ll have to do like we did: wait for a very long time. Every single time we thought we finally had space for a shot someone would come in. And, if it wasn’t a person it would be a huge bus.
This second picture was taken in the middle of the road where a separator for cars is painted. Please understand that it is dangerous. The cars are rushing, french style, and people can be quite stupid pushing their way through the perfect spot. Therefore, make sure to only do this if you’re safe and not competing with wild tourists to get your best shot.
5. SACRE COEUR – an intimate setting to create emotions:
Sacré Coeur is one of the most beautiful monuments in Paris. Have you seen the movie “Le Moulin Rouge” with Nicole Kidman? Well, la butte Montmartre is like being thrown in that decor. Now, I might be a bit over-exaggerating.
First, take a moment at the wall of love, “le Mur des Je t’aime”. Then, walk up the many stairs (and get your cardio of the day) that end on that little place with all the inspiring painters, the smell of coffee and the melody of an accordion.
The Sacre Coeur is impressive with its imposing white architecture overlooks the Montmartre district. While everyone was rushing to the stairs for a chance to the best symmetrical shot we went “off the road” and sat on one of the benches. By doing so, we included an element of the city part of the everyday life of the Parisians. As a result of this, we successfully combined a symbol of the history of Paris with an urban detail.
6. THE MARAIS DISTRICT- Vibrant and beautiful unique Paris photo spots:
The Marais district has always been one of my favorite places to take a walk in Paris. To begin with, it is close to the Museum of Beaubourg, to Notre-Dame cathedral and some of the most beautiful sites. In addition to this, it also has so many amazing boutiques that it’s hard to say no to a quick shopping session.
Also, it has seen its street becoming home to the LGBTQ+ people of Paris. Bars, shops and restaurants are welcoming the community since the ’90s. And, this is why you will find the colors of the pride flags (or rainbow flag) around the area, sometimes even on walls and… on the pedestrian pathway! Given these points, please be aware of the cars driving before you take a beautiful picture.
FOOD TIP: if you want an AMAZING falafel place (which happens to also be very famous), you should try L’AS DU FALAFEL, in the street “rue des Rosiers”.
7. THE COLOURFUL PIGALE DUPERRÉ – NUMBER ONE PARIS HIDDEN GEM
I am a designer. In other words, I am completely crazy when I see colors, cool streets, and urban art. Therefore, when you mix them together I completely lose it. ILL-Studio, with the support of NIKE, has been redesigning the basketball court of Pigalle. Pass the doors and you’re immediately thrown into an ocean of pink, purple and orange gradients. The contrast with the white lines and translucent pink backboards was too exciting not to take pictures.
A woman working there told us the rules had changed because too many people were taking pictures not respecting the players. So, even if it was “forbidden” we took a couple of pictures while making sure we weren’t on the way. But, we left as soon as we felt we were disturbing.
And this is what we believe makes the difference between a tourist and a traveler. For instance, travelers will always try to capture what they see by keeping in mind the people around, showing compassion and respect. However, the tourist, on the other hand, will only care about their own entertainment and needs without reflecting on their impact on the people around them.
MORE PICTURES: You can see more amazing pictures of this project by clicking here.
8. Great Mosque of Paris – a treasure of culture and architecture:
As mentioned in the title this is a religious place. Therefore, make sure that if you take any pictures you will be conscious about your own behaviors in that place of worship.
A green oasis in the middle of the Latin district of Paris. Arabesques, mosaics, and calligraphy are decorating the oldest French mosque.
DON’T MISS OUT: we loved taking a break at the tea house. Indeed, the mint tea and the pastries are to die for… not literally but almost.
On that fresh and minty note, we want to say a big thank you for reading this blog post. Also, we hope that this guide of the best photo spots in Paris will help you out finding interesting things to photograph for your own blog, Instagram or not. So far, Paris shares spot #1 for the best European city to visit with Seville (read the blog post here).
We always write about our own experiences and adventures. Therefore, we rely on your comments and feedback to make this blog even more interesting for you, and for us!