Exploring the city of Paris, France has been a dream come true! Seeing the Eiffel Tower in all its glory took my breath away! Check out everything we’ve done so far in Paris!
Seeing Paris for the First Time
Oh my gosh you guys!! Paris!! We finally made it!! :) With just 5 days left to go in our European getaway (after 5 days in Scotland and 5 days in London) we were nearing the end of our amazing adventure. Neither of us had been to Paris before, and I was so just beyond happy to be there together, experiencing everything for the first time, and celebrating nearly 12 years with my husband.
The first thing we did was grab lunch at a cafe near our hotel, then we wandered the Parisian streets and made our way to the Eiffel Tower.
The Best Way to See the Eiffel Tower
We booked a Skip the Line Eiffel Tower Tour with Fat Tire Bike Tours for our first afternoon in Paris. When we bought the tickets weeks before our trip, we didn’t really care about the tour. We just wanted “skip the line” access. But I’m actually really, really glad we ended up doing this tour, and especially on our first day in Paris. The skip the line access was 1000% worth it, because by the time we got there that afternoon, the line to get the top was at least 3-4 hours long. However, with our tour, we really did skip the line and went right on up. (These access elevators you see here were for renovations they were doing on the first floor restaurant.)
But the tour was also great for orienting ourselves on our first day in Paris. The tour stopped at all four sides of the tower with views facing, north, south, east, and west. At each location our guide pointed out significant landmarks and gave us interesting backstory and trivia about each site. It was entertaining enough that we could remember most of the details for the rest of our trip, and anywhere we went we could point out the landmarks and remember the most important facts about each location. We definitely felt more comfortable and familiar with the city after the tour, like we had already been in Paris for a few days. A great introduction to the city!
This was our view looking northwest over the Seine river, towards the Trocadéro Gardens.
And our view looking northeast to the Sacre Coeur, the highest point in the city.
Looking west towards the Pont de Bir-Hakeim, a double-decker bridge over the Seine.
This was our view looking southeast over the Champ de Mars, and towards the École Militaire at the end of the lawn. You may notice that one lone, tall black building that sticks out like a sore thumb in the Paris skyline. Our tour guide told us a funny anecdote about this building. Back in the late 60s and early 70s, Paris decided it wanted to have a financial district, so they constructed this building, the Montparnasse Tower. At 689 feet with 59 floors, it was the tallest skyscraper in France until 2011. However, because of its stark contrast to Paris’ urban landscape, it received massive amounts of criticism for its monolithic appearance. As a result, two years after its completion, buildings over seven stories high in the city center were banned. There is a terrace on the top floor that’s open to the public for viewing the city. Our tour guide said that the view from the top is the most beautiful in Paris, because it is the only place from which the Montparnasse Tower cannot be seen!
Here is the gold dome of Les Invalides, our view looking east from the Eiffel Tower. Les Invalides was commissioned by Louis XIV as a hospital for soldiers. It’s also the burial site for Napoleon Bonaparte, along with other notable French war heroes.
We also had a direct view of our hotel looking southeast from the Eiffel Tower. See those buildings in the middle of the photo above that seem to form a point directly towards the Eiffel Tower?
Here’s a closer look.
That was our room right there! I’ll be sharing more about our hotel in a later post. Stay tuned! :)
We gazed out over Paris as the sun set over the city. See those tall buildings at the top of the photo? Paris did end up getting its financial district here at La Défense, located just outside the Paris city limits to get around the 7-story height ban. :)
Looking southeast again from very tip of the Eiffel Tower over the Champ de Mars, home of the 1889 World’s Fair, for which the Eiffel Tower was built as an entryway.
Sunset over the Seine and the Île aux Cygnes (Isle of the Swans). A notable feature of the Île aux Cygnes is a one-fourth scale replica of the Statue of Liberty, located at the far end of the island. The statue initially faced east toward the Eiffel Tower, but was turned west in 1937 towards New York City. Now the two sisters are gazing at each other across the ocean.
The Eiffel Tower at Sunset
We kissed at sunset on the top of the Eiffel Tower on our first night in Paris.
I snapped this with my phone as we walked back to hotel, just after sunset, as the twinkling lights lit up the Eiffel Tower for the night.
The next morning we watched the pink sunrise over the Eiffel Tower.
As the day dawned, the sky turned from pink, to gold, to bright vibrant blue.
You guys know how much I love sunset photos, so when planning our trip to Paris I searched for the “best sunset views” in Paris. Unfortunately I couldn’t really find a good one that included the Eiffel Tower. However, there was a pretty decent sunrise view, as you can see from the photos above. These pictures were taken from the Trocadéro, a platform built specifically for viewing the Eiffel Tower. And the best part of taking photos at sunrise?? There aren’t zillions of other people in the photo! ;)
We ended up watching the sunrise from here two mornings in a row. Loved our mornings watching the sun come up!
We walked along the Seine at sunrise, holding hands and day dreaming about the future.
Motorcycles on cobblestone streets.
Eiffel Tower Carousel at sunrise.
And then later in the day. A pink carousel in Paris.
Paris… I love you!
View Paris in a larger map
Here’s a map of everything we did in Paris. It’s got the GPS location of all the spots you see in this post in case you want to find them on your own. :) Click here to see this map on a larger screen, with a list of all the places we went.
More From Our Magical European Getaway!
Sightseeing in Scotland
Scotland Day 1 & 2 — Inverness, Loch Ness, Skye, and Talisker Bay
Scotland Day 3 — Skye, Fairy Pools, The Highlands, and Oban
Scotland Day 4 — Islands of Scotland: Mull, Iona, and the Cave of Melodies
Scotland Day 5 — Fa’side Castle, Edinburgh
Scotland Day 6 – Edinburgh & Castle Driving the Coast of Scotland
Everything I Ate In Scotland — Restaurant Guide for Scotland
Where to Go in London
London Day 1 — Notting Hill, Seven Dials, and The London Eye
London Day 2 — Tower of London, Borough Market, and Big Ben
London Day 3 — Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Fortnum and Mason
London Day 4 — Bakery Hopping, Harrods Food Hall, and the London Tower Bridge
London Day 4 — Sunset at The View from The Shard
Where We Stayed In London — Hotel Indigo Tower Hill
Everything I Ate In London — Restaurant Guide for London
What to Do in Paris
Paris Day 1 — Sunset at the Eiffel Tower
Paris Day 2 — A Walk Through Montmartre
Paris Day 3 — Palace of Versailles
Paris Day 3 — Garden of Versailles
Paris Day 4 — Sightseeing & Landmarks
Paris Day 5 — Hidden Paris (Self Guided Photography / Walking Tour)
Everything I Ate In Paris — Restaurant Guide for Paris
Where We Stayed In Paris — Incredible View of the Eiffel Tower
I live in Paris, 10 minutes walking from the Eiffel Tower, so I see it almost every day. I can tell you, your photos are just beautiful. Hope it’s ok with you, I posted some in one of my Tumblr blogs, https://history-heritage-scoubidou-ouah.tumblr.com/. Bravo again
Loved all the birds eye photos you guys took. So inspiring! Happy new year!
Nice pictures !You definitely made me want to visit paris one more time !
Enjoyed your Paris itinerary. Especially enjoyed your beautiful photos of the Eiffel Tower from Trocadéro at sunrise. It definitely looks like that is the best time to visit from that viewpoint. As you no doubt know, if you try to see the Eiffel Tower from Trocadéro at sunset it is a zoo full of tourists and touts!
Paris is so beautiful!!!!!! Thanks for the post
Thank you for your lovely post and stunning pics.
We are visiting this April. Can you please suggest a good time to arrive at the Eiffel Tower so that we can see it both in the daylight and with the twinkling lights on. I googled the sunset time in April, and it appears to be around 8 40 PM. So I was thinking we should plan to book an elevator entry ticket at about 7 30 PM. Spend an hour or two in the area. Do you think that would be a good time to visit? Two things are bothering me:
1. Will the view from the top around 7 30 PM be good?
2.Can we expect the lights to be on at about 8 45 in April?
3. Is a River Cruise at 830 PM a good idea?
Your reply will be very helpful in planning our trip.
Thanks in advance
Great photos and information. My husband and I are headed to Paris this October 2015. Which hotel did you stay in? Was there a better location or was this convenient?
Lovely photos. I will travel to Paris in September. I’am super excited. Any tips?
I got a question though, is getting a skip the line pass for the Eiffel Tower really really 100% worth it? Thanks! :)
Wow! You take such AMAZING photos!! I love reading your blog especially that I’m gonna visit Paris together with my mom this coming October! Your blog is very helpful! I wish I could take amazing photos like you!
hey amanda! so what time was your tour and what time was sunset when you were there? we’re going to be in pars sept 30 for 3 days and i’ve made extensive notes based on your trip!
Hi Sue! We had the 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm tour, and sunset was a little before 9pm when we were there. Hope this helps! :)
Simply gorgeous post!! I feel like I just had a mini vacation looking at your incredible photos!!
Your pictures are stunning and your trip was beyond amazing! I have one small question, how did you make your map with all the spots you visited? I love it.
Thank you Janie! :)
Here’s how I created the map: How to Create a Custom Travel Map with Google Maps
Hope this helps! :)
I visited Paris in September 2012 and it was beautiful. I can’t wait to go back. Your photos are absolutely gorgeous! None of the photos I took were as stunning!
I visited Paris last April and it was really lovely. (I also went to London on the same trip prior to visiting Paris and fell in love with England after being an American Anglophile without ever having visited England.) However, I just wanted to say how absolutely STUNNING your pictures are on your blog. They’re absolutely breathtaking and I definitely plan to continue following your blog going forward.
Gorgeous images! I would love to visit Paris someday!
The pictures are gorgeous!
I was in Paris just yesterday. I spent the day in Versailles, whilst hubby was at business meetings.
Perfect pics! Love it!
Love all the pictures of the Eiffel Tower, so beautiful. I was there as a student, I would love to go back again someday! psst love the story about the tall ugly building, it made me chuckle!
Stunning photos, Amanda! Love this post! Took me back to our trip to Paris! It’s such a magical city and you definitely captured that!
Isn’t it just beautiful! I went there when I was in Highschool and just fell in love with Paris!
OMG, I don’t think I will ever make it at my age and circumstances but I will enjoy it through your beautiful pictures and blogs. I am so excited for you guys! !!! Keep us updated we are waiting with baited breath! ! Thanks for sharing! I love it.
Your pictures as some of the best of Paris I have seen. So crisp and colorful. Hope you are having a wonderful trip. Nothing like it, makes you appreciate what we have here in the U.S. while at the same time being in awe of the history and beauty of Europe.
Such striking photos of gay Paris!
Gorgeous photos! I’ve been to Paris twice and love it! I’m going back there for a few days in September at the start of my honeymoon!
Absolutely gorgeous! Never have I wanted to visit Paris more than right now!
These are lovely photos. I cannot wait to go, though I wish I could take my sons with me ):
Thanks for the beautiful recaps.
OMG these look like they were taken right out of our pictures! Didn’t you just love the Skip the Line Tours? That is exactly what we did for our visit to the Eiffel Tower! It was fabulous! Our guide Ellen gave us so many tips on what to see and do it was like she was our personal tour guide for our entire trip. We celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary in Paris so it was extra special! All the sites you show from the Eiffel Tower were the shots we got also. We managed to visit almost everything mentioned and loved every minute of Paris! Everyone must visit Paris at least once in their lifetime! Glad you finally made it and I know you will want to return as we do.
Paris is so stunning!
Absolutely amazing pictures. I hope to get to Paris one day and this only pushes me to make it happen!
Wow. Magical! The colors are so vibrant, such a great trip!
Gorgeous photos – thanks for sharing them, and for all of the background information on your trip.
So jealous — it’s all stunning!!
Paris is my absolute favorite city in Europe, and I loved these gorgeous photos! When we went to the Eiffel tower we saw that line and decided to walk up, haha. It was good exercise ;) Next time we will look into this pass!
Such beautiful photos! Paris looks so fabulous…