Top Eight Hot Spots to Take Très Cool Photos of Paris
Ah, so you’re headed to Paris! Congratulations! You’ve bought your plane tickets. You’ve made your packing list, and you’ve bookmarked every important influencer on Instagram who makes the City of Lights so glamorous, so romantic, so très chic! Then, you remember that the photos from your last vacation left you feeling so, how should I say this, so un-Instagrammable! You’ve decided that, this time, your photos will outdazzle those vacation pictures that your arch nemesis from high school always posts on Facebook. This time, you’re going to get more of those coveted thumbs-up clicks than anyone could ever want. This time, your timeline will be the best, but, beyond the Eiffel Tower, you’re not sure where you’ll snap these dream shots. My friend, take my hand, and let me show you eight of my favorite spots for shooting those coveted pictures of Paris. From the iconic Eiffel Tower to the lesser known Belleville neighborhood, this list will guide you to photographic opportunities that will surely make your trip memorable.
1. Le Tour-Eiffel
I know this is cliché, but no trip to Paris is complete without a photo or twenty of the most famous landmark of the city. It’s imperative that you capture this image, but I’m going to challenge you to take a few shots at different times of the day and evening. This shot was taken from the Place du Trocadéro, and it offers one of the best angles from which to capture the Eiffel Tower. Naturally, you’ll want to cross over the Seine river to take a picture from the Champs-de-Mars, but the Place du Trocadéro, with its wide-angle view of the Eiffel Tower and surrounding cityscape, is an excellent spot from which to begin your photographic safari around Paris.
Métro stop: Trocadéro
2. Le Jardin des Tuileries
One of Paris’ most famous parks, le Jardin des Tuileries offers visitors a tree-lined oasis after a day spent walking around the Louvre Museum. Park benches, fountains, and a snack bar all make for a quiet respite, but if you’re fortunate to be in Paris during the summer months, then you will surely notice the Fête des Tuileries, an annual carnival set up on the Rue de Rivoli side of the park. With games, concession stands, and rides, the younger members of your group will surely be entertained. What does a carnival have to do with photography? Oh, my friend, pay the 8 euros and ride the Ferris Wheel. You will be offered a 360-degree view of Paris that will make you cry. Yes, it’s that beautiful!
Métro stop: Concorde or Tuileries
Look, if you want to know a secret, very few tourists head to the area known as Belleville. I have run out of fingers to count the amount of times that I’ve traveled to Paris, but I only just discovered this part of the city last summer. If you’re into street art, then this is the place to be. Murals cover a large amount of the streets, and you’ll find dozens of websites dedicated to art walks around Belleville. There are ample opportunities to capture street photography and street art here, and your best bet is to wander around. (I even spotted a coveted Banksy, but I’m not going to tell you where in Belleville to find it. You are going to have to work for it like I did!) Start your art walk on rue Déyonez, a street covered from top to bottom and left to right in the brightest murals in all of Paris. If you are looking for an unobscured panorama of Paris, head to le parc de Belleville. Built in 1988, this park sits at one of the highest points of Paris. Follow the trails leading to the top of the park (Rue Piat) to find a picture-perfect panorama of Paris. You will basically find only locals here, so feel free to bask in a true Parisian experience minus tourists.
Address: Rue Dénoyez: From the Belleville Métro stop, head southeast on Boulevard de Belleville, turn left on Rue Lemon, and Rue Dénoyez will be on your left.
Métro Stops : Pyrénées, Belleville, or Couronne
4. Shakespeare and Company
Quite possibly the most famous bookstore in all of Paris, Shakespeare and Company draws tourists from around the world. Nestled in the heart of the Latin Quarter, this little shop caters to the well-read, and you are sure to find a book to read while sipping on your café au lait next door at their coffee shop. Since the Notre Dame Cathedral sits across the quai from the shop, you may find yourself listening to its bells if you’re lucky. The shop typically sets up carts filled with books, a bench, a quintessential Parisian café table, and a chalkboard boasting a witty quote or two. Between this studio-like setup and the Notre Dame, you are sure to snap a perfect and frameable shot for your collection.
Métro Stop: Saint-Michel
5. Rue Mouffetard
If you’re into chasing literary ghosts, take the Métro to an area known for one of its most famous literary residents, Ernest Hemingway. Back when Ernest was a budding and not-so-wealthy author, he frequented the inexpensive cafés and late-night haunts along rue Mouffetard. Today, you will find an assortment of clothing stores, markets, cafés, and gelato shops up and down this steep street. The street, while mostly designated for pedestrians, is quite steep and paved in cobblestones. All of this makes for beautiful shots, but don’t wear your high-heeled boots here. Take your time and meander down rue Mouffetard because you are sure to find shots of colorful fruits and vegetables and seafood stacked beautifully in only the way the French can do. If you’re lucky and go on a sunny day, you are sure to catch the beautiful light beaming in between the buildings.
Métro Stop: Jussieu
6. Le Jardin du Luxembourg
Sure, every tourist takes a stroll through le Jardin du Luxembourg, and you should too. There is a reason why Parisians sun themselves or sit on a bench and read here; it’s beautiful and serene and there are little ponies to ride! Well, okay, I didn’t ride the ponies, but they make for a cute shot. Oh, and don’t forget the little boats that you can rent. I was well into adulthood before I was able to do this with my daughter, and, boy, did I get some fantastic colorful photos! Also, the park is well-manicured with tree-lined pathways. I took one of the best photos of my life here, and I always recommend that first time visitors go here to take memorable family photos. My top picks for your top shots in the park are the Grand Bassin pond in front of the Palais du Luxembourg, the tree-lined pathways that cover the park, and the Fontaine des Médici, and Italianate fountain found on the east side of the park.
Métro Stops: Odéon or Luxembourg
7. Le Marché Edgar Quinet
I can’t stress enough the abundance of excellent photography opportunities that are found at the open-air markets of Paris. Located in my favorite part of Paris, Montparnasse, le Marché Edgar Quinet packs a visual punch! Year-round, you will find colorful displays of baked goods, seafood, produce, and clothing, but I think my favorite part of the market is found in the flower stalls. You’ll definitely want to snap tons of photos of the peonies and sunflowers carefully displayed and waiting for the perfect Parisian dinner party. From chilly weather to the warm summer months, le Marché Edgar Quinet offers a feast for your camera. When you’ve taken all the photos you can stand, head down the street to one of my favorite cafés to sit and watch life go by, le Café de la Place.
Métro Stop: Edgar Quinet
8. Rue des Thermopyles
I adore Rue des Thermopyles for its bucolic setting. Tucked in the middle of Montparnasse, it’s easy to miss this little gem of a street. The street is pedestrian-only, so you won’t have to worry about avoiding mopeds and taxis. Much of the street is covered in vines and potted plants, and the architecture is quintessentially French. If you’re a big fan of doors (No, not THE Doors…but you can visit Jim Morrison’s grave at Père Lachaise Cemetery), then this is your spot to take photos of brightly colored entryways and maybe a cat or two sunning itself in a window. As of right now, you won’t find many tourists walking down the street like the oh-so-overly-done Instagram favorite of Rue Crémieux, but give it time! Once you’re finished with the snapping, head back to Rue Raymond Lasserond at the entrance of the street and have a pizza and a glass of wine at Pizza Nellie (96 Rue Raymond Lasserond, 75014 Paris).
Métro Stop: Pernety