No matter who you are, when you go to Paris you want pictures of the Eiffel Tower. It might be pictures of you with the Eiffel Tower in the background, or it might be just pictures of the Eiffel Tower. While you can see the Eiffel Tower from all over central Paris, most of these views won’t translate into good pictures. These will.
1. Champ de Mars
The Eiffel Tower sits in the north end of a park called the Champ de Mars. There is a large grassy area where people hang out. If you are new to Paris, this is probably where you will intuitively head to get pictures of the Eiffel Tower. It isn’t a bad place to do that, but because it is so close to the Eiffel Tower you won’t get much else in your picture.
The best pictures taken from here often won’t have the whole tower in the picture. It is good for a few types of pictures. First, it is good for close-ups of the Eiffel Tower:
It is also a great place to take pictures of your friends or family (or yourself).
I recommend you spend an evening here. The best way to do it is to pick up some food and drinks from the local shops (perhaps even the famous Rue Cler). Spread out a blanket and enjoy your picnic with the Eiffel Tower in the background.
2. Avenue de Camoens
The next location is on a street called Avenue de Camoens. This street ends at an overlook, very close to the Eiffel Tower. It gives you this wonderful view:
It is also nice for taking pictures of your family or friends (or yourself).
It is famous with the Instagram crowd, and there will likely be a few other people here taking pictures of themselves.
This is a little tricky to get to. It is up a big hill from Trocadero. Just enter Avenue de Camoens into the map on your phone. The street is only about 100 yards long. Walk to the end for the great view.
Trocadero is a plaza across from the Seine from the Eiffel Tower. Everyone knows this place, so you will be among crowds here if you go in the evening. Still, it gives you nice views of the Eiffel Tower.
Going at night is a nice option. The crowds start to thin after sunset so you have plenty of room to move around. You can use the city lights and traffic lights as part of your shot as well.
Honestly, however, the best time to visit is sunrise. The Eiffel Tower sits to the southeast of Trocadero. Since the sun rises in the east, a nice sunrise might get you a dramatic shot. There will be hardly anybody here at that time. Since I have not been there on mornings with dramatic sunrises, I don’t have that picture to show you (but hope to have it soon!)
Trocadero is also a great place to come for sunset with your friends or family. As mentioned, there will be a lot of people there, and it is a fun place. Even with all the people around, you can take pictures of your people.
Across the street from Trocadero, there are several cafes. Head there after sunset to cap off your evening. I have eaten at all of them and found them all to be good.
4. Square Rapp
Our next location is called Square Rapp. This is a tiny street where the buildings line up with the Eiffel Tower in between. Zooming in a bit, you get nice shots of the Eiffel Tower:
Zooming out, you can include people in your shot. This gives a nice Parisian street scene with the Eiffel Tower in the background.
5. Rue Saint Dominique
The trick to great pictures of the Eiffel Tower is to go up and down streets to get a good view of the tower between buildings. One of the best such views is at Rue Saint Dominique.
Rue Saint Dominique is a one-way street running away from the Champ de Mars. Follow it and look back as you go.
In addition to pictures of the street and the Eiffel Tower, it is a good place for pictures of your people with the tower in the background.
When you get to the Boulevard de La Tour Maubourg, stop. That’s the end of the views. But that’s also the place of our next great view.
6. Le Recrutement Cafe
At the corner of Rue Saint Dominique and the Boulevard de La Tour Maubourg is a café called Le Recrutement Cafe. As you face it from the Boulevard, you will get the café with the Eiffel Tower in the background.
If you are feeling really ambitious you can have your friends or family seated at the café.
7. Bir Hakeim Bridge
The next location is a bridge near the Eiffel Tower. What is great about this location is that the river provides a clearing – with no buildings in the way – so you get a clear shot of the Eiffel Tower.
This bridge has a wide pedestrian area, so you have plenty of room to walk around and take pictures. There are actually pedestrian areas on each side and in the middle of the traffic lanes. Further, there are additional large areas built into the bridge where you can hang out and take pictures.
As a testimonial to how nice an overlook this is, you can expect to see a few brides and brides-to-be being photographed by professional photographers.
This bridge also has brick structures in the center of the bridge. You can use these as framing elements in your shots.
The shot above shows several of the elements mentioned here. You can see the brick structure, the pedestrian area in the beginning of the road, and the large overlook built into the bridge. This is yet another nice place to spend a sunset.
8. Rue de l’Universite
Perhaps my favorite place is a tiny street called Rue de l’University. It is right off the Champ de Mars. The street is blocked off, so you can take your time and get nice shots.
Two sets of wonderful French buildings flank the view of the Eiffel Tower.
Photographing the Eiffel Tower at Night
Those are all the places I recommend you check out, but before ending this article I wanted to address one other thing. Something that gets said a lot is that it is illegal to photograph the Eiffel Tower at night. What they will tell you is that, under European Law, monuments are protected for the life of the creator plus 70 years. Since the lights were added in 1985, so the saying goes, the lights are protected and cannot be photographed.
Don’t worry about all this. The reality is that you can photograph the Eiffel Tower all you want, any time of day or night. Just becaue it is copyrighted doesn’t mean you cannot photograph it. Arguably the copyright could apply to the posting or selling of pictures, but know this: in the almost 40 years since the lights were added there have been exactly zero prosecutions for trademark violation. And you can imagine how many photographs have been posted of the Eiffel Tower at night since then.
So go on and enjoy photographing the Eiffel Tower – day or night.