The Best Instagram Spots in Paris
Paris is a city filled with amazing symmetries and the way things line up can be quite surprising.
Once a month, we’re going to be giving our readers a quick cheat sheet to some of the best spots for photos in destinations around the world. Sometimes they’ll be from our own writers and photographers, often we’ll highlight the work of others, but no matter what, you’ll now be able to spend less time trying to get that iconic shot, and more enjoying the place you’re visiting. (For last month’s iteration on Mexico City, click here.) The list is by no means exhaustive, but it’s certainly a great place to start.
Paris is a city filled with amazing symmetries and the way things line up can be quite surprising. One of my favorite views is through the clock face at the Musée d’Orsay looking out across the city at Sacré Coeur. On the museum’s fifth floor, on your way past the Café Campana, as you walk up the ramp toward the Impressionists, look to the left, and there it is. -CD
Paris has three of my favorite, most photography-friendly staircases in the world. And all three can be found in smaller house museums that are often only visited by tourists on their second or third time in Paris. The first is that found in the Musée Gustave Moreau which houses vivid works by the painter as well as this staircase. -WO
The second can be found in the Musée Nissim de Camondo, the Belle Époque mansion of one of the Camondo heirs. It is an opulent testament to the Jewish family’s taste-making and societal status, but also a sad reminder of the family’s fate during Nazi occupation. -WO
The third and final staircase was designed by Henri Parent (after losing out on what became the Palais Garnier) for Édouard André and Nélie Jacquemart Musée Jacquemart-André in their over-the-top mansion that housed their famed art collection. -WO
The two grand fountains in Place de la Concorde are less photographed than the spectacular gold-tipped Egyptian obelisk at its center, but their over-the-top 19th century extravagance always fascinates me. Dedicated in 1840, their allegorical figures are meant to represent rivers and seas. -CD
Sometimes all that glitters is gold. That is certainly the case with the over the top Palais Garnier, which you can tour. (It has an excellent audio guide.) -WO
The outdoor cafés of Paris are famous, but what they look like indoors can be even more interesting. This is one of my favorites, the Café Brasserie Les Deux Palais on the Île de la Cité, which is very convenient for anyone visiting Notre Dame Cathedral (now under repair) or that other Gothic gem, La Sainte-Chapelle.
Dawn and dusk are golden hours in Paris and the sunsets can be spectacular, especially in the long days of late spring and early summer. This photograph of the Louvre Pyramid was taken at 8:30 p.m. on May 20 last year. The perspective is also interesting for what you don't see: the Tuileries Palace that used to complete the Louvre complex. An architectural ghost burned down in 1871, it explains much about the city's plan and its past. -CD
The new moon in the twilight won’t always be an easy shot, but the mansard roofs and chimneys of Paris offer endless possibilities. These are on Rue Jouffroy d’Abbans in the 17th arrondissement with the added flourish of the dome on the spectacular set of Art Nouveau buildings designed by Théo Petit in 1906. -CD
It may come as a surprise in a city full of so many iconic churches, but one of the most beautiful (and tranquil) spaces in all of Paris can be found at the Grand Mosque of Paris. Oh, and it’s great for photographs as well. -WO
For those more into 20th century architecture, and looking to escape the classic Versailles photos, nearby is one of the more iconic Post-Modern works by Catalan architect Ricardo Bofill, Les Arcades du Lac. Built as public housing, they can stand on their own, or make for a pretty cool backdrop. -WO
This Eiffel Tower view looking down Rue Saint-Dominique from Boulevard de la Tour-Maubourg is one of the most irresistible clichés in Paris. Why fight it? What makes a difference is the light, and of course around Christmas there are the decorations.
And next time, you can follow our other guide on Paris from above.