Amazing places to see on a Paris by night tour

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Both in Winter or Summer, the City of lights stays lively all night long. You may want to discover Paris comfortably seated on a tourist bus or on a cruise. Although these are great ideas, my favourite way to explore the Parisian monuments, sites and bridges is to walk along the river banks of the Seine. Follow this Paris by night tour from the eastern tip of Île Saint-Louis towards the Eiffel Tower. You’ll discover the magic of Paris – an unforgettable experience!


Paris by night tour: by the River Seine

Paris by night

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The walk is a little less than 8 kms. The Paris by night tour begins at métro station Sully-Morland (line 7) and ends at métro station Trocadéro (lines 6 and 9). 

The entire itinerary can be done in three to four hours depending on how long you stop to take photos ;-).

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Zoom the map in closely so the itinerary is clearly visible.


Île Saint-Louis

Start the Paris by night tour at dusk. From the Square Henri Galli (1), head to the Île Saint-Louis by walking on the Pont de Sully. The view extends to the eastern districts of Paris (Bercy and the National Library). Turn right on Quai de Béthune.

Pont de la Tournelle Paris Seine

The view from the Pont de la Tournelle, Paris © French Moments

At the Pont de la Tournelle (2), walk halfway on the bridge to admire the view on the chevet of Notre-Dame cathedral.

Notre-Dame Paris

Chevet of Notre-Dame from Pont de la Tournelle, Paris © French Moments

Step back to the Île Saint-Louis and continue walking along the high quay. You are now walking along Quai d’Orléans. Fine views of the chevet of Notre-Dame, the Panthéon and the tip of the Eiffel Tower in the distance.

Quai d’Orléans, Île Saint-Louis © French Moments

Cross the Seine at the Pont Saint-Louis (3) to reach the Île de la Cité.


Île de la Cité and Notre-Dame

Continue walking on rue du cloître Notre-Dame. Once at the forecourt of Notre-Dame (4) admire the stunning façade of the Gothic cathedral.

Notre-Dame Cathedral at Christmas © French Moments

Then take on rue d’Arcole to the direction of the Seine.


The Right Bank and Paris City Hall

Cross the bridge of Pont d’Arcole (5) to reach the Right Bank and the Paris City Hall (6).

Pont d'Arcole Paris Seine

On the Pont d’Arcole, Paris © French Moments

Turn left and walk on Quai de Gesvres, then Quai de la Mégisserie.

Paris Seine

Quai de Gesvres, Paris © French Moments

Opposite is the medieval structure of the Conciergerie (7) and behind it the spire of the Sainte-Chapelle.

Conciergerie Paris

Conciergerie at dusk © French Moments

In the distance the blue laser light of the Eiffel Tower lights up the sky.

>> Get your Tickets for Conciergerie and Sainte-Chapelle: Priority Entrance! <<

Pont-Neuf

Turn left at the Pont-Neuf (8) that spans the Seine in two parts. Cross the entire bridge to reach the Left Bank.

Pont Neuf Paris

Pont Neuf, Paris © French Moments

At the end of the bridge, turn right onto Quai de Conti. Walk about 300 metres to the Pont des Arts. To your left stands the lit up façade and cupola of the prestigious Institut de France (9).

Institut de France Paris

The Institut de France, Paris © French Moments


Pont des Arts

Cross the footbridge of Pont des Arts (10) to your right. This is one of Paris’ most romantic places. The view over the banks of the River Seine is breathtaking.

The Institut de France and Pont des Arts, Paris © French Moments

The picture postcard view stretches from the towers of Notre-Dame to the Eiffel Tower, the Pont-Neuf, the Louvre, the Institut de France, and the fantastic succession of bridges. No wonder that the banks of the River Seine were listed as a World Heritage site by Unesco in 1991.

Paris Ponts des Arts Seine

Pont des Arts, Paris © French Moments

Cross the Quai François Mitterrand at the pedestrian crossing and head to the Louvre.


The Louvre

This is another highlight of the walk. The first courtyard – Cour carrée (11) is beautifully lit up.

Cour Carrée Louvre Paris

Cour Carrée of the Louvre, Paris © French Moments

Turn left and go under the porch to reach the other courtyard: Cour Napoléon (12).

At the centre of the courtyard stands the famous glass pyramid with a soft light emanating from the inside. All the façades of the Louvre Palace are illuminated, as is the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel (13).

Louvre Paris Glass Pyramid

The Glass Pyramid of the Louvre, Paris © French Moments

The Tuileries Garden is usually closed at this time of the night. Turn right onto rue de Rivoli (14).

>> Get your Tickets for the Louvre: Skip The Line and meet Mona Lisa! <<

Rue de Rivoli

When on rue du Rivoli, turn left to direction of place de la Concorde. The arcaded street borders the whole length of the Tuileries Garden. You will pass by upscale hotels whose façades are lit up.

Several long blocks later you’ll reach the place de la Concorde. You are barely at the halfway point of the Paris by night tour.


Place de la Concorde

Built as a royal square by Louis XV in the 18th century, place de la Concorde (15) witnessed many major events of French history. Including the beheadings of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette at the guillotine. 

Place de la Concorde © French Moments

At the centre of the square stands Paris’ oldest monument: the Luxor obelisk. The Egyptian needle is flanked at either end by two monumental fountains with stone basins.

Place de la Concorde Champs-Élysées Paris

The Champs-Élysées from Place de la Concorde, Paris © French Moments

Stand by the obelisk to enjoy part of the stunning perspective of the Historical Axis of Paris: the Champs-Élysées leading to the majestic Arc de Triomphe

Ferris Wheel of Place de la Concorde © French Moments

Around Christmas and during the Winter season the Paris Ferris Wheel provides a great view of the City of Lights. I ride the ferris wheel earlier this year and enjoyed one of the best views of Paris.

Paris Ferris Wheel Place de la Concorde

Paris from the Ferris Wheel © French Moments


Pont de la Concorde

Walk halfway on the pont de la Concorde (16). Built with stones from the Bastille fortress, the bridge offers fine views of Notre-Dame and the Île de la Cité

Paris by night tour

Blue hour at the Pont de la Concorde, Paris with views over the Île de la Cité © French Moments

… and the Pont Alexandre III and the Eiffel Tower:

Eiffel Tower Paris

The Eiffel Tower at sunset © French Moments


Pont Alexandre III

Step back and turn left. Walk along the high quay of Cours-la-Reine. You’ll get spectacular views of the Pont Alexandre III and the Eiffel Tower in the distance. This is one of my favourite spots for shooting night-time photos of Paris.

Pont Alexandre III at night © French Moments

The single span steel arch of Pont Alexandre III (17) was built in the Belle Époque era (beginning of the 20th century). The bridge is lined with extravagant Art Nouveau lampposts and statues of cherubs, nymphs, lions and winged horses. Great views over the Invalides, the Grand-Palais, the Petit-Palais and, of course, the Eiffel Tower!


Towards the Eiffel Tower

Continue walking along Cours Albert 1er to the lively place de l’Alma (18) where you’ll find cafés and brasseries. Keep walking along the banks of the Seine, now called Quai de New York

Divert onto the metallic footbridge of Passerelle Debilly (19).

The Eiffel Tower and Passerelle Debilly © French Moments

On the Left Bank, head towards the Eiffel Tower through the Esplanade David Ben Gourion (20).

Eiffel Tower Quai Branly Paris

The Eiffel Tower seen from Quai Branly, Paris © French Moments 


Eiffel Tower and Trocadéro

At the Eiffel Tower (21), turn right onto the Pont d’Iéna (22). Head to the top terrace of the Trocadéro between the two wings of the Palais de Chaillot.

Make sure you look behind you from time to time to admire the Eiffel Tower!

Merry Go Round and Eiffel Tower © French Moments

From the Esplanade du Trocadéro (23), you’ll be spoiled with one of Paris’ most famous views… another picture postcard view but hey, it would be a shame to leave Paris without seeing it at least once in your lifetime!

Eiffel Tower Trocadéro Paris by night tour

Last stage on the Paris by night tour: the Eiffel Tower seen from the Trocadéro Gardens © French Moments

From the end of the esplanade, the entrance to the métro station Trocadéro is to your right. As for me I’ll say goodbye before taking the métro that will lead me back home to Maisons-Laffitte. Thanks for reading so far and I hope you’ll enjoy this Paris by night tour!


Paris by night tour variants

If you wish to shorten the walk (6 kms), stop at Pont Alexandre III and head for the nearest métro stations:

  • Champs-Élysées Clemenceau (lines 1 and 13). Walk on avenue Winston Churchill between the Grand and Petit palais.
  • Invalides (lines 8, 13, RER C). Cross the Pont Alexandre III and walk on the esplanade until the crossroad with rue de l’Université. Turn left and you’ll find the métro entrance a few metres ahead.
  • If you don’t fancy taking the métro at Champs-Élysées Clemenceau, why not walking the whole length of the Champs-Élysées to the Arc de Triomphe!

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Looking for a great guide of Paris? We bought The Rough Guide to Paris and found what we needed to know for discovering the must-sees to the more offbeat sites of the French capital. The guide gives an accurate practical information on everything from public transport to opening hours and museum passes.

The Rough Guide of Paris 2016

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About Author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. In 2014 he moved back to Europe from Sydney with his wife and daughter to be closer to their families and to France. He has a background teaching French and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations and a degree of Economics and Management.

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