The second icon of Paris, after the Eiffel Tower, is the Cathedral of Notre Dame. It stands in the middle of Paris on the La Cité island surrounded by the water of the Seine river. Below are some of the best spots to photograph this architectural gem while your are visiting the city of Paris, France.
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INFO & PLANNING TIPS - Map
Below is the map of the best spots to photograph the Notre Dame Cathedral - all numbers correspond to the vairous paragraph where you can discover why I loved the location, the photogrpahy opportunity and the photos I took.
The locations 5 and 11 were my favorites.
Note: the sun rises behind the Cathedral so the facade is better photographed late afternoon and the back in the morning.
1. From the place at the front
The most classic shot is of course from the place at the front of the building. Do not dream about having nobody in your pictures. This is one of the most touristic spots in Paris.
2. Getting the details from under its facade
You can walk nup to the facade and discover the detailed architectures of each level. The work is very intricate and deserves some zoomed pictures.
3. From Petit-Pont (bridge)
Just at the end of the Parvis is a bridge opened to cars but with a large pedestrian walkway. Le Petit-pont offers nice views of the facade with the compliment of trees and minimized impact from tourists.
4. From Pont au double (Bridge)
Just next to the Cathedral is a small bridge for those interested in a side shot of the buidling.
5. From Square René Viviani
This was my favorite place. Accross the Seine River lies a small square named René Viviani. I love framing pictures with trees and flowers and this was the perfect place. Not many tourists were there and I was able to move around to play with the plants and take some interesting shots.
6. From the Seine river Bank
If you go down near the river between Pont au double and Pint the l'archevêché, you are at a prime location to admire the side of the Cathedral and its rosace. I also like how the plants are taking over the bridge.
7. From Pont the L'Archevêché (bridge)
Just behind the Cathedral is a bridge covered with locks (like many others - they might be removed). From there the Cathedral is partially hidden by trees but I think it is intriguing by leaving it to the imagination.
8. From Square Jean XXIII
Just behind the Cathedral is a garden that is free to enter, square Jean XXIII. A lot less people come to this side of the building. I think the intricates structure of the back is worth the few extra steps.
9. From Quai d'Orléans
Quai d'Orleans is the Seine river's bank just behind the Cathedral. I like the contrast with the neighbouring buildings. I think it represents Paris quite well.
10. From Pont de la Tournelle (bridge)
A bit further away, the Pont de la Tournelle offers a view of the island in the Seine river (ile de la Cité) where Notre Dame is located. I like how it creates and angle in front of it.
I also zoomed from there because I think the Cathedral is very interesting from the back.
11. From under Pont de la Tournelle
One of my favorite spot to photograph Notre Dame was actually from under a bridge. I was having fun going up and down the Seine River banks when I found this tunnel. What a great way to frame the building, don't you think?
12. From Pont de Sully (Bridge)
The further bridge where the view was still interesting was Pont de Sully. Althought the alignment of the previous bridge was not ideal, I like the extra arch and the boat under it.
13. From the Montparnasse Tower
The Montparnasse Tower is quite high and far away but with a good zoom you could obtain a nice shot of the Cathedral surrounded by the roofs of Paris. Mine is not so good though... To learn more on how to get there, check my post about the views from the Montaparnasse tower.
14. From the Saint-Jacques Tower
My favorite rooftop view of Paris is from the Saint Jacques Tower. Access is limited so make sure to check my dedicated post to the tower and its views from the top terrace. Being more central, we had a fantastic view over the Notre Dame Cathedral.
Want to see MORE of PARIS?
Discover more things to do with planning information and photos in my online Paris Travel Guide.
Which one do you prefer? Any other to add?
Leave a comment
Melinda Lusmore says
No 10 is usually my favourite but on my next visit, I am going to try for one from no 11. I love that view of the back of the church, especially when then gardens are in flower – so much detail and intricacy in the stonework.
Claire Robinson says
Thanks for your comment Melinda. Yes, there is so much detail in the architecture of this building! I will try capturing it in Autumn as well, when the leaves change colors, it must be stunning.
Beautiful post! Thanks for all the great details and ideas! 🙂