A really important question I get a lot - which locations do you recommend for our portraits? Most of my couples are visiting Paris for the first time, so they rely on me for suggestions. If you know of IheartParis from Instagram, you can have a clear idea of what is available for sessions in the city of Paris and I usually added a few links from the feed as examples when replying to my couples. I thought it would be good to create a more comprehensive post about each location either Anastasia or myself has photographed in and a few notes about each one of them. The idea is for this to become a little guide for you guys and, if there are questions that come up after reading this, send me a message :)
Perhaps the most iconic location of Paris for its jaw-dropping and unobstructed view of the Eiffel Tower. The most important thing to know about this place is that we have to start the session as early as possible before it gets too crowded - around 9am-ish. Trying to have photos done here any other time of the day is pointless - expect about 200 other people. This means getting up rather early in the summertime to be there around 6.45am and get the sweet morning light before the sun is too high up. It’s quite a bit to ask, but it is so worth it.
Pros: the view, that view and just the view
Cons: only available in the morning
This is for the immediate area around the Eiffel Tower including the banks of the Seine and Champs de Mars. Like Trocadéro, the earlier we get there the better and these are a short walk away from it. I am skipping underneath the Tower itself because it has been fenced off by security ever since June 2016.
Pros: more variety of views of the Tower, some greenery from the grass areas (possibility of a picnic) and even some seasonal flowers.
Cons: earlier times are better, walking shoes are a must if you’re not comfortable in heels (cobblestones).
Here is another classic view of the Eiffel Tower that can be used at any point of the day, really. It can be added to a route in the morning after Trocadéro or in the afternoon after Bir Hakeim.
Pros: any time of day is possible here
Cons: it is just the one angle/view
If you are into movies as much as I am, you will recognise this bridge from Christopher Nolan's Inception. This is the To-Go spot for a good Eiffel Tower view during the day if the morning time is not possible. In the middle of the bridge on the side facing the Tower, there is a small balcony of sorts with a statue and it is perfect for photos. It is also a short walk away from Trocadéro and Passy.
Pros: unobstructed Eiffel Tower view, accessible any time of the day.
Cons: popular spot for wedding shoots (can get busy).
Alexander 3 Bridge
From the many bridges that cross the Seine in the City of Light, this one is the most photogenic by far. With dark, gold and white, it looks amazing on camera from every angle, even the underbelly. Like most of the locations in Paris, the best time to shoot here is at sunrise. During the summer, we can do photos on the middle of the street, and in winter, the light is so soft and delicate that everything looks dreamy.
Pros: classical Parisian location, comfortable to reach.
Cons: it gets busy during the day, susceptible to fencing during festivities.
Once the royal palace of the French monarchy, this monument is one of most majestic buildings in Paris. It is timeless. It also one of the most visited museums in the world which poses a particular challenge to us photographers. As usual, it helps if the session is early in the morning, in the colder months or on Tuesdays when the museum is closed. Nevertheless, some of the angles present manageable situations where the crowd issue is not a problem, but some patience might be needed at later times of the day. Little side-note: balloons are not permitted here.
Pros: quintessential Parisian architecture.
Cons: susceptible to closures for governmental VIP/fashion events.
Notre Dame and Saint Germain
This area presents a lot of options for Parisian street scenes as well as showcasing the Notre Dame cathedral within the same space. They are literally across the river and just one short walk away from each other. This area also ties in beautifully with the next sections of the riverside. Since the fire in April 2019, most of the property immediately around the Church has been closed off for storing the rebuild equipment and materials. The views of the cathedral can still be enjoyed, but the re-construction is impossible to hide.
Pros: cute small Parisian streets, wide variety of views.
Cons: crowded during daytime hours, reconstruction.
Riverside by the islands
The islands of Cité and Saint Louis are well known for Notre Dame and also having amazing areas by the river because they are in the heart of the city. It is perfect for having a picnic if the weather is nice or drinks during a nice summer evening.
Pros: cute views by the water, a very Parisian thing to do (wine and snacks).
Cons: overcrowded in summertime during the evening hours.
The home of the Sacred Heart Basilica - or Sacre Coeur - on top of the hills of Montmartre, it is by far one of my favorite places to start a morning session with the city of Paris starting to get blanketed by the sunlight. Then, the cute streets of the neighbourhood are filled with cafés, stores and art galleries that add tot he magic of the place. It also has some vineyards by the Maison Rosé and the LoveWall at the bottom of the hills.
Pros: the Paris city view <3 and the streets.
Cons: only available in the mornings due to crowds.