Paris, the Eiffel Tower, Les Invalides and Saint-Germain des Près viewed from the top of Notre-Dame de Paris
December is the best month of the year to admire sunsets on Paris from the top of Notre-Dame de Paris. Indeed, the sun then sets around 5 p.m., an hour or so before closing time, which gives plenty of time to enjoy and photograph that special moment of the day.
The view from the top of Notre-Dame de Paris is already quite spectacular during daytime, but it becomes breathtaking at sunset, especially in wintertime when the sun sets behind the Eiffel Tower (in Summer, it sets behind La Défense). When the sky is perfectly clear at that time of the day, the city looks gorgeous from the top of Notre-Dame de Paris towers, and one can only envy the situation of the cathedral’s gargoyles, which are blessed with such a view every morning and every nightfall.
Unfortunately though, December 2016 was a catastrophic month regarding air pollution in Paris. Due to the lack of rain and wind, a very thick smog of pollution was floating over the city, and even from the top of Notre-Dame de Paris, it became difficult to see close monuments, such as the Eiffel Tower and the Sacré-Coeur.
In the end, I nevertheless managed to get some photos that made me grin I was freezing to death holding my camera down and checking the photos I had just taken. Sure, the photos were not as clear as I had wanted them to be, but the pollution also gave my pictures a special colour that gave them a singular beauty, I thought. As ever in photography, one has to do with the conditions of the shooting day, and this is one of the fascinating aspects of photography : you need to plan every shooting, but no matter how hard you try to plan everything, there’ll always be that one thing that changes everything, and makes each of your shots unique.
Paris, from Saint-Séverin to Saint-Sulpice
Paris, sunset over the Panthéon
Paris, sunset viewed from the spire of Notre-Dame de Paris