Paris : Notre-Dame and Tour Saint-Jacques at sunset

Despite its unusual and sometimes decried architecture, Centre Pompidou – Beaubourg offers one of the best views to admire sunset in Paris.


Notre-Dame de Paris, France, Paris, Panthéon, sunset, Centre Pompidou
Notre-Dame de Paris and Panthéon at sunset, seen from the top of Centre Pompidou – Beaubourg, Paris, France

There are few buildings, fortunately, that stir up such contradictory feelings within me as Beaubourg – Centre Pompidou in Paris.

Indeed, on the one hand, Beaubourg – Centre Pompidou may epitomize what I hate the most in modern architecture: when some proud architect and some full-of-himself politician unite to “revive” an old and beautiful place with some new building with highly conceptual architecture which only a few pedantic will understand and admire while the vast majority will only wonder how such a monstrosity can have come to any sane persons. From the outside, in my opinion, it just looks like some creation made of pipes, metal bars and air ducts that some engineer wannabe kid could have built, and it can’t compare with the old medieval buildings and Saint-Merry church nearby.

However, on the other hand, I must confess that despite my lack of understanding for the architecture of the place, there’s something I can’t help liking. Maybe it’s the atmosphere, which is always happy in this busy and agitated place : there will always be some street show, lovers walking by, tourists, people enjoying their afternoon at the terrasse of a café… The place is one of the most lively in Paris. It has a certain authenticity that I often find lacking in the city.

Furthermore, the museum is quite interesting, even if you don’t like modern arts. There are some great pieces of art from many different countries, times and artistic movements. everything is very well explained, and you can form an informed opinion on what you see, instead of hasty judgement, even though you might not find what you see convincing.

Last, the cherry on the icing of the cake is the access to the rooftop of Centre Pompidou : the view from there is absolutely stunning, and I daresay it’s one of the best in Paris. If you don’t have the time to visit the museum, you can even still access it against a 3€ entry fee : quite a bargain. From up there, you can see Montmartre, The Eiffel Tower, Saint-Jacques Tower, and, above all, Notre-Dame de Paris : memorable and unmissable !

If you ever come to Paris, make sure to save some time to visit the museum, its surroundings and, of course, its rooftop, which offers one of the best views of Paris, especially at sunset.

Tour Saint-Jacques at sunset seen from Centre Pompidou - Beaubourg, Paris, France.
Tour Saint-Jacques at sunset seen from Centre Pompidou – Beaubourg, Paris, France

2 thoughts on “Paris : Notre-Dame and Tour Saint-Jacques at sunset

  1. Hello Pierre!
    You’re photos are absolutely stunning: I love to see them, as it brings back good memories of my time in France last summer.
    As a matter of fact, I will be returning to France again this summer! In addition to Centre Pompidou, do you have any “off the beaten path” places you recommend to visit (in either Paris or Lyon)? I’ll be spending most of my time in Lyon, but will return to Paris twice before the summer ends. I’m looking for picturesque places as well as inexpensive/free things to do. Any recommendations would be appreciated!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks ! There are many places to visit in Paris, and it’s a bit hard to know what’s off the beaten path and what’s not, IMO. In Paris, I think visiting the rooftops of Notre-Dame, Sacré-Coeur (most people ignore you can climb up there for 6€), Centre Pompidou, and Tour Montparnasse (though expensive, I must confess it is the best) are a good start if you like views from above. There are also some rooftop bars that are nice, but you’ll have to pay for a drink to get there (I like Hotel Terrasse Montparnasse). Regarding the city, I think the best is to wander in each arrondissement, and search for little streets. You can visit the passages (there are lists of them online, and I have written some articles about them, just look for “Passages”) : it’s free, and beautiful. In summertime, I like wandering in Parc Saint-Cloud : the view is also gorgeous from there, and again, it’s free 🙂

      In Lyon, there’s so much to do : in the morning, you can visit almost all the traboules, you just have to press the service or 0 button of the digicodes (save on Sundays). Taking the vaporetto from Saint-Paul to Confluences is also a great way to visit the city, and not expensive (a metro ticket). I also love wandering on the banks of the Saône river with an ice-cream bought at Nardone near Saint-Paul : some of the best ice creams of the city. Then, there’s the Parc de la Tête d’Or, a classic, but so nice in the late evening when the days are long and sunny. I love also waking up early to see the sun rise on the city (see my article on the top 5 best views of Lyon if you’re interested). And then, well, I just love wandering everywhere.

      When you go to Lyon and Paris this Summer, don’t hesitate to contact me if you need more precise information 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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