Paris Secrets: Part Five


Discover the hidden Paris with our definitive guide to the city’s best-kept secrets



The ninth-floor rooftop terrace of the Printemps department store on Boulevard Haussmann provides one of the most impressive 360° panoramas of the capital. See the Cathédrale Notre-Dame and Palais Garnier from a new angle, watch the golden dome of Les Invalides glistening in the distance, and contrast the architectural styles of the Tour Montparnasse, Eiffel Tower and Basilique Sacré-Coeur. The terrace is open from Monday to Saturday and access is free. There is a café too, so you can have a light lunch or drink while admiring the views.

Le Printemps Terrasse, 64-66 Boulevard Haussmann, 75009 Paris

Métro: Havre-Caumartin


As you walk over the Pont de Bir-Hakeim to cross the River Seine from the 15th to the 16th arrondissements, you might not suspect that Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider preceded you in the 1972 film Last Tango in Paris. The sight of the Eiffel Tower and the Île aux Cygnes – a long, slim island over which the bridge passes – is breathtaking. The bridge has a balcony opening, popular with couples, and a plaque honouring Free French forces which fought at Bir-Hakeim in the Libyan desert during World War II.

Bridge Bir-Hakeim, Quai de Grenelle, Quai Louis Blériot, 75015 Paris

Métro: Bir-Hakeim


Situated on the Left Bank overlooking the Île Saint-Louis, the Institut du Monde Arabe’s rooftop terrace has a clear view of the Cathédrale Notre-Dame, the River Seine and much of the rest of Paris. The terrace, on the ninth floor, is open Tuesday to Sunday, 11am to 11.30pm and access is free. There is also a rooftop restaurant and a museum of Arab culture and history (€6).

Institut du Monde Arabe, 1 Rue des Fossés-Saint-Bernard, Place Mohammed-V

75005 Paris

Tel: (Fr) 1 40 51 38 38

Métro: Jussieu

Contributors: Régine Godfrey and Paul Lamarra.

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