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Sunrise in Paris | 6 Best Spots to Watch the Sun Light Up the City

We all know that Paris is the city of love and I can’t think of a more magical place to watch the sunrise. Whether you are on the hunt for the perfect sunrise photo, want to spend a romantic morning with a loved one, or you’re just up for an early morning adventure, I have you covered.

The best part about sunrise in Paris is that it’s often the only time you will have the city (almost) all to yourself. Famous landmarks are generally buzzing with excited tourists during the day, which adds to the character of the city.

But during these glorious early morning sunrises, you’ll feel the stillness of the city just before it comes alive.

Below, I’ve detailed the best times and perfect spots to experience the exquisite sunrises in Paris. Even if you aren’t usually an early riser, waking up early one morning will be worth it! And you have only the best Parisian coffee and croissants to look forward to.

paris eiffel tower at sunrise

What Time Is the Sunrise in Paris?

The key to capturing the perfect sunrise is getting the timing right. After all, you don’t want to just miss the sun turning the sky into a pink candy floss colour just before the golden rays light up the whole city.

As we know the sun rises in the east and this is no different in Paris. Timing is dependent on the season so it’s best to always check the weather app or Google to know the exact time of sunrise on the day.

Sacre Coeur at sunrise in paris
Sacre Coeur at sunrise

And most importantly, make sure you give yourself enough time to get to your destination.

Check out the quick breakdown below and stick to these general guidelines per season:

Paris Sunrise Time – Summer

Months: June – August

Summer in Paris means long days and clear skies. You’ll need to wake up early to take full advantage of sunrise. In mid-June the sun rises from 05:50 am. By late summer the sun will rise just after 7 am.

Monmartre Paris
Monmartre Paris

Paris Sunrise Time – Autumn

Months: September – November

Crisp sunny days and golden leaf trees are characteristic of the autumn months in Paris. In September the sun will rise just after 7 am. The clock is turned back in November making the sun rise around 08:20 am.

The city of Paris at Sunrise
The city of Paris at Sunrise

Paris Sunrise Time – Winter

Months: December – February

Although cold, Paris is still magical during winter, sunrises included. In the middle of winter the sun will only rise just before 9 am, giving you an opportunity to sleep in slightly. By the end of winter, it’ll be rising around 7:30 am.

Sunrise in Paris over the Seine River
Sunrise in Paris over the Seine River

Paris Sunrise Time – Spring

Months: March – May

Things start to warm up in Paris during the spring months. The clock is shifted forward during March and you can expect the sun to rise just after 06:30 am. The latest sunrise you’ll see in spring is in April, around 07:30 am.

eiffel tower paris france sunrise

6 Magical Places to Watch the Sunrise in Paris

Okay so now that you know what time to be there, let’s dive straight into the ultimate spots to be mesmerised by the pastel colours and views of the Parisian sunrise.

The spots listed below will give you a chance to experience Paris as you have never seen before, while most of its residents are still sleeping.

1. Trocadéro Square

Sunrise in Paris from Trocadero Fountains
Sunrise in Paris from Trocadero Fountains

This is undoubtedly one of the best spots to watch the sunrise over Paris. The square is a large open area across from the Eiffel Tower, slightly elevated, offering exquisite and unobstructed views of the magnificent tower.

The square can get pretty crowded during the day and the best part about experiencing the sunrise here is that you’ll have the square mostly to yourself (bar the few other sunrise enthusiasts).

sunrise in paris from the trocadero fountains
Sunrise in Paris from the Trocadero Fountains

This gives you the rare opportunity to photograph the Eiffel Tower from many different angles with no photobombers.

The only view better than the Eiffel Tower is the Eiffel Tower at dawn. Watch as the sun turns the tower golden and wakes up the entire city. The unusually quiet square will slowly start to awaken with the hustle of bustle and energy that normally characterizes Paris.

A perfect day to start your Parisian adventures and one that I highly recommend.

Book a direct access ticket to the Eiffel Tower here

Trocadéro Square at sunrise in paris
Trocadéro Square at sunrise

2. Over the Notre Dame Cathedral

If you thought this Cathedral couldn’t be any more spectacular, wait until you see it bathed in the morning light. If you are wanting to experience the majestic beauty of this architectural masterpiece without the crowds, then sunrise is your time.

notre dame paris at sunrise 2
Notre Dame at Sunrise

It will be too early to enter the Cathedral and watch from a vantage point but the view of the actual building as the sun starts hitting it is truly magical.

The Notre Dame Cathedral is a tall building so you’ll watch as the sun rays illuminate the top of the tower first, leaving the remaining building dark.

notre dame paris at sunrise
Notre Dame Paris at Sunrise

This glow amplifies the stature of the monument and will leave you in awe. You can either take in this sunrise from right in front of the building or stand a bit further back and enjoy combined views of the Seine River and the Cathedral.

Book a tour of Notre Dame Cathedral here

3. The Louvre Pyramids

Glass pyramid of the Louvre at Sunrise
Glass pyramid of the Louvre at Sunrise

This famous Paris landmark is usually swarmed with crowds waiting to enter one of the most visited museums in the world.

You won’t find the usual army of people this early in the morning and it is a great time to enjoy peaceful breathtaking views of the Louvre Pyramids in the most romantic city in the world.

Louvre Pyramids
Louvre Pyramids

The Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel is also located just across the street from the Louvre and also offers exquisite sunrise views. On some days the sun will rise right in the middle of the arch. You’ll have one of a kind memories and photos from this sunrise spot in Paris.

Grab a coffee or a pastry once the sun has risen and just before the city starts to get busy. Also, if you are wanting to see the Louvre, this would be a great day to get a head start in the queue.

Book a guided tour (and skip the queue) of the Louvre here

⇒ If you like beautiful European towns check out my posts on Saint Antonin Noble Val and Tarn et Garonne in France, 30 Famous Landmarks in France, 10 Beautiful Bridges in France, 10 Beautiful Lakes in France and the 6 Best Places to Watch the Sunrise in Paris

4. Sacré-Cœur Basilica In Montmartre

France is home to some of the most exquisite palaces, cathedrals and monuments and the Sacré-Cœur is no exception. Situated on the highest natural point in Paris, giving you sweeping aerial views of the city as it wakes and turns golden.

Sacre Coeur
Sacre Coeur

Climb the stairs up the hill going towards the Sacré-Cœur Basilica. Once you are at the top facing the Basilica, turn to the city.

From here you will be able to see the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and the Arc de Triomphe in the distance. But the most impressive view is that of the horizon turning pink as the sun rises.

Arc de Triomphe Paris at Sunrise
Arc de Triomphe Paris at Sunrise

Watch as the city and sky start to turn different colours as the sun continues to rise, catching different angles of light on the buildings.

Take this opportunity to explore the Montmartre neighbourhood where you will find quaint cafes serving delicious coffee and fresh pastries.

Book a walking tour of Montmartre here

5. Pont Alexandre III Bridge

Pont Alexandre III Bridge at sunrise in paris
Pont Alexandre III Bridge

This extravagant arch bridge spanning the Seine River boasts grand ornaments and stunning views. If you are looking to experience a tranquil sunrise by the water be sure to venture to this bridge on one of your mornings in Paris.

The bridge connects the Champs-Élysées quarter to the Invalides area and you’ll also be able to lay eyes on the beautiful Eiffel Tower from here. If you want to spend the morning admiring the Seine River then I suggest you pack a little breakfast picnic basket with you.

pont alexandre 3rd bridge paris at sunrise
Pont Alexandre III at Sunrise

Once the sun has woken up the city, find one of the many benches along the river to relax and indulge.

Mozy along the river on your way home, or to your next destination. It should still be pretty early so if you haven’t yet visited the Eiffel Tower up close, this is the perfect opportunity to do so.

Book a walking tour of the Champs-Élysées area

⇒ Explore more of Europe in my posts on 14 Beautiful Cities in Europe 16 European Palaces not to Miss, 17 Beautiful Castles in Europe Not to Miss, 21 Most Beautiful Countries in Europe, 9 Most Beautiful Cities in Germany, 26 Landmarks of Germany, 25 Rome Monuments, 60 Most Famous Landmarks in the World, 12 Beautiful Famous Spain Landmarks and 16 Famous Landmarks in Europe.

6. Colonnes de Buren

The Colonnes de Buren is an art installation that can be found in the inner courtyard of the Palais Royal. This famous and controversial work of art consists of multiple black and white striped columns dotted around the courtyard.

During the day the columns are climbed by children and tourists fascinated by the modern piece of art installed in an ancient building (creating the controversy).

colonnes du buren paris france
colonnes du buren

But in the early morning, this courtyard is almost a ghost town with the only thing visible being the cotton candy pink sky that makes an appearance just before the sun has risen.

As it’s right across from the Louvre, you can try and sneak in the sunrise experience from both spots. Grab a delicious breakfast in the area before you venture onto your next activity.

Book a bike tour to discover Palais Royal and other highlights in the area

Colonnes de Buren Paris
Colonnes de Buren Paris

Final Thoughts on Discovering the Sunrise in Paris

Paris is an exceptional city filled with history, culture, and undeniable beauty at every turn. It is easy to get caught up in the vibrant buzz of the city, filling your days with museum and monument tours and trying new restaurants and bars in the evenings.

But if there is one unique thing you have to do when you are in Paris, it’s watch the sunrise over the iconic architecture.

Whichever spot you choose from my list above, I know you won’t be disappointed! There is nothing more magical than having the streets of Paris to yourself during those waking golden hours.

It’s the best way to start your morning and sets you up for a perfect day of Parisian adventures.

Eiffel Tower at Dawn
Eiffel Tower at Dawn

This Sunrise in Paris post includes affiliate links. That means if you click through and end up making a purchase I will receive a small commission. I wanted to make sure you were aware of this.

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