By Ulrike Lemmin-Woolfrey February 28, 2024

Best public transport with views of the Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower Tour

Paris’ public transportation network is known to be fast and reliable. While most of the Paris metro is underground, other ways of getting around on public transport could easily double as sight-seeing tours, and many take you either straight to the Eiffel Tower or at least offer views of it.

Wherever you’re staying in Paris, it’s easy to hop on a bus or the metro to get to the Eiffel Tower from anywhere. Even if you are staying in a room with a view of said tower, there is still so much more to see. There’s nothing quite like joining real Parisians on a bus or train to get a true feeling for the city. And if you can travel through the streets, pass by fabulous sights, and all for a couple of Euros, it’s all the better.

Here are some of my favorite ways to see and experience Paris by public transport.

Pro tip: Get yourself a RATP ticket for any length of time, from one-off trips to multi-day passes. Just remember that while t+ tickets are valid on buses, the metro, and even the funicular, they’re not accepted on the RER or the Batobus.

Metro Line 6: The above-ground one

While several metro lines crisscross Paris, few go overground for more than one or two stops. Metro line 6, however, is an exception and offers some of the best views in the entire city.

Take the line from Charles de Gaule Étoile toward Nation, and sit on the left-hand side, facing in the direction you go. At Passy, get your phone out and start recording as soon as you set off. You’ll be rewarded with grand views of the Eiffel Tower across the Seine.

Further along, after Place d’Italie, you’re treated to the outdoor art gallery that is Boulevard Vincent Auriol in the 13éme arrondissement. Most tall apartment blocks in the area are covered in huge murals, created by urban artists from around the globe.

The Funiculaire de Montmartre

Funiculaire de Montmartre

Getting up to the Sacre-Coeur in gorgeous Montmartre can be a heart-pounding trip. But it’s worth it for the lovely village vibe, the art scene, and — of course — Sacre-Coeur itself. To enjoy the views as you go, opt for a ride on the funicular. The 90-second ride takes you from the Carrousel de Saint-Pierre, up to the top of the hill, and to the foot of the iconic white church.

It’s not a long ride, but the views, as they develop, are lovely if you stand back and face the city. A one-way trip costs one metro ticket and is covered by your t+ multi-day pass.

Seine river cruise

Seine river cruise

No trip to Paris is complete without a boat trip along the Seine. It offers amazing views, especially perfect for first-timers since you can see so many famous Parisian sights along the way. These include attractions like:

  • The Conciergerie
  • Grand Palais and Petit Palais
  • Pont Alexandre III
  • The Louvre
  • Musée d’Orsay
  • And, of course, the Eiffel Tower

We offer a Seine river cruise ticket with our Eiffel Tower Guided Climb or elevator tour. It will not only allow you to see some of the essential Parisian sights from a unique point of view, but it will also give you some cultural context and history on these landmarks. 

Your ticket is good for one year from your tour date, so you can visit later in your trip or even on a return trip to Paris!

Bus 22 through Passy

Bus route 22 takes you through many stunning residential streets in Paris, allowing you to take a peek at non-touristy places. The bus line also stops at some grand sights along the way. You can hop on at the stunning department stores on Boulevard Haussmann, and heading east toward Porte de Saint-Cloud, travel past the beautiful and often overlooked Musée Jacquemart-André, and Parc Monceau.

I suggest riding past the Arc de Triomphe, to Trocadéro, and through the wealthy neighborhood of Passy with its perfect honey-hued architecture. If you get off at Maison de Radio France, you can walk down to the Île des Cygnes with its mini Statue of Liberty.

Bus 42: The Fashionable one

Route 42 takes you from the Eiffel Tower to the Champs Élysées. On the ride, you’ll cross the Seine and travel along the trés chic Avenue Montaigne, full of luxury design houses.

You’ll also get to see several Paris landmarks, including the Place de la Concorde, past the Tuileries, Madeleine, and the Opéra Garnier.

The bus eventually drops you at the department stores on Boulevard Haussmann.

Bus 63: Saint-Germain-des-Prés

Saint Germain des Prés

Traversing the entire Rive Gauche, the Left Bank, Bus 63 starts near Gare d’Austerlitz, travels past the Île de Saint-Louis with Paris’ best real estate, and dives into the neighborhood of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Here it passes by the Odéon, the churches Saint-Sulpice and Saint-Germain-des-Prés, with easy access to the indoor market.

Going westward, it heads past the wonderful Bon Marché department store, past Invalides, and on to the Eiffel Tower.

Bus 69: See the Eiffel Tower and more

Père Lachaise

Bus line 69 can easily be used as a hop-on hop-off bus to see the main sites of Paris. You set off at the Eiffel Tower, with the entire Champ de Mars in front of you leading up to the tower and then pass the Invalides and the Musée d’Orsay. 

Afterward, you cross the Seine to take in the Louvre and Palais Royal, going along the quays of the Seine past the Hôtel de Ville and the Marais to Bastille, before heading north toward cemetery Père Lachaise.

Bus 72: River views throughout

If you like your sights with a bit of water thrown into the mix, Bus 72 hugs the Seine’s Right Bank most of the way between Gare de Lyon and Parc de Saint-Cloud.

Highlights of the trip include the Eiffel Tower (seen just across the bridge), Trocadéro, the Palais de Tokyo, the Grand Palais, Place de la Concorde, the Tuileries, and the Hôtel de Ville. This is probably the prettiest bus route in all of Paris.

Pro tip: Please note that because of the one-way system, between Place de la Concorde and Hôtel de Ville, the bus goes eastward along Rue de Rivoli and westward along the quay road.

Bus 73: Champs Élysées

Arc de Triomphe

Between the stops of Palais de Congrès – Porte de Maillot and Place de la Concorde, bus line 73 takes you around the manic traffic circle of the Arc de Triomphe (worth taking this bus for) straight down the Champs Élysées. As you circle the Arc de Triomphe, look right and you’ll see the Eiffel Tower standing tall at the end of Avenue d’Iéna.

This bus ride is great for getting your bearings of the city. It’s easy to locate your favorite stores or simply rest your feet while watching the hustle and bustle of the city’s most famous street.

Bus 86: All the way to the zoo

From the Eiffel Tower through Saint-Germain-des-Prés, and the Latin Quarter, across to Bastille and Nation and the Paris Zoo, bus line 86 is a long and very varied route. The bus takes you across the entire breadth of Paris, with so many varied views and sights along the way that it’ll give those who have ‘done’ the main sights brand new impressions.

As with Bus 72, this one also has to navigate a one-way system, so please consult the plan as to which road the bus takes heading east, or west, as they differ, making a round trip quite fun.

RER A to Saint-Germain-en-Laye

Paris from Above

The RER trains, which run below the surface of Paris, aren’t an obvious choice for sightseeing. But once you reach the city limits and the outskirts of Paris, you can sit back and enjoy some fabulous views. Running from Disneyland Paris in the east to the bustling suburb of Saint-Germain-en-Laye in the west, RER A crosses Paris underground, but emerges as soon as it reaches the suburbs.

If you hop on at Gare de Lyon, Auber, or Charles de Gaulle Étoile toward Saint-Germain-en-Laye, you’ll have a scenic 20-minute ride ahead of you, crossing various arms of the Seine until you reach Saint-Germain-en-Laye. There you merge and have the Château Saint-Germain-en-Laye, birthplace of Louis IVX, right in front of you. And great views across the entirety of Paris, dominated by the Eiffel Tower, spread out below you.

Pro tip: Go to Saint-Germain-en-Laye on Tuesday, Friday, or Sunday to experience the colorful market.

Bonus: Views of the “real” Paris from the trams

Did you know that there are tramways in Paris? Although most Parisians probably don’t know about them, trams run mostly along the outer edge of Paris, between the périphérique and what used to be the Petite Ceinture, the former belt railway.

Due to their location, there aren’t many major sights along any of the tramways. However, if you want to see “real” Paris away from the tourist masses, a slow ride on the tram could be for you.

While there aren’t any Eiffel Tower views here, I recommend the T3a in the south from Pont du Garigliano toward Porte des Vincennes, past the exhibitions at Porte de Versailles, and Place d’ Italie, crossing the Seine in the east of Paris. There you can hop on the T3b, which nearly connects the circumference and takes you past interesting places, such as Porte de la Villette and Porte de Clignancourt.

Still want more? Here are some additional spots from where to catch some fabulous Eiffel Tower views.