If you are going to Paris, I’m likely to give you the following direction “Go to the Chanel counter of Galleries Lafayette, stop and look up!” Your eyes will be richly rewarded. As for your wallet, well that’s another story depending on your willpower for luxury clothes, accessories and macarons (there is a Pierre Hermes counter with a plethora of indulgent macarons). The stunning stained glass domed ceiling is just one surprise in this department store. The decor hanging from the ceiling changes a few times a year – the Christmas theme is fantastic! There are a few other surprises in store for you – you only need to board the escalators and continue up for one of my favorite views of the city on the Galleries Lafayette Rooftop, La Terrasse. It’s one of my secret spots in Paris and I’m sharing with you!
Galleries Lafayette Rooftop – La Terrasse
The Galleries Lafayette Rooftop, La Terrasse, has free views of Paris. Yes, free views of Paris – this is one of my secrets of the city. You can access the roof by the escalator (by the café) or find the stairs (if you stuffed yourself, the stairs are good exercise). The rooftop has lovely views of the Paris Opera across the street as well as the Eiffel Tower in the distance. There is an ice cream cart, a sit down outdoor bar/café and a coffee kiosk. As we walked around on the roof, we could see folks enjoying the sun and others eating their takeaway. Generally open from 9:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. (weather dependent) you can enjoy a peaceful getaway all day long.
Despite being in the middle of throngs of people shopping on the street and people crossing the busy streets at the Paris Opera, the rooftop seems worlds away from all of the frenzied pace of the area. Seeing people sit in the sun with friends and families sharing baguettes, macarons and enjoying the day is a great sight that I often think only happens in Paris. However, you momentarily forget you are in Paris until you hear French being spoken or see the selfies being taken with the Eiffel Tower in the background.
The secret is out as evidenced during a summer lunchtime visit when the rooftop was crowded but there was plenty of space to take a photo along the edges. During the fall, the tourist crowds were minimal so we felt like we had the rooftop all to ourselves in the late afternoon. There are guards to ensure it doesn’t get too crowded – during my many visits, there was no need for crowd control which was good.
Galleries Lafayette Rooftop Views
In Paris, you have a few options to see the Eiffel Tower from many parts of the city. You can see it up close for free or pay to go inside to see the city views. You can pay to enjoy the views from the Arc de Triomphe or go to Galleries Lafayette for a free view. Your choice as all are lovely. Plus you can see the unique Haussman buildings and their uniformity from this view.
You may not have thought of visiting the department store, Galleries Lafayette, on your Paris trip because you don’t want to go luxury shopping but you would miss out on the rooftop view of the city and Eiffel Tower. So go indulge in Hermes macarons, Alain Ducasse chocolates and gorgeous interior and exterior views uniquely Parisian. The Galleries Lafayette Rooftop is my secret spot in Paris so I hope you go experience the free views now that you are in the know.