Paris Street Photography Locations: A Quick Guide to Photogenic Spots

Your Quick Guide to Street Photography in Paris

Paris street photography opportunities blend architecture with haute couture, which, if you say together quite fast in my Australian accent, sounds quite funny. But you didn’t come here for jokes, you came here to find where to go for the best street photography in Paris.

With its vibrant street scapes, timeless architecture, and the ever-present fusion of history and modernity, Paris is a muse for those keen to capture daily life. Street photography in Paris is more than just an activity, it’s wandering with your camera through a city that has inspired artists, writers, and creators for centuries. As we delve into the heart of Parisian street photography, this guide aims to uncover some of the most photogenic spots to visit.

The charm of Paris lies not only in its iconic landmarks, especially with crazy high numbers of tourists all heading for the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe, but also in the fleeting moments and everyday interactions that occur within its historic streets and lively neighbourhoods.

From the quaint alleys of Montmartre, echoing the steps of artistic giants, to the waterside ambience of the Canal Saint-Martin, each location offers a unique narrative waiting to be captured. This guide is designed not just for photographers but for anyone who wishes to see Paris from a refreshing angle, to discover those moments of ephemeral beauty, so often found when observing Parisian life.

Paris Street Photography Locations

#1 Montmartre

Montmartre’s cobblestone streets, steep staircases, and the stunning Basilica of the Sacré-Cœur offer a picturesque backdrop reminiscent of old Paris. Its history as an artists’ village, with former residents including Picasso and Van Gogh, adds a rich cultural layer to your photographs. Sure, it’s touristy and a very popular place for everyone to visit, but go early to watch artists setting up, capture those long shadows across the cobblestones, and avoid the crowds by taking your photos, then enjoying a leisurely brunch while observing the square.

Street Photography Suggestions: Rue Norvins in front of Le Consulat and Rue de l’Abreuvoir

Left Bank Paris Photographs from the Seine to Tour Montparnasse

#2 Le Marais

Known for its vibrant street life, historic architecture, delicious eateries (you have to try L’As du Fallafel), and diverse community, Le Marais offers a unique blend of the old and new Paris. The narrow streets, filled with boutiques, vintage shops, and bakeries, provide endless opportunities for candid street photography.

Street Photography Suggestions: Rue Payenne, Rue de Birague, Hôtel de Sully

Paris Photography Locations

Left Bank Paris Photographs from the Seine to Tour Montparnasse

#3 Pont Alexandre III

This ornate bridge spanning the Seine offers breathtaking views of iconic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and Les Invalides. Its opulent Art Nouveau lamps, cherubs, nymphs, and winged horses make it an exquisite example of French decorative arts.

Street Photography Tip: Capture long exposures of moving traffic, light sparkles from the lamps and play with shadows in the early or evening hours of the day.


#4 Passage Jouffroy

Built in 1847, Passage Jouffroy is one of Paris’s historic covered passages. Its glass roof, classic wood panelling, and traditional Parisian mosaic flooring offer a glimpse into 19th-century Parisian life. This passage is home to unique boutiques, antique bookshops, and a traditional tearoom, providing a variety of interesting subjects for photography. Its preserved architectural details and ambient natural light filtering through the glass ceiling make it an exceptional location for capturing the essence of Parisian elegance and the timeless charm of its hidden passages.

Photo Tip: As it’s a small arcade, just be mindful of other people who may not wish to have their photograph taken. Use the windows, ornate features and gorgeous light to compose your image.


#5 Canal Saint-Martin

The canal, with its iron footbridges and tree-lined quays, offers a serene setting for photography. It’s popular among locals for picnics and leisurely walks, making it ideal for capturing the everyday life of Parisians against a picturesque backdrop.

Street Photography Tip: Wander the canals on both sides to seek out angles and features that appeal to you. The bridges work well when photographed from afar, in summer, greenery is in abundance, in winter, you’ll find stunning scenes for minimalism or footprints in snow (if you get lucky with snow in Paris!) if photographing from a footbridge.

#6 Latin Quarter

Known for its bohemian atmosphere, the Latin Quarter’s narrow lanes and historic universities offer a dive into the intellectual heart of Paris. Street photography here captures the youthful energy and dynamic mix of cafés, bookshops, and Roman ruins.

Tip: Take a self-guided walking tour to photograph the various monuments and avenues of this stunning area of Paris. I’ve created an exclusive map + tour within the Paris Photography Location guide available to download as an eBook for your trip here.

Left Bank Paris photographyLeft Bank Paris photography

Left Bank Paris Photographs from the Seine to Tour Montparnasse

Left Bank Paris photographyLeft Bank Paris photography

#7 Place des Vosges

Paris’s oldest planned square is famed for its perfect symmetry, beautiful facades, and verdant park at its center. The surrounding Marais district and the historic mansions, including Victor Hugo’s home, provide a beautiful setting that reflects the elegance of Parisian life.

Street Photography Tip: Use the surrounding architecture to frame your outlook towards the square, alternatively, compose your shot of the historic facades using the fountain, paths and trees of the square.

Paris Photography Locations

#8 Palais Garnier and Surroundings

The majestic Palais Garnier, with its opulent facade and the intricate sculptures adorning its exterior, is a beacon of Parisian art and culture that offers more than just its world-renowned interior. The streets encircling this architectural masterpiece are equally captivating for street photographers. The Avenue de l’Opéra presents a direct, unobstructed view of the opera house, lined with classic Haussmannian buildings that lead your eye towards this emblematic monument.

Play with of light and shadow among the columns and sculptures which is particularly enchanting during the golden hours, when the setting sun bathes the limestone in a warm glow. The area’s wide boulevards and smaller side streets provide a diverse urban landscape, ideal for capturing the essence of Parisian elegance. The nearby Galeries Lafayette and Printemps department stores boast impressive facades and window displays, offering a modern contrast to the historical opulence of the Palais Garnier. This juxtaposition of the classic and contemporary underscores the dynamic visual narrative of Paris, making the surroundings of the Palais Garnier a treasure trove for street photographers seeking to document the city’s architectural beauty and the vibrancy of its streets.

If you can’t tell, it’s one of my favourite areas to photograph in Paris!

Street Photography Suggestions: Rue Scribe and Rue Auber flank the Palais Garnier, offering a mix of elegant shopfronts, cozy cafés, and the occasional glimpse of Parisian life that unfolds against the backdrop of grandiose architecture.

Now, I did want to exclude anywhere overly touristy, but exploring the corridors of the Louvre (you don’t need a ticket for the external walkways) is a must!

Continue reading further Paris articles:

A Guide to the Best Photography Locations in Paris

In Photos: A Day at Versailles

Setting the Scene: Paris Street Photography with a 50mm Lens

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