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Galeries Lafayette Roof Terrace

The iconic Paris department store on the Boulevard Haussman has an observation deck with wonderful daytime and evening views. The terrace is open from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m., and admission is free.

Couple on Galeries Lafayette rooftop terrace in Paris.

ABOVE: The Eiffel Tower photobombs a couple as they pose for a snapshot on the Galeries Lafayette rooftop terrace.

Several Paris department stores offer rooftop views (Printemps and BHV Marais come to mind), but Galeries Lafayette beats its competitors hands down. The roof terrace at its main store on the Boulevard Haussman consists mostly of a large, free observation deck where you won't feel pressured to buy a drink or a snack to enjoy the view.

(In the warmer months, "pop-up" restaurants may intrude, but much of the deck is still available for visitors who simply want to look at the scenery.)

What you'll see:

From the Galeries Lafayette rooftop terrace, you'll see the Ópera Garnier at close range. The streetscape is also interesting, with plenty of Hausmannesque building façades and cupolas to please the eye.

To the north, the Butte of Montmarte and the Basilica of Sacré Coeur loom over the landscape.

As you look off toward the southwest, you'll see the Eiffel Tower.

If you have time and you're in Paris during the months when darkness comes early, we suggest making two visits to the Galeries Lafayette roof terrace: One during the day, and another after sundown.

How to reach the Terrace at Galeries Lafayette:

The observation deck is on the eighth floor of the main store or magasin principal of Galeries Lafayette Paris Hausmann at 40 Boulevard Hausmann in the 9th arrondissement. (See store map and plan your visit for directions and transit information.)

Once you're inside the Galeries Lafayette main store, catch an escalator to the terrace on the top floor. (Note that the terrace is open from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. most days.

Daytime photos:

Opera Garnier from Galeries Lafayette terrace.

ABOVE: The Ópera Garnier dominates this view from the Galeries Lafayette observation deck. (Don't miss a self-guided tour of the opera house while you're in the neighborhood.)

View of Montmartre and Sacre Coeur from Galeries Lafayette roof terrace.

ABOVE: The basilica church of Sacré Coeur stands atop the Butte of Montmartre to the north. (On the day of our visit, the scenery was oversharpened.)

View of street from Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussman rooftop terrace.

Galeries Lafayette rooftop view.

ABOVE: The Galeries Lafayette terrace is eight floors up, so views of nearby streets and buildings are good without inspiring acrophobia.

Woman with dog at Galeries Lafayette roof terrace in Paris.

Woman hugging dog at Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussman.

ABOVE: If your dog gets bored while you're taking selfies, ask a bystander to give it a hug.

Nighttime photos:

Opera Garnier at night from Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussman roof terrace.

ABOVE: After dark, the same views have a very different look, because lighting draws your eye to certain objects (such as the Eiffel Tower on the right in this photo).

Warning: Most areas of the roof terrace have lights on the deck to prevent missteps and falls at night, but a few spots are poorly illuminated. Be cautious when walking around the terrace in darkness.

Eiffel Tower light show from Galeries Lafayette roof terrace.

Eiffel Tower at night from Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussman.

ABOVE: The best time to visit in the evening is on the hour, when the Eiffel Tower's strobe lights put on a show for five minutes at the top of the hour after sundown.

Basilica of Sacre Coeur from Galeries Lafayette observation deck, Paris.

ABOVE: Like most Paris monuments, the Basilica of Sacré Coeur is floodlit after dark.

Galeries Lafayette area at night (from roof terrace).

ABOVE: From the rooftop of the main store, other buildings of Galeries Lafayette are clearly visible (thanks to their illuminated logos).

'Paris je t'aime' sign on Galeries Lafayette observation deck.

ABOVE: A "Paris je t'aime" sculpture makes a popular photo spot on the roof terrace of Galeries Lafayette Paris Hausmann.

More Galeries Lafayette photos:

Galeries Lafayette La Coupole (dome).

ABOVE: On your way up or down the escalator, step into the shopping area and admire La Coupole, a.k.a. The Dome.

Dog on escalator in Galeries Lafayette, Paris.

ABOVE: At Galeries Lafayette, nobody knows you're a dog.

Shoppers at Galeries Lafayette Paris Hausmann.

ABOVE: "The department store that never sleeps" is open every day from mid-morning until mid-evening. (See store hours.)

Also see:
Paris Sightseeing Index

About the author:

Durant Imboden photo.Durant Imboden is a professional travel writer, book author, and editor who focuses on European cities and transportation.

After 4-1/2 years of covering European travel topics for About.com, Durant and Cheryl Imboden co-founded Europe for Visitors (including Paris for Visitors) in 2001. The site has earned "Best of the Web" honors from Forbes and The Washington Post.

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