While in Paris, we visited five places that gave us a bird's eye view of the city; Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Montparnasse Tower, Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, and Notre Dame Cathedral. Since it was the off season, the only location where we encountered much of a line was at the Eiffel Tower. Instead of waiting in the regular line that would've taken us all the way up by elevator, we opted for the shorter line that required us to take the stairs to the second level before catching the elevator. It was quite a trek up to the second level but well worth it, not only to bypass the longer line, but to get a closer look of the tower itself.
It turns out that stairs would become a common theme at all these places since we had to climb at least a few steps to reach the best vantage points at each location. The fewest steps we had to climb was at Montparnasse Tower. After taking the elevator to the 56th floor, we only had to go up one floor using the stairs to get to the open terrace.
At Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Arc de Triomphe, and Notre Dame Cathedral, where there were no elevators, we had to take the stairs all the way up to reach the best views of the city. I'm not quite sure how many steps we ended up climbing in total, but each and every one we was well worth it.
Of the five places, Montparnasse Tower probably had the best overall view of Paris since the view actually included the Eiffel Tower. The view from the Eiffel Tower itself is quite spectacular and well worth the trip up. My favorite, however, was the view from the towers at the Notre Dame Cathedral. Since the cathedral is located in the heart of Paris, and the towers are not quite as high as the Eiffel Tower, the view felt more immersive than the other locations. On top of that, the intricate details of the cathedral and the abundance of gargoyles made the views, and photographs, much more interesting.