One of the things I loved about New York was all the hidden nooks and crannies you could discover as a local. Secret doors, speakeasy style rooms, hidden and quiet places to go when it gets to be too much.
I haven't really gotten to that point in Paris yet. I have to go and stand in line with everyone else to do pretty much anything.
I'll let you in on a secret though. I did discover a great terrace with a decent view of the city. There was only a couple other people up there, and it was totally free.
It's at the Instut du Monde Arabe over in the 5th arr, which is a quick walk down the Seine from the crowds of Notre Dame.
You have to go through some airport-style security to get in, but once you are in, the place is nearly empty. There's a good cafe on the ground floor and an upscale restaurant on the 9th floor on the terrace. Aside from a few exhibition-goers and late lunchers, the place was empty.
The view is nice! You don't get the Eiffel tower view, but you get a great deal of the rest of the city.
The city, as usual, was wearing its chic Parisian shade of grey. I actually got caught in several downpours that day while I was out, creating an ombre effect from my waist on down where the umbrella couldn't quite protect me. I'm at the point where if my shoes didn't make a wet squish squash noise with every step, I would think something was really wrong with them.