A key element of Paris’ skyline, the Tour Montparnasse stands in monolithic, modern contrast to the Hausmannian boulevards below. Debuted in 1973, the tower was France’s tallest building for decades; its stark look has caused controversy since its unveiling. Even still, there’s no arguing with the panoramic views visitors can glean from its observation deck.
Designed by architects Eugène Beaudouin, Urbain Cassan, and Louis de Hoÿm de Marien, the 59-story Tour Montparnasse irrevocably altered the Paris cityscape. Following its construction, the city levied a ban on new buildings exceeding seven stories; while that stricture has been relaxed somewhat in recent years, the tower still stands out from the rest of the city.
Its looks may not inspire rapturous praise, but its views certainly do. The building’s observation deck includes both indoor and outdoor viewing areas. From its heights, most of the City of Light can be glimpsed, from the Eiffel Tower to Sacré Coeur and beyond. Various ticket packages cater to individual visitors and groups; you can also explore Tour Montparnasse on a private Paris tour or glimpsed it in passing on a hop-on hop-off bus tour.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Tour Montparnasse’s observation deck is poised 656 feet (200 meters) above street level, and the elevator that ferries visitors to the top is among the fastest in Europe.
- The observation deck is equipped with interactive kiosks and touchscreens that will help you spot key Paris landmarks.
- Two-entry tickets to the Tour Montparnasse, available for a small additional fee, let visitors take in both daytime and evening skyline views.
- The tower’s gourmet restaurant, le Ciel de Paris (the Paris Sky), is the highest panoramic eatery in town.
How to Get There
The Tour Montparnasse, located in the 15th arrondissement, is just adjacent to the Gare Montparnasse: one of Paris’ largest train stations, which is served by numerous train lines, including the TGV. It also stands above the Montparnasse – Bienvenüe Métro station, which is accessible by lines 4, 6, 12, and 13.
When to Get There
The Tour Montparnasse is open to visitors seven days a week, 365 days per year, from 9:30am–11:30pm. If you can, avoid visiting during foggy or rainy days, or times of low visibility. Sunny days and neon-lit evenings both offer top-notch sightseeing potential.
What’s Next for the Tour Montparnasse
It’s true that the Tour Montparnasse’s looks are oft-maligned, but that’s poised to change. Inspired by the 2024 Paris Olympics, the tower’s facade will undergo a complete renovation in the coming years that promises to give it contemporary flair.