Many tourists overlook the Tour Montparnasse, a rather stark glass and steel skyscraper jutting out on the horizon from the eponymous Montparnasse district in the capital's south-central 15th arrondissement/district.
Yet for those seeking fantastic panoramic views of Paris, few other vantages beat this humble tower's-- they even surpass the Eiffel Tower's. Don't make the mistake of missing out on it yourself: head to the 59th floor for dazzling 360-degree views of the whole city.
Visiting the Tower: Key Facts and Highlights
The 689-foot tower, considered Paris' only real skyscraper, was built in 1970 as part of efforts by then-French President Georges Pompidou to modernize the city and its infrastructures. It was, as so many other now-famous monuments in the city (including the Eiffel Tower) decried as an eyesore on the city, and no other skyscrapers of its stature were subsequently built within the traditional city limits.
Read Related: 4 Towers Worth Visiting in Paris That Aren't the Eiffel
Comprising a total of 59 floors in addition to 6 underground levels, the tower boasts an astounding 25 elevators, each serving different floors and parts of the tower. Many are extremely fast: the speediest one allows passengers to zip from the ground floor to the 56th floor in a heart-racing 38 seconds (about 19 feet per second). If you have vertigo or a fear of elevators, you might get a bit of a fright from this!
To get to the top floor and the terrace, access is by stairs only from the 56th floor. This unfortunately makes Montparnasse Tower somewhat poorly accessible to visitors with limited mobility. However, they can still enjoy the panoramic views from the 56th floor.
Panoramic Views From The Top Deck
The 56th floor level offers 360-degree views of the entire city, so don't forget your camera! This floor also has a cafe offering light meals, as well as a gift shop.
For even more dramatic panoramic vantages over the capital, the rooftop terrace (again, sadly accessible by stairs only) is more exposed and dramatic, and is touted as the tallest spot in Paris (at 200 meters) to enjoy such sweeping perspectives. For those with a fear of heights, not to worry: the entire terrace is sheltered under a curved glass rooftop structure.
The tower houses the aforementioned cafe on the 56th floor as well as a gastronomic restaurant for formal lunch and dinner, Le Ciel de Paris. Visitors must reserve ahead for the formal restaurant: see this page for more information.
Location and Contact Information:
The tower is easily accessible from the Montparnasse-Bienvenue metro station. Although it seems quite far away from central Paris, in reality it's only about a 30-minute walk (assuming you know where you're going, hopefully with the aid of a good Paris city street map or travel app.)
- Address: 33, avenue du Maine, 15th arrondissement (main entrance and access to cashiers is at foot of Tower, on Rue de l'arrivee)
- Tel: +33 (0)1 45 38 52 56
- Metro: Montparnasse-Bienvenue or Raspail (Lines 4, 6, 12, or 14)
- Visit the official website (in English) for current ticket prices, booking online, panoramic webcam, and more.
Opening Times and Tickets:
In high season (April 1st through September 30th), the tower and its "Panoramic Visitors' Center" is open daily from 9:30 am to 11:30pm. In low season (October 1st to March 31st), the center is open Sunday to Thursday from 9:30 am to 10:30 pm; and Friday to Saturday and the evening before public holidays from 9:30 am to 11:30 pm. Please note that cashiers close 30 minutes before, so be sure to arrive in plenty of time to ensure entry.
For current ticket prices and to book online, visit this page at the official website.
Sights and Attractions Nearby
Visit the tower before or after exploring the charming, decidedly un-touristy neighborhood of Montparnasse and the surrounding areas. During the 1920s and 1930s this was an intellectual and artistic hotbed that saw a foment of creativity among writers, artists, and painters including Henry Miller and Tamara de Lempicka, as well as many others. Today, it is prized for its quiet parks and cemeteries, cobbled market streets, and old-world charm. It's also home to many excellent creperies in Paris. Main sights and attractions in close reach of the tower include:
- Paris Catacombs Museum
- Fondation Cartier for Contemporary Arts
- Rue Daguerre (a charming market street)
- Musee Bourdelle (dedicated to the French sculptor)
- Ti Jos Creperie and Breton Pub