Guide to the Tour Montparnasse in Paris: For Gorgeous Panoramic Scenes

Why Paris' Only True Skyscraper Is Worth a Visit

what is tour montparnasse used for

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. 

Onsite Restaurants 

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

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Tour Montparnasse

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Tour Montparnasse

Tour Montparnasse (Montparnasse Tower) stands 689 ft (210 m) tall. It has one of the best observation decks of Paris. From its terrace visitors will be able to see the most important monuments of the city.

Past and Present

Opened in 1973, the Tour Montparnasse was the first office building to be built in the center of Paris. It was the subject of great controversy as many Parisians believed that the skyscraper clashed with the rest of the city’s architecture.

Presently, nearly 5,000 people work on one of the building’s 53 floors , while over 750,000 travelers climb to its observation decks on the 56 and 59 floors to enjoy some of the best views of Paris.

Stunning Bird’s Eye View of Paris

After having taken a lift in Europe’s fastest elevator, visitors will get off on the 56th floor to see a stunning bird’s eye view of the city, protected by the building’s large windows. As well as enjoying the panoramic views, you can find out some curious facts about the city through multimedia apps or else travel back in time and visit Paris years ago during the exhibition of old photographs of the capital.

The best photos of the city can be taken three floors up, on the 59th floor. From this observation terrace, you’ll see Paris as if it were miniature.

One of Montparnasse’s great advantages is that it provides great views of the Eiffel Tower , something impossible to see if you climb up this monument to see the scenery.

Buy tickets for the Montparnasse Tower

If you plan to visit the Montparnasse Tower, we recommend buying tickets in advance. This way you'll make sure to reserve your spot and even get a small discount. You can buy them through the web at the following link:

  • Montparnasse Tower ticket

Montparnasse Tower

Avenue du Maine, 33

1 April – 30 September : 9:30 am – 11:30 pm 1 October – 31 March : Sunday – Thursday: 9:30 am – 10:30 pm Friday – Saturday and eve of public holidays: 9:30 am – 11 pm

Adults: € 21 ( US$ 22.80) Youth (12-17 years old) and students: € 16 ( US$ 17.40) Children (4-11 years old): € 9.50 ( US$ 10.30) Free entry with the Paris Pass .

Montparnasse Tower Ticket € 20 ( US$ 21.70)

Metro : Montparnasse-Bienvenüe , lines 4, 6, 12 and 13. Bus : Lines 28, 58, 82, 88, 89, 91, 92, 94, 95 and 96.

Nearby places

Catacombs of Paris (1.2 km) Jardin du Luxembourg (1.2 km) Church of Saint-Sulpice (1.3 km) Musée Rodin (1.5 km) Les Invalides (1.6 km)

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what is tour montparnasse used for

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Home > What Nobody Told You About Tour Montparnasse (Montparnasse Tower, Paris)

What Nobody Told You About Tour Montparnasse (Montparnasse Tower, Paris)

The Tour Maine-Montparnasse , best known as Tour Montparnasse or Montparnasse Tower , is one of the most famous landmarks in Paris . With 59 floors and 210 m high, the Tower is Paris’ tallest building and the only skyscraper in the city. This stupendous Tower is situated at 33 Ave. du Maine, in the 15th Arrondissement of Paris. The entrance is at Rue de l’Arrivée, while the nearest metro stop is Montparnasse Bienvenue.

The Tour Montparnasse is named after the neighborhood it is located in. In the 17th century, students from the neighboring Latin Quarter liked to meet at the top of a small artificial hill in the south of the city, where sand and rubble were piled up, to recite poems. Ironically, the hill then took the name of Mount Parnassus , a mythical Greek mountain dedicated to the god Apollo and his nine Muses, protectors of the arts and poetry.

The Montparnasse neighborhood was from 1900 and, especially during the interwar period, the heart of Parisian artistic and intellectual life. After Apollinaire, Gauguin, Matisse, and the Douanier Rousseau, many foreign artists, mostly Jews, went into exile in Paris: Modigliani, Zadkine, Soutine, Chagall, and many more. They were attracted by the affordable rents of housing and workshops.

The Montparnasse neighborhood is also home to the Montparnasse Cemetery , one of the most beautiful cemeteries in Paris , the Observatoire de Paris, the Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, and the Carrières des Capucins .

Tour Montparnasse, Paris

Tour Montparnasse Hours and Ticket Price

From 1 October to 31 March, the Tower is open from 9.30 am to 10.30 pm, from Sunday to Thursday, and from 9.30 am to 11.00 pm on Fridays, Saturdays, and holidays.

From 1 April to 30 September, the Tower is open from 9.30 am to 11.30 pm every day.

Tour Montparnasse tickets cost 15€ (adults), 11€ (students and visitors aged 12 to 17), and 7.50€ (kids aged 4 to 11). It is free to visit for kids under 4 years – Click here to book your tickets in advance

Access to Tour Montparnasse is included in The Paris Pass (now Go City Paris) . There are also interesting bundles combining some of the top Paris attractions that make you save time and money:

  • Montparnasse Tower + Seine Cruise (5% off)
  • Montparnasse Tower + Arc de Triomphe (5% off)
  • Montparnasse Tower + Opera Garnier (5% off)

Tour Montparnasse Inside

what is tour montparnasse used for

The Montparnasse Tower has 59 floors above ground and six floors underground. The floors open to visitors are floor #56 and floor #59.

Montparnasse Tower Obervation Deck

Prepare for a dizzying ascent: the Tower’s lightning-fast elevator rises from the ground floor to the 56th floor in just 38 seconds! This lift is one of the fastest lifts in Europe at speeds reaching 60km/h.

Called the Montparnasse Tower Observation Deck , the 56th floor allows visitors to admire breathtaking views of Paris protected from wind and rain. The Montparnasse Tower Observation Deck is equipped with avant-garde interactive and audio-visual facilities to aid in interpreting the views of the city you see below. These include exhibitions, binoculars, interactive facilities, viewpoint tables, quizzes, and more.

You will also find a bar-restaurant, a café and a souvenir shop on this floor.

The Terrace

The Montparnasse Tower tickets also give you access to the 59th floor. This is actually an outdoor roof terrace that, at 210 meters high, offers a breathtaking 360-degree view of Paris.

This floor is accessible by stairs from the 56th floor, and it has telescopes and orientation tables to help visitors locate the monuments and famous buildings of Paris .

Interesting and Quirky Facts About the Montparnasse Tower, Paris

Montparnasse Tower

In addition to its location and imposing architecture, here are some interesting Montparnasse Tower facts.

1. Tour Montparnasse’s Main Figures

The Tour Montparnasse weighs 150,000 tons, has an oval shape of 164 x 104 meters, and has six underground levels and 59 floors.

It has 70 m of foundation, 25 lifts working at 6m/second, 40,000m2 of façade, 7,200 windows, and 1306 stairs. The Montparnasse Tower receives 1,2 million visitors per year on roofs #56 and #59, while the rest of the Tower is a prestigious address that welcomes around 5,000 employees daily.

2. It took 11 Years to Approve the Construction of the Montparnasse Tower

From the first drawings to the beginning of the construction, it took eleven years to approve the project!

All began in 1959 when the French rail company, SNCF, decided that the Montparnasse Station needed to be renovated and moved to accommodate the growing influx of passengers. So much to Paris’ dismay, the Gare Montparnasse was moved to its current location, and a 59-story tower was designed on the site of the former station to house Parisian office buildings.

The project was strongly criticized because of the height of the building. A controversy began and led to slowdowns in the project, led by the Minister of Equipment Edgard Pisani, who obtained the support of André Malraux, then Minister of Culture under General de Gaulle.

In 1969, Georges Pompidou, President of the Republic, wanted to provide Paris with modern infrastructure and granted the construction of a real complex with a Shopping Center. The construction of this Paris skyscraper could then begin.

In April 1970, the first stone was laid, and French multinational VINCI built the Tower after the design of architects Eugène Beaudouin, Urbain Cassan, and Louis Hoym de Marien. VINCI is also known for constructing the Centre Pompidou, the Channel Tunnel, and the Stade de France.

It took four years to complete the Tower, and was finally inaugurated in 1973.

3. The Montparnasse Tower Was Strongly Criticized by Parisians

Just like with the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Pyramid , Tour Montparnasse’s design and imposing measures were strongly criticized by Parisians.

While the Eiffel Tower and the Glass Pyramid eventually became the most popular landmarks in the city and Parisians fully embraced the Eiffel Tower as the ultimate symbol of their city, the resentment toward the Tour Montparnasse never went away, and it still isn’t liked by Parisians.

The Parisians were so unhappy that the city of Paris passed a law banning further buildings over seven stories tall in the historical center of Paris to prevent such a fiasco from happening again.

4. The Tour Montparnasse Was Voted the Second Ugliest Building in the World

In 2008,  the travel website named Virtual Tourist , rest in peace, organized a competition amongst its readers to choose the World’s Ugliest Buildings, and the Montparnasse Tower was voted second!

Only the Boston City Hall , a Brutalist building in Boston, was voted uglier, an honor that we are not sure their cities are proud of.

5. The Montparnasse Tower Offers the Best View of Paris

what is tour montparnasse used for

While everybody agrees the Montparnasse Tower offers one of the best views of Paris , we say it simply offers the best! While the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, and the Sacré-Coeur, provide a great view, you can’t escape the giant Montparnasse Tower in the distance. Ironically, the Montparnasse Tower view is the best because it’s the only vantage point in the city where you don’t see the Tour Montparnasse.

From 210 meters above ground, admire one of the best Eiffel Tower views , Montmartre, the Louvre, the Invalides, and even see beyond Paris.

In clear weather, the view extends up to 40 kilometers from the Yvelines to Charles-de-Gaulle and Orly Airports and the Eastern suburbs of Val de Marne and Seine-et-Marne. From the Observation Deck, one can often see planes taking off and landing at Orly Airport!

what is tour montparnasse used for

6. The Montparnasse Tower Restaurant is the Highest in Europe

On floor 56, visitors will also find the Montparnasse Tower restaurant, Le Ciel de Paris , which is the highest restaurant in Europe!

Le Ciel de Paris welcomes guests every day until 11.30 pm and provides fine dining with 360° vistas of the city and all its monuments.

Because of its unobstructed views of the Eiffel Tower, Le Ciel de Paris is one of the most coveted places to see the fireworks on the 14th of July (France’s National Day) . Book well in advance!

7. The Tour Montparnasse Was Paris’ Tallest Building in France for Nearly 40 Years!

From its construction in 1973 until 2011, the Tour Montparnasse (210 meters tall) was Paris’ tallest building and also the tallest building in France.

In 2011 however, the massive Tour First was remodeled, adding to its height and surpassing the Montparnasse Tower as the tallest in France. Located in La Défense business district, just outside Paris, the Tour First stands today at 231 meters, just 21 meters taller than Montparnasse Tower. This difference was enough to land it the title of the tallest building in France.

8. The Tour Montparnasse Was Free-Scaled in 2015

In 2015 Alain Robert, also known as “the French Spider-Man,” climbed the Montparnasse Tower without a harness or ropes in less than an hour. During his climb, he wore the Nepalese flag to bring awareness to human rights violations in this country.

As you can imagine, the Paris police were waiting for Mr. Robert on the top of the Tower with a red carpet, and he was arrested as soon as he reached the top.

9. It took 3 Years to Remove a Substance that Causes Cancer from the Tower

In 2005, a study concluded that the Montparnasse Tower contained 20 times the legal limit of asbestos material, a substance considered to be a carcinogen.

This resulted in some companies who rented office space at the Tower leaving it.

Removal of the asbestos started in the year 2009 and ended three years later. Surprisingly, the Tour Montparnasse continued to operate normally during this time.

10. A Place of Numerous Events

During summer in Paris , the Montparnasse Tower hosts a variety of events on the Observation Deck. Some of the events in the Tower are yoga, exercise classes, and live musical performances. There is also an outdoor bar, which offers a lovely chance to relax with your head in the clouds…

11. Home to the Highest Skate Rink in Paris

Believe it or not, but in winter, you can skate at the Tower’s open terrace – the highest skating rink in Paris!

For the last four years, a 30m2 ice rink made of synthetic material was installed at the top of the Montparnasse Tower at an altitude of 210m. The event welcome more than 30,000 people each year, both Parisians and tourists from all over the world, who could enjoy the joys of ice skating with unobstructed views of Paris

The highest ice rink in Paris was to return to the top of the Montparnasse Tower for a fifth edition in February-March 2023. However, “reasons beyond its control” prompted the Paris Montparnasse Observatory to cancel the event last minute. Let’s hope the Tower’s skate rink will be back in 2024!

What to Do Near the Montparnasse Tower, Paris?

  • Montparnasse Cemetery
  • Catacombs of Paris
  • Parc Montsouris
  • Carrières des Capucins
  • Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain

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About WORLD IN PARIS

Quirky parisian explorer with a preference for lesser-known sights, i am continuously looking for new ideas and tips to bring you the best of the city of light read more about me ., i am elisa, the travel blogger behind world in paris. quirky explorer with a preference for the local side of my city and its lesser-known sights, i am continuously looking for new ideas to enjoy the best of paris & around . do you want to go beyond the louvre museum or the eiffel tower keep clicking for first-hand information & my best tips learn more.

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Visit the Montparnasse Tower: A Panoramic Glimpse of Paris

Visit the Montparnasse Tower: A Panoramic Glimpse of Paris

Today, I'm taking you on a tour of the Tour Montparnasse (Montparnasse Tower) and its breathtaking view of Paris. A skyscraper in the heart of one the capital's bustling districts, it offers a 360° view of the city, almost, thanks to a panoramic observatory situated around 656 feet above sea level.

Is it worth the trip? What's the history of this building and how will it undergo significant change in the upcoming years? Which landmarks can you spot when at the top? Let's delve into its history and gather some practical advice if you wish to visit: ticket prices, opening hours, access, and more.

The (controversial) construction of the Tour Montparnasse

Ascending the tour montparnasse, visiting the tour montparnasse: practical information, five things to know about the montparnasse tower.

Even today, the Montparnasse Tower stands as a debated addition to the Paris skyline... but opposition was even more pronounced when it was first constructed! A quick historical overview:

In the 1930s, the area faced challenges. The Montparnasse train station was becoming insufficient for the growing number of passengers, and many buildings in the district were in dire straits. This prompted authorities to reimagine the district's layout.

As with many grand projects, it took time to secure the ideal architects and plans. The more spacious Montparnasse station, familiar to us today, was eventually reconstructed in the late 1960s. During this period, André Malraux, the renowned writer and then-minister, greenlit the project to construct a skyscraper beside the new station.

Plans soon included a shopping mall at the tower's base to rejuvenate the district further. However, many found the tower's imposing height contentious. This tall structure "disrupted" the traditional Parisian skyline with its dark glass and concrete facade.

The Montparnasse Tower in Paris viewed from the Arc de Triomphe

Despite criticisms, the Tour Montparnasse reached impressive elevations. Construction spanned just over 3 years, including deep foundations (230 feet), a sturdy framework of 56 reinforced concrete pillars, and special accommodations for the metro line running below. Ultimately, the 59-story building ascended to approximately 686 feet. The grand opening was on June 18, 1973.

Decades later, some critics remain vocal, even if the tower has earned its place in Paris. In 2008, it was unfortunately dubbed the second ugliest building globally, following Boston's City Hall. It also ranks as France's second-tallest skyscraper, next to the Tour First in the La Défense business district.

A new face for Tour Montparnasse

The building's future looks promising as efforts are made to endear it to Parisians. A proposal by the Nouvelle AOM architectural collective was recently approved to renovate the Tour Montparnasse , ensuring it melds seamlessly with the city.

The transformative vision includes:

  • ... enhancing its green credentials with a hanging garden and an additional floor designated for an agricultural greenhouse;
  • ... modernizing it for today's environmental challenges , incorporating photovoltaic panels, rainwater harvesting, and energy-efficient windows;
  • ... refreshing its aesthetic to dispel its current grim reputation, favoring transparent glazing.

Although the renovations have been postponed, primarily due to asbestos removal needs, this project promises to reshape the Tour Montparnasse's image for years to come.

Whether you appreciate the architecture or not, one thing's undeniable: the vista from the pinnacle is a must-see! It's also a unique chance to marvel at a bird's-eye view of Paris, including the Eiffel Tower. From the Tour Montparnasse's rooftop, it takes center stage.

The Eiffel Tower and La Défense as seen from the Tour Montparnasse

Presently, the edifice functions primarily as an office building , so not all floors are open to the public.

However, for visitors eager to reach the summit, there's the elevator. The tower boasts 25 elevators, but the one destined for tourists is special—it travels directly from the ground to the 56th floor without stopping. It's swift, and you might even feel a slight pressure change during the ascent!

Its speed was curtailed in 2009 (from approximately 20 ft/s to roughly 16.5 ft/s). In a mere 38 seconds, you can ascend the tower's 56 stories. This rapid journey concludes at the Tour Montparnasse's panoramic observatory , which showcases a splendid Parisian panorama.

The Panoramic Observatory

The viewing space spans two levels:

  • The 56th floor is indoors (cozy during winter) and includes amenities like a café, fine dining restaurant, boutique, restrooms, and interactive displays. This level is wheelchair accessible;
  • The 59th floor , accessible by stairs, is an outdoor terrace. Spanning roughly 8,600 square feet, it presents an aerial view of Paris from a height of 656 feet. On a clear day, you can gaze as far as 25 miles. During summer, a rooftop bar provides the perfect spot to watch the sunset while sipping a beverage.

The 57th and 58th floors remain closed to the public.

For visitors in 2023, the terrace was inaccessible for 3 months due to the termination of the operating lease by the condominium association. After a legal challenge, the premises were permitted to reopen on July 14, 2023.

Here, the space on the 56th floor:

On the 56th floor of the Tour Montparnasse

And next, the terrace:

Rooftop of the Tour Montparnasse

It's encircled by glass panels to deter any tragic incidents, and some gaps are left open for photography. There are also spyglasses available to magnify specific details of the cityscape.

View of Paris from the Montparnasse Tower

So, what can you see? The tower provides an all-encompassing view of the city. Whether you visit during the day, night, or at sunset, each moment offers distinct contrasts and colors, providing opportunities to identify notable landmarks.

Here’s the Alexandre III Bridge, with the Grand Palais looming just behind:

Pont Alexandre III and Grand Palais

Far off, you can spot Mont Valérien in Suresnes, a significant historical and commemorative site:

Mont Valérien in Suresnes

There are the eye-catching matte-gold domes of the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Trinity , standing distinct amidst the more typical Parisian rooftops:

Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Cathedral

Observe the Basilique Sainte-Clotilde and, right behind it, the Assemblée Nationale (national assembly):

Basilique Sainte-Clotilde and Assemblée Nationale

Spot the church of Saint-Augustin , with the Concorde obelisk and the Hôtel de Crillon making a grand appearance up front:

Concorde and Saint-Augustin church

The iconic Arc de Triomphe , appearing subtly amid the urban sprawl:

The Arc de Triomphe from the Tour Montparnasse

Here, the elevated section of the metro line 6 stands out, accompanied by the green expanse of the Avenue de Suffren:

The Paris metro

Take a gander at the Parc André-Citroën with its soaring hot-air balloon, the Ballon de Paris. Beyond that, you can spot the "Ici c'est Paris" signs of the Parc des Princes , the iconic home of football club Paris Saint-Germain:

Parc André-Citroën and Parc des Princes

Laid before you is the Necker-Enfants malades hospital , a premier institution in Europe for pediatric and adolescent care:

Necker Hospital, a European benchmark

The unmistakable Paris Observatory , can be identified by its bright white dome:

Paris Observatory

I also recommend visiting The Pantheon for the stunning views it provides of Paris when its dome is open, typically from April to October.

The Pantheon

At the Montparnasse Cemetery , you'll find the resting places of renowned figures such as Serge Gainsbourg, Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre, André Citroën (the namesake of the car brand), Alain Resnais, Philippe Noiret, Serge Reggiani, journalist Yves Mourousi, Maurice Pialat, Jean Poiret, and many more.

Montparnasse Cemetery

Don't miss the Jardin du Luxembourg and Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral , which is currently undergoing reconstruction!

Jardin du Luxembourg and Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral

I captured a photo of the cathedral at sunset a few years back, showcasing its original spire.

Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral

You can also spot the Church of Saint-Sulpice :

The church of Saint-Sulpice

Be sure to also see the Tour Saint Jacques and the Centre Pompidou, two other landmarks in Paris.

Tour Saint Jacques and Centre Pompidou

The Tuileries Garden and a section of the Louvre Museum (with the Louvre pyramid obscured from view)

Louvre Museum and Tuileries Garden

The hill of Montmartre and the Basilica of the Sacré-Coeur . Just beyond, the silhouette of the Stade de France aligns with it.

Montmartre Hill

The rooftops of the Paris Opera House , and in the foreground, Place Vendôme with its iconic column.

Paris Opera House

The gleaming dome of the Hôtel des Invalides.

Hôtel des Invalides

And, unmistakably, the Eiffel Tower and Trocadero with the La Défense business district rising in the distance.

Eiffel Tower, Trocadero, and La Défense

At sunset, the landscape is imbued with a magical aura.

The Champ-de-Mars, the Eiffel Tower, and La Défense during sunset

There's a wealth to witness. I could continue for hours, but I trust you grasp the essence: from the top of the Tour Montparnasse , nearly every iconic monument in Paris is visible. It’s an opportunity to explore the city's intricate architecture in detail — churches, distinguished structures, institutions, universities, schools. Essentially, the rich heritage of the city unfolds before you, much like an open-air museum!

Where is the Tour Montparnasse located?

The tower stands on the esplanade across from the Montparnasse train station in Paris, at 33 Avenue du Maine in the 15th arrondissement. The entrance to the "Top of the City" panoramic observatory is to the left of the building as you come out of the station.

After a security screening, you'll be directed to the elevators. So, there's no chance of getting lost!

Ticket Prices for the Top

You can reserve a ticket online in advance for $20 (or £15) per adult. Keep in mind that purchasing tickets on-site at the ticket counter will be pricier, with a $1.20 (or £0.90) surcharge added to the ticket price.

Children aged 4 to 11 can enjoy a 50% discount, while young adults aged 12 to 17 and students aged 18 to 25 are eligible for a reduced rate. Children under the age of 3 are admitted free of charge.

Overall, it's a fair price, especially considering you can stay as long as you wish!

Operating Hours of the Tower

From April 1 to September 30 , the Tower is open daily from 9:30 am and until 11:30 pm.

From October 1 to March 31 , the Tower welcomes visitors every day from 9:30 a.m., until 10:30 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday, and until 11 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, the eve of public holidays and public holidays.

These extended opening hours enable visitors to enjoy the view over Paris day and night, and to witness some splendid sunsets.

View from the Montparnasse Tower in Paris

Restaurants and cafés at Tour Montparnasse

The Tour Montparnasse boasts multiple dining venues:

  • A rooftop bar situated at the building's summit, operational solely during the spring and summer months;
  • 360 Café, positioned on the 56th floor, which remains open each day until 10pm;
  • Ciel de Paris, a restaurant located on the 56th floor, features exquisite culinary offerings. Feel free to browse their menu here . Among the available options is the "Grand Ecran" menu that assures a seating by a bay window, barring special event nights. Furthermore, there's a brunch/tea room package available, perfect for an affordable yet delightful experience.

A word to the wise: ensure you're adequately dressed for the cold when visiting the observatory, especially if coming during seasons other than summer. The outdoor viewing deck often encounters breezy conditions. You wouldn't want the chilly temperatures to dampen your experience!

Notre-Dame Cathedral viewed from the Tour Montparnasse

How many levels does the Tour Montparnasse comprise? It stands tall with a total of 59 levels, of which the 56th and 59th levels serve as the panoramic observatory open to visitors.

What is the Tour Montparnasse's height? The height ranges between 686-689 feet, varying based on the information source.

Who is credited with constructing the Tour Montparnasse? The Agence pour l'Opération Maine Montparnasse (AOM) managed its construction. This agency incorporated architects such as Eugène Beaudoin, Urbain Cassan, Louis de Hoÿm de Marien, and Jean Saubot.

What is the primary function of the Tour Montparnasse? While the majority of its space serves as office areas, tourists can also relish expansive views of Paris from the designated observation zones.

How much time should one allocate for a Tour Montparnasse visit? The duration is subjective to individual preferences like taking numerous photographs or indulging in a drink atop. Nevertheless, plan to spend a minimum of one hour on the premises.

Marlène Viancin

Hello! On this blog, I share my photos, insights, and travel tips from journeys in France and around the world. I launched this blog in French in 2014 and began translating some articles into English in late 2022. I have a special passion for solo travel! In March 2023, I was blessed with my son James, and I've already begun introducing him to the joys of traveling as a solo mom with a baby.

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Is It Worth Visiting the Tour Montparnasse? Our Opinion

Museums are not your cup of tea? Do you prefer outdoor visits? If this is the case, look no further, the Tour Montparnasse is for you. An amazing view, sunsets to die for… Here is our opinion on the tallest tower in the French capital .

Tour Montparnasse

Our opinion

What we liked.

  • The stunning 360-degree view of Paris which enables you to admire its most beautiful monuments.
  • The best view of the Eiffel Tower in all of Paris.
  • The day and night access to admire sunsets and Paris by night
  • The panoramic terrace
  • All the interactive kiosks that make the visit more lively.

What we didn’t like as much

  • Tickets are a bit expensive.
  • There are too many people; especially at certain times.

What is the Tour Montparnasse?

A little bit of history.

The Tour Montparnasse was built between 1969 and 1973 as the result of an urban project. it is located in the Necker district, on the East side of the 15th arrondissement.

At that time, it was considered as a colossal construction and was sharply criticised. This 150,000 ton skyscraper was built on a site consisting of limestone, chalk and clay – a very risky project!

After a long period of doubt, André Malraux (a former French Minister of Information and Cultural Affairs) finally granted the planning permission for the Tour Montparnasse.

When it first opened in 1973, this 210-meter-high building became the tallest office building in all Europe. It maintained its position for nearly 20 years.

59 floors, 25 lifts, 7,200 windows, a surface area of 90,000 m² … Impressive, isn’t it ?

If you are interested in the history of the Tour Montparnasse, here is a video explaining its construction.

The Tour Montparnasse Nowadays

Tous Montparnasse nowadays

The Tour Montparnasse is 210 meters high (or 209, sources differ) and is the tallest skyscraper within Paris itself. Its lift is the fastest in all Europe -it only takes 38 seconds to go to the 56th floor, an average speed of 5 meters per second!

It is an office building but several floors are opened to visitors. You can go up to the 56th and the 59th floors to enjoy a 360-degree view of the City of Lights and its most beautiful monuments.

The 56th floor is enclosed and glazed. There are lots of interactive kiosks, a café and a souvenir shop.

The 59th floor is an outdoor, panoramic terrace. In good weather, you can enjoy a view of over 40 km!

How to Get to the Tour Montparnasse ?

It is located at 33 Avenue du Maine, in the Necker district in the 15th arrondissement.

If you want to get there by underground: take line 4, 6, 12 or 13 and get off at Montparnasse – Bienvenüe.

If you want to get there by bus: lines 28, 58, 82, 89, 91, 92, 94, 95 and 96 have bus stops near the Tour Montparnasse.

Visiting the Tour Montparnasse

Practical information, opening hours.

From April to September – everyday from 9:30am to 11:30pm.

From October to March – everyday from 9:30am to 10:30pm.

The last admission is  30 minutes before the tower closes.

Recommended times

Of course, there are more people visiting the Tour Montparnasse during weekends, bank holidays and school holidays.

There are usually more visitors between 11am and 3pm and after 6pm as people come to see the sunset.

sunset view from tour montparnasse

For a normal ticket:

  • Adults : 18€
  • Young people (12-18) and students : 15€
  • Children from 4 to 11: 9.50€
  • Person with reduced mobility : 7.50€
  • The ticket is free for children under 4.

Buy your tickets here .

For a day and night ticket (valid 48 hours for two visits):

  • Adults : 20 €
  • Young people (16 – 20) and students: 16 €
  • Children from 7 to 15: 12,50 €
  • The ticket is free for children under 7.

We recommend you to buy the day and night ticket so you can come twice -once during the daytime and once during the night and enjoy the lights of Paris.

You can buy your tickets directly on the website of Tour Montparnasse . It is strongly recommended!

Additional Information

Children are very welcome to the Tour Montparnasse. The interactive kiosks and the virtual reality panoramas of the 56th floor will win their heart.

It is possible to eat there (see below).

Buy your ticket and take the fastest lift in all Europe … it will take you up to the 56th floor in just 38 seconds!

Panoramic observatory

This floor is an enclosed panoramic observatory. This modern floor is completely glazed and allows you to enjoy a 360-degree view of Paris. It is the perfect spot to enjoy a beautiful view of the Eiffel Tower and other Parisian monuments. You will find lots of installations to help you understand the history of the tower – kiosks, interactive panoramas, historical photo exhibitions. There is also a café and a souvenir shop.

Make the most of it and then climb a few steps and go to the 59th floor.

Terrace

This outdoor, panoramic terrace has a surface area of 800m². From there, you will enjoy one of the best views of the French capital. Make the most of the bar and the view from the highest rooftop in Paris.

Our Recommendations

This visit can last from 30 minutes to 2 hours -it depends on how many other visitors there are and on how long you want to stay there. Note that your tickets don’t have a time limit -you can enjoy the view as long as you want to!

Don’t go there on cold or windy days -there is a lot of wind on the terrace and you could be cold.

Access for People with Reduced Mobility

People with reduced mobility can access the 56th floor but sadly the can’t access the panoramic terrace of the 59th floor as to get there, it is necessary to climb stairs (three floors).

Luggage Restrictions

Unfortunately, you can’t visit the Tour Montparnasse with big luggage.

We recommend you to give them at the left luggage located 17 Boulevard Vaugirard , in the Montparnasse train station (an eleven-minute walk from the Tour Montparnasse).

For 24 hours, you will have to pay 5.50 euros for a small locker, 7.50 euros for a medium one and 9.5. euros for a big one.

Good Addresses Near the Tour Montparnasse

Our restaurant recommendations.

We strongly recommend you try the 360 café, the famous café located on the 56th floor of the Tour Montparnasse. Hot drinks, sandwiches, breakfasts etc… are all served with a stunning view.

Price range:

-Caesar salad: 11 euros

-Sandwich:  6.20 euros

-Breakfast (hot drink, fruit juice, three small viennoiseries):  7 euros

-Crepe or waffle with Nutella: 4 euros

Address: 56th floor of the Tour Montparnasse, 33 Avenue du Maine, 75015 Paris France

How to get there? Underground line 4, 6, 12 or 13 (Montparnasse – Bienvenüe).

Bus line 28, 58, 82, 89, 91, 92, 94, 95 or 96.

Phone number: 01 40 64 77 64

Ratings: -Tripadvisor: 3.5/5

In this pizzeria located in the Montparnasse district , they serve delicious food at affordable prices.

There is even a small terrace if you want to enjoy your pizza in a quiet place.

The staff is friendly and the service is quick.

Price range: 12.50 euros for a lunch menu.

Opening hours: Everyday – from noon to 2:30pm and from 7pm to 11pm.

Address: 1 Impasse de la Gaîté, 75014 Paris France (a four-minute walk from the Tour Montparnasse).

How to get there? Underground line 6 (Edgar Quinet).

Phone number: 01 43 20 96 34

Ratings: -Google: 4.5/5

This modern brasserie is the perfect place to eat after your visit of the Tour Montparnasse.

On the menu, tags explain the composition of each dish, so you already have all the details you need to make your choice!

Roast chicken, marinated salmon, croque monsieur … You will have the choice.

Price range: Lunch menu between 14 euros and 17 euros.

Opening hours: Monday to Friday – 7am to midnight.

Saturday and Sunday – 8am to midnight.

Address: 33 boulevard Edgar Quinet 75014 Paris France (a one-minute walk from the Tour Montparnasse).

How to get there? Underground line 6 (Edgar Quinet or Montparnasse – Bienvenüe).

Phone number: 01 72 38 58 92

Ratings: -Google: 4/5

Other Places to Visit in the Same Area

Musée bourdelle.

Antoine Bourdelle was a famous French sculptor born in the 1860s. The flat and gardens where he used to live have been transformed into a museum.

This studio-museum is the perfect place to admire the work of this man who was Rodin’s pupil and assistant.

Price: Free.

Opening hours: Everyday from 10am to 6pm.

Address: 18 Rue Antoine Bourdelle, 75015 Paris France

How to get there? Underground line 12 (Falguière).

From the Tour Montparnasse: a seven-minute walk

Jardins du Luxembourg

Located at the border between the Saint Germain-des-Prés district and the Latin Quarter , these gardens are the perfect place to relax and enjoy the few Parisian rays of sunshine.

Take a walk to the North of the gardens to admire the Palais du Luxembourg, where the French Senate is.

Opening hours:

The opening hours change with daylight period.

The gardens open between 7:30am and 8:15am and close between 4:30pm and 9:30pm.

For more information, visit this website . (website in French).

Address: 15 Rue Vaugirard, 75291 Paris France

How to get there? RER line B (Luxembourg).

From the Tour Montparnasse: bus line 89 (16 minutes).

Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain

It is an exhibition center and a place where artists can create and meet their public -conferences; concerts and shows are organized there.

Full price: 7.50 euros

Reduced price (for students, people under 25, seniors (over 65), job seekers and people receiving minimum social benefits, people from the Maison des artistes, partner institutions and the Ministry of culture): 5 euros

Free for people under 18 on Wednesdays from 2pm to 6pm.

Opening hours: Closed on Mondays.

Tuesdays – from 11am to 10pm.

Wednesday to Sunday – from 11am to 8pm.

Address: 26 Boulevard Raspail, 75014 Paris France

How to get there? Underground line 4 or 6 (Raspail).

From the Tour Montparnasse: a thirteen-minute walk.

Sunset

Even though it is a bit expensive, we strongly recommend you to visit the Tour Montparnasse.

It is worth going there for the view (especially of the Eiffel Tower) and we are sure you can’t find better spot for sunsets in all Paris.

Are you still hesitating? Admire this video of a sunset from the Tour Montparnasse.

Mona

I aim to share my tips and recommendations for the beautiful country of France. My goal is to help you plan your next adventure, whether it’s a weekend getaway or a once-in-a-lifetime trip. From finding the best hotels and restaurants, to discovering unique activities and sights, I’ve got you covered!

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What is the Tour Montparnasse in Paris?

Tour Montparnasse looking up

The Tour Montparnasse 210-metre-high observation deck which is located in Paris’s only skyscraper, which offers panoramic views of the city.

View from Tour Montparnasse viewing deck

Montparnasse Tower, constructed in the mid-20th century, is Paris’s only skyscraper. Its 210-metre-high observation deck offers tourists and locals the best viewpoint from which to admire the ‘City of Light’, especially the Eiffel Tower.

View of Eiffel Tower from Tour Montparnasse

The lifts will fly you to the building’s peak in just 38 seconds (or five metres per second), from where you can enjoy a sweeping panoramic view of the city and its most iconic monuments .

Tour Montparnasse in the Paris skyline

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10 Interesting Facts About Montparnasse Tower

By: Author Christine Rogador

Posted on Published: October 14, 2022  - Last updated: January 6, 2023

Do you want to know some interesting facts about Montparnasse Tower in Paris?

Commonly called Tour Montparnasse or Montparnasse Tower, the 689-foot (210 meters) office skyscraper in Paris is named Tour Maine-Montparnasse – or Maine-Montparnasse Tower – in full.

Named after Montparnasse, the area in the city where it is located, in the 15th Arrondissement of Paris, the tower is one of the most peculiar landmarks in the French capital.

While Paris is home to plenty of architectural wonders such as Eiffel Tower , the Louvre , and Notre-Dame , la Tour Montparnasse is easily one of the city’s most distinguishable buildings and certainly a unique part of the Paris skyline.

Montparnasse Tower is also among the most popular, attracting some 1.2 million visitors every year.

This legendary Parisian tower was designed by architects Louis Hoym de Marien, Urbain Cassan, and Eugène Beaudouin, with help of Jean Saubot.

The structure weighs some 130,000 tons and has a total of 7,200 windows, with 6 underground levels and foundations that are 70 meters deep.

Read on to learn more interesting facts about this odd Parisian structure that provides some of the most amazing views of Paris.

Things you'll find in this article

Interesting Facts About Montparnasse Tower

1. montparnasse tower was built on top of a train station., 2. montparnasse tower is the first and oldest skyscraper in paris., 3. montparnasse tower was the tallest skyscraper in france until 2011., 4. montparnasse tower is currently the third-tallest building in france., 5. montparnasse tower was deemed so ugly that, for decades, the city of paris banned any further buildings above seven storeys., 6. montparnasse tower was voted second in the list of “the world’s top 10 ugliest buildings and monuments” in 2008., 7. montparnasse tower was climbed three times with only hands and feet – and no safety devices., 8. a famous fine-dining restaurant is located on one of montparnasse tower’s top floors., 9. montparnasse tower offers 360-degree panoramic view of paris., 10. montparnasse tower was contaminated with asbestos – and it took three years to remove it..

what is tour montparnasse used for

Let’s jump into our list of 20 facts about Montparnasse Tower that make this Parisian building so interesting.

The history of Montparnasse Tower goes back to 1934, when the French railway company SNCF determined that the Gare Montparnasse railway station was no longer satisfactory.

Twenty-five years later, the reconstruction of the metro station resulted in a major urban renewal project. It was decided that the said station would be relocated and the now-vacant land would be repurposed. This land became the site of the legendary Montparnasse Tower that we know today.

Montparnasse Tower was built from 1969 to 1973, making it the oldest skyscraper in Paris. It was inaugurated in June of 1973, becoming the first ever building this tall in the French capital.

Since its completion in 1973, Montparnasse Tower was the tallest skyscraper in the country until the 758-foot Tour First broke this record in 2011 – after over 40 years.

However, the 59-storey Montparnasse Tower remains the tallest structure in the French capital outside of the La Défense business district (where Tour First is located).

what is tour montparnasse used for

At 689 feet (210 meters), Montparnasse Tower comes in third place in the list of France’s tallest buildings.

Tour Hekla (built in 2022) at 722 feet (220 meters) comes in second place and Tour First (built in 2011) emerges on top of the list at 758 feet (231 meters). These two are both located in La Défense, in the west of the city limits of Paris.

Although impressive at just about 100 meters shorter than the Eiffel Tower, Montparnasse Tower’s black appearance and its modern look are said to be out of place in Paris’ urban landscape.

This created such an uproar when the tower was first completed, with people hating it and calling it the ugliest building in Paris. The city was pressured to prohibit any further buildings that have over seven floors.

This law was approved just 2 years after the tower’s completion, banning buildings taller than 7 storeys within the historical center of Paris. It was only a few years ago that they lifted the said ban for neighborhoods outside the city center.

Today, even after over 4 decades, this sentiment has never gone away completely.

In 2008, Montparnasse Tower was in second place – next to the Boston City Hall in Boston, Massachusetts, USA – in the list of “The World’s Top 10 Ugliest Buildings and Monuments.” This is according to both the readers and editors of the now-defunct Virtual Tourist website.

The LuckyShoe Monument in Tuuri, Finland, came in third place.

The first feat took place in 1995 and was repeated in 2015 by the same person – French urban climber Alain Robert, nicknamed “the French Spider-Man” or the “Human Spider” for obvious reasons. Without safety devices of any kind, Robert reached the top of the tower by scaling its exterior glass and steel wall.

This was also achieved in 2020 by Marcin Banot, a climber from Poland.

what is tour montparnasse used for

Aptly named and no doubt one of the most famous restaurants in Paris , le Ciel de Paris – Sky of Paris – not only serves refined French luxury cuisine but provides its guests with sweeping views of the city as well.

Le Ciel de Paris is decked in an organic, ethereal décor and located high on the Montparnasse Tower’s 56th floor.

If you’re craving for some foie gras or caviar in the French capital, first consider the Sky of Paris. Because what could be better than enjoying exquisite food with a stunning view of Paris skyline (including the Eiffel Tower)? Le Ciel de Paris is also the best place to go for a cocktail or two.

Said to be the only place where you can see the true colors of the French capital, getting on the viewing deck of Montparnasse Tower allows you to really see just how big Paris’ monuments and parks are. You can also see just how big the city is when on top of the tower.

This is possible because the observation deck is right on the roof of the tower, not to mention its central location that provides some really astonishing views that are not possible in most places in Paris.

From up the Montparnasse Tower, you can see as far as the Stade de France which is situated behind the Montmartre Hill and the Sacré-Coeur . You can see up to 40 km. far in all directions if you happen to be on the tower’s viewing deck on a clear day. By night, Montparnasse Tower allows you to have the best possible view of the Eiffel Tower that sparkles with flashing lights every hour.

If you want to see everything in Paris from one single spot, the Montparnasse Tower Panoramic Observation Deck is the place to be.

It was discovered in 2005 that Montparnasse Tower contained asbestos material, a chemical that can cause cancer when inhaled. It was revealed that legal limits of asbestos fibers per liter in Montparnasse Tower were surpassed, reaching 20 times the legal limit on at least one occasion. This resulted in some tenants abandoning their offices in the tower.

The removal of asbestos was started in 2009 and ended in 2012, when the building was declared 90% clear of asbestos. During these three years, the building continued to operate as usual – something that was considered remarkable.

Christine Rogador in the Louvre

Hi, I’m Christine – a full-time traveler and career woman. Although I’m from the Philippines, my location independent career took me to over 40 countries and lived in 4 continents in the last 10 years, including France. A self-proclaimed Francophile, I love everything France.

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Discover the stunning view from Tour Montparnasse

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Last Updated:  17 April 2024

The Tour Montparnasse (Montparnasse Tower) is a high-rise building overlooking the district of Montparnasse in the 15th arrondissement and borders the 6th and 14th arrondissements. Its panoramic terrace offers one of the most beautiful views over Paris .

Description of Tour Montparnasse

The Tour Montparnasse was inaugurated in 1973 and was France’s tallest skyscraper until 2011 when the Tour First in La Défense was completed.

The tower was designed by architects Eugène Beaudouin, Urbain Cassan and Louis Hoym de Marien and built from 1969 to 1972 by Campenon Bernard on the site of the former Montparnasse railway station. Its base is an almond shape of 50 m by 32 m.

The presence of the tower in central Paris has been very controversial since its construction and has been criticised for being at odds with Paris’ skyline. Following its inauguration, the municipality ruled it impossible for buildings over seven floors high to be built in the centre of Paris (“intra-muros”).

Today, the Tour Montparnasse has become a true Parisian landmark with over 5,000 people working in the offices located in the tower.

At the foot of the tower, there is a vast shopping mall and a busy metro station connected to the Gare Montparnasse where trains head off to the French Atlantic Coast and Spain.

Dimensions of the tower

The Tour Montparnasse is one of France’s tallest skyscrapers and, as of June 2021, is ranked the 13th tallest building in the European Union.

In France, the tower is the country’s second tallest building:

  • Tour First ( La Défense ): 231 m (Antenna spire)
  • Tour Montparnasse (Paris): 210 m (Roof terrace)
  • and Tour Total ( La Défense ): 190 m

In the near future, two planned towers will overtake the height of the Tour Montparnasse:

– the two Hermitage Plaza Towers ( La Défense ): 323 m (2025?)

Fun facts about the Montparnasse Tower

  • The tower has a total of 7,200 windows,
  • The structure weighs 130,000 tons,
  • There are 6 underground levels,
  • Its foundations are 70 metres deep.

The Panoramic Terraces of Tour Montparnasse

The visit of Tour Montparnasse may seem odd when suggested to tourists but the magnificent view from the top is one of Paris’ most impressive panoramas and attracts 1,2 million visitors each year. Visitors access the 56th floor with one of Europe’s fastest lifts.

The 56th floor

The 56th floor , called the “Panoramic Floor”, allows the visitor to admire the breathtaking view protected from the wind and rain. The space is heated in the winter and air-conditioned in the summer. It is accessible from the bottom floor of the tower by one of the fastest lifts in Europe (38 seconds at speeds reaching 60km per hour). The floor features interactive terminals and quizzes on Paris, a photographic exhibition on Paris, a souvenir shop and a café.

The 59th floor

The 59th floor is actually the outdoor roof terrace which, at 210 metres high, offers a breathtaking 360-degree view of Paris. In clear weather, the view extends up to 40 kilometres from the Yvelines to Charles-de-Gaulle and Orly airports and the Eastern suburbs of Val de Marne and Seine-et-Marne.

The 59th floor is only accessible by stairs from the 56th floor.

The terrace has telescopes and interesting orientation tables that help locate the famous monuments and landmarks of Paris.

In 2011, the terrace was entirely renovated with curved panes of glass surrounding the viewing point.

Get your tickets to the tower’s terrace!

Get your Tour de Montparnasse tickets for 360° views over the City of Lights!

With these tickets, get an amazing view of Paris that includes the Eiffel Tower and many of the city’s other top landmarks.

Day Panoramic View

The panoramic view from the roof-top terrace of the Tour Montparnasse stretches over 40 km. Most of Paris’ famous monuments and landmarks can be seen from there:

The Eiffel Tower

The great perspective leading to the Grande Arche of La Défense through the École Militaire, the Champ de Mars, the Eiffel Tower , and the Trocadéro.

The curved Unesco headquarters can also be seen to the left of the École Militaire.

The Invalids

The gilded dome of the Church at the Invalides looks like a gem in the sky of Paris…

The view reaches the Esplanade des Invalides, the Pont Alexandre III and the Petit and Grand Palais .

To the right lies the Garden of the Champs-Élysées and then the Place de la Concorde .

The Arc de Triomphe

The view of the Louvre reveals how large the palace is! It extends onwards with the famous Tuileries Garden . Behind, on top of the Montmartre Hill , a sunbeam lights up the white façade of the Sacré-Cœur basilica .

A closer look at the Samaritaine department store:

The Opéra Garnier, just above the Tuileries Garden:

Saint-Germain-des-Prés

The neighbourhood of Saint-Germain-des-Prés is clearly recognisable thanks to the old bell tower of the church.

The Rue de Rennes looks like it cut Paris in half, leading to the Seine:

To the right of the rue de Rennes stands the Saint-Sulpice church:

The Luxembourg Palace

To the North-East, the view shows the Luxembourg Garden in the foreground along with the Luxembourg Palace.

Notre-Dame de Paris and Ile de la Cité

Behind lies Île de la Cité with Notre Dame de Paris . In the distance can be seen the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall of Paris).

The central districts of Paris

The latin quarter.

You’ll get a great view of the Pantheon, the Sorbonne and the Latin Quarter, particularly in the afternoon.

South-East of Paris

The view reveals the Val de Grace, Paris Observatory, the 13th arrondissement and, beyond these, the Bois de Vincennes.

The view extends beyond the hill of Montmartre with the basilica of Saint-Denis, the Stade de France, the airports of Le Bourget and Charles de Gaulle. In the far distance, you can also see the countryside!

And street life in the Montparnasse district…

From the top of the tower, the Montparnasse cemetery reveals its great size.

The railway lines that start from the Montparnasse Train Station lead to the French Atlantic Coast (Brittany, Poitou-Charentes, Pays de la Loire, Aquitaine) and Spain.

The aerial part of métro line 6:

The stunning rooftops of Paris in the 7th arrondissement:

The view offers amazing sights of street life in Paris (here Boulevard du Montparnasse and Boulevard de Port-Royal)

Night Panoramic View

Visiting the roof-terrace of the Tour Montparnasse at sunset offers one of the most enchanting views over the City of Light. Little by little, the lights are lit, revealing the famous monuments of Paris.

One of the best spots to enjoy the Eiffel Tower glittering is from the top terrace of the Montparnasse Tower, aligned perfectly with the Eiffel Tower, with the skyline of La Défense in the background. The “light show” takes place every hour for ‘5 minutes précieuses’ from nightfall until 1.00 am, on the hour.

The gilded Dôme des Invalides is lit up like a gem, and behind it stretches the vast esplanade that leads to Pont Alexandre III:

At Christmas time, you can clearly see the Big Wheel at the Tuileries and Place de la Concorde, in between the two dark areas of the Champs-Élysées and the Tuileries Gardens.

The length of Rue de Rennes winds its way through the 6th arrondissement leading to the Church of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. To the right, the St. Sulpice Church reveals its classical façade.

The Louvre  is seen in its entirety surmounted by the Montmartre Hill  and the Sacré-Cœur basilica .

Check out blogger Mark Wyld’s article on Montparnasse Tower. His post is illustrated with many of his photos taken from the top terrace!

English-French Vocabulary

(f) for  féminin , (m) for  masculin and (v) for verbs

  • building = immeuble (m)
  • to inaugurate = inaugurer (v)
  • intra-muros = within the city limits of Paris
  • lift = ascenseur (m)
  • office building = immeuble de bureau (m)
  • orientation table = table d’orientation (f)
  • panoramic terrace = terrasse panoramique (f)
  • railway station = gare ferroviaire (f)
  • shopping mall = centre commercial (m)
  • to show = montrer (v)
  • skyscraper = gratte-ciel (m)
  • stair = escalier (m)
  • to stretch = s’étendre (v)
  • terrace = terrasse (f)
  • tower = tour (f)
  • view = vue (f)
  • viewing point = point de vue (m)

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About the author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. He has a background teaching French, Economics and Current Affairs, and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations, and a degree of Economics and Management. Pierre is the author of Discovery Courses and books about France.

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Agree entirely! The Montparnasse Tower is an ugly blot on the landscape, but the views from the top of the tower are magnificent. I look forward to returning one day.

And make sure you climb on a sunny afternoon (the best time of the day to see all of central and eastern Paris!)

These are wonderful photos, Pierre – thank you! I always say the best thing about the Tour Montparnasse is being in it so you can’t see it! I’m going to choose a clear day when I’m in Paris to go to the top.

Merci Ellen – and choose a sunny afternoon to have the central and eastern districts of Paris in plain sight (not against-the-light)! 🙂

I’ve been there, once at day- and once at nighttime. Indeed very beautiful.

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24 PLACES TO SEE IN FRANCE

what is tour montparnasse used for

A Full Guide to the Montparnasse Neighborhood in Paris

Last Updated on January 25, 2024

A view of Montparasse Tower, from Montparnasse Cemetery during the spring. Courtney Traub/All rights reserved.

Bold modernity & artistic history galore

One of the most interesting and vibrant of Paris’ diverse neighborhoods , Montparnasse is also soaked in literary and artistic history. Dominated by the boldly modern Montparnasse Tower– the capital’s only real skyscraper– the area’s bustling boulevards are populated by cafés and brasseries where famous Parisian artists, writers, poets, musicians and performers gathered and exchanged ideas, particularly prior to World War II.

Today, it’s a little sleepier than during its heyday, but still has plenty to offer culturally curious visitors, from art and architecture to theatre, markets, pedestrian streets that reveal their village roots, parks and restaurants. Keep reading to learn what to do on your next visit in the area, and for a bit of history.

Explore This Article

Orientation and Transport

Montparnasse is situated on the left bank of the Seine in the 14th arrondissement of Paris . It is located due south from Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the Jardin du Luxembourg, and just southwest from the Latin Quarter. The Denfert-Rochereau area, often considered a separate micro-district, stretches across the southwestern edge of greater Montparnasse.

{ Quiz: Are You More Right-Bank or Left-Bank Paris?  }

Main streets :  These include Boulevard de Montparnasse, Rue de Montparnasse, Rue de Rennes, Rue de l’Arrivée, Rue de la Gaîté, Boulevard Raspail, Place Denfert-Rochereau and Rue Daguerre.

Getting There:  The district can be reached from the Metro stations Montparnasse, Vavin, Edgar Quinet, Gaîté-Josephine Baker or Denfert-Rochereau. It’s also a major national rail hub, with the enormous Gare Montparnasse station shuttling trains to and from regions and major cities including Brittany, Rennes, Bordeaux and Toulouse.

A Bit of Neighborhood History

Amedeo Modigliani, Pablo Picasso and André Salmon in front the Café de la Rotonde, Paris. Image taken by Jean Cocteau in Montparnasse, Paris in 1916. Public domain/Wikimedia Commons

As mentioned above, Montparnasse is best-known for being an artistic hotbed in the late 19th and 20th century– but its status as a place where writers, artists and various performers assembled and created their works goes back even further.

While Montparnasse was incorporated into Paris rather early– sometime in the 18th century, by most accounts– its borders have always been curiously ill-defined, as the historian Eric Hazan notes in his brilliant book The Invention of Paris . It was only in the 1830s that it began to be truly urbanized in places, notably along the Rue de Montparnasse and the Rue Notre-Dame des Champs.

But as Hazan notes, much of the quarter retained a rural character for decades thereafter, with muddy, unpaved roads, and fields, windmills and “guingettes “(musical cafés and restaurants) scattered around its raggedy borders.

It might, in this sense, be compared to Montmartre, which shares a considerable legacy as a place of intense creation (and also of rural activity prior to being incorporated into Paris).

The neighborhood, which was once hilly and dubbed “Mount Parnassus” after the mountain in Greek mythology, was transformed considerably in the 18th century when the famous Boulevard de Montparnasse was constructed. Dance halls, cabarets and theatres sprung up in the area from the Revolutionary period.

The district is perhaps most noteworthy for the artistic heavyweights– from painters to novelists, sculptors to performers– it attracted in various waves over the years. During the 19th century, French writer Victor Hugo lived in the area with his wife, Adèle.

In the early 20th century, cheap rents and inexpensive restaurants attracted painters, poets, and other artists to the area, many of whom lived in dilapidated residences such as “La Ruche”.

A historic photo of "La Ruche" Residence in Montparnasse, author and date unknown/Wilkimedia Commons

Italian-born painter Amedeo Modigliani, poets Guillaume Apollinaire and Blaise Cendrars, Marc Chagall, sculptor Constantin Brancusi and Belarusian expressionist painter Chaïm Soutine were among the many noteworthy artists and writers to live at the residence, which remains open and stages a number of exhibitions each year.

During the post World War I period and the “Roaring ’20s”, Montparnasse became even more sought-after by the creative class, with artists from Pablo Picasso, Henri Rousseau, Nina Hamnett, Salvador Dalí and Diego Rivera, writers such as Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce and Samuel Beckett, and performers including Josephine Baker gathering in the district to share ideas, dance and (often) heavily drink.

{Related: Walking in the Footsteps of Josephine Baker in Paris}

The famed Boulevard Montparnasse cafés clustered around the Vavin metro stop, La Coupole, la Rotonde, Le Dôme, Le Select and La Closerie des Lilas, were popular with these and less well-known artists and writers for their inexpensive fare and grandiose interiors. They remain an important part of the neighborhood’s fabric, though they’ve obviously become rather “touristy” in recent decades.

During this period, Montparnasse was also the site of a large and thriving American community of “expatriates” and artists. One publishing house established in the area by Harry Crosby and his wife Caresse, the Black Sun Press, published novels and other works from soon-to-be-famous authors including Hemingway, John Dos Passos, Dorothy Parker, D.H. Lawrence, James Joyce and many others.

Literary magazines and other small presses also thrived in the area. Photographer Man Ray set up his first studio in the area at 15, Rue Delambre; now-iconic figures such as Gertrude Stein and Jean Cocteau posed for portraits there.

Meanwhile, the nearby Rue de la Gäité was a thriving center for the performing arts, where Parisian cabarets, music halls, and theatre populaire (working-class theatre) drew crowds late into the evening.

The Bobino hosted a legendary final performance from Jospephine Baker in 1975. Its doors remain open to this day, under the name Bobin’o (20 Rue de la Gäité).

What to See & Do in Montparnasse: Museums & Other Key Attractions

Montparnasse Tower and Metro stop in Paris/r.g.-s/Some rights reserved under Creative Commons license.

The sprawling district doesn’t have as many “big-ticket” tourist attractions as neighboring Saint-Germain and the Latin Quarter, but you’re guaranteed a culturally enriching experience if you concentrate your time on some of the following sights, from modern art and sculpture museums to quiet places that reveal the neighborhood’s history as an artistic and cultural powerhouse.

La Tour Montparnasse

Panoramic views from Montparnasse Tower, Paris/Pixabay

Built in 1973 (and maligned by most Parisians ever since as an eyesore), La Tour Montparnasse is the only true skyscraper within the city limits, rising 210 metres high and comprising 59 floors, plus six more situated underground.

Unless you’re a big fan of 1970s corporate architecture, the real attraction isn’t the looming tower itself, but its panoramic viewpoints on the 56th and 59th floors.

Take one of the tower’s 25 elevators (you heard me correctly!) to zip upwards at heart-fluttering speeds to the 56th-floor panoramic viewing deck. Unfortunately for visitors with limited mobility, you can only take stairs from here to the top floor and its second deck.

From the heights of the tower you can take in huge swathes of the capital, including the Eiffel Tower, Sacré Coeur, Notre-Dame Cathedral, Seine River, Latin Quarter and more.

You can buy tickets for Montparnasse Tower here (via Tiqets.com).

Montparnasse Cemetery

Paris' Montparnasse Cemetery is a lovely place to stroll and contemplate. Image: Courtney Traub/All rights reserved

One of the loveliest places in the area to stroll and ponder life’s fleeting beauty is Montparnasse Cemetery, one of the city’s largest and most-visited. Famous denizens who now call the leafy, flower-lined cemetery their permanent place of rest include Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir (who share adjoining graves), the playwright Samuel Beckett (whose last home was just south of the cemetery), French writer Guy de Maupaussant and American critic and essayist Susan Sontag.

Especially in the spring and summer, the cemetery is a surprisingly joyful place for an after-lunch amble– and it can be amusing to try to find the graves of various heroes hidden somewhere in the tree-lined lanes.

The Paris Catacombs

what is tour montparnasse used for

Heading down to the Denfert-Rochereau Metro stop, the entrance to the Paris Catacombs is just outside the metro exit. This fascinating underground kingdom of human skulls, femurs and other bones– counting in the millions– was built starting in the 18th centuries, when overflowing cemeteries in central Paris were exhumed for hygienic reasons; the remains were neatly stacked in miles of underground limestone quarries.

what is tour montparnasse used for

The effect is fascinating and chilling. Visiting the Catacombs is less horrific than you might imagine– the trip through the narrow, low-ceilinged passageways stretch for about a mile and are only genuinely scary (in my opinion, at least)if you’re claustrophobic.

But the encounter with millions of anonymous, deceased Parisians is certainly a memorable one, not least because the remains are in many places accompanied by poems and notable quotations about death and mortality.

Buy skip-the-line tickets and audioguide for the Catacombs here (via Tiqets.com). You can also book a combined ticket that gives you access to both the Catacombs and Montparnasse Tower (via Tiqets).

Museums of Note in the Area

what is tour montparnasse used for

There are several interesting museums in Montparnasse, chief of which is the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain (pictured above). With its striking glass facade from architect Jean Nouvel, the Fondation is one of the best places in the city to see exhibitions on contemporary art, genres and artists. It also boasts a lush garden with enormous trees and a green wall.

At the western end of Montparnasse, the Musée Bourdelle is a small, charming museum and studio dedicated to the work of French sculptor Antoine Bourdelle. It’s also entirely free– one of several city-run museums in the capital that charge nothing for entry.

The former studio of sculptor Antoine Bourdelle/courtesy of the Musée Bourdelle

Last but not least, the Musée Zadkine is another small (and free) museum dedicated to a prominent 20th-century sculptor, the Russian-born cubist master Ossip Zadkine. It was here that Zadkine and his wife lived and worked for over 40 years, and the “studio-museum” offers a fascinating glimpse into the artist’s life and work.

what is tour montparnasse used for

It’s situated at the northeastern border of Montparnasse (technically in the 6th arrondissement), but the recently-renovated museum is well worth a visit, especially if you’re interested in modern sculpture.

Academie de la Grande Chaumière

A drawing class at the Academie. Courtesy of same

One of the more interesting places in Montparnasse that carries on the legacy of the area’s vibrant artistic history is the Academie de la Grande Chaumière , comprising an academy and studio spaces in service of aspiring and contemporary artists.

Nestled on an unassuming side street adjacent to Boulevard de Montparnasse (and right next to a branch of the famed Sennelier Frères art supply stores, the Academie was opened in 1870 by a Swiss patron of the arts named Martha Stettler.

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, artists including Amedeo Modigliani, the aforementioned Ossip Zadkine, and Tamara de Lempicka occupied studios and/or taught here.

Academie de la Grande Chaumière, Paris, Montparnasse. Courtney Traub/All rights reserved

Today, the existence of the historic Academie is under constant threat, but the neighborhood is fighting to preserve the precious space. It can only be visited upon appointment or by those who have booked classes or studio time here; see more in my full guide.

Shopping, Wandering & Entertainment in Montparnasse

"Rue De La Gaite, Montparnasse - Graffiti" by mykaul is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

There’s no shortage of places to wander, shop and entertain oneself in halfway-cozy, halfway urban and bustling Montparnasse. Here are just a few ideas for the flâneur or flâneuse (cool urban stroller) in you…

Boulevard de Montparnasse

what is tour montparnasse used for

Boulevard de Montparnasse is the place to stroll and linger for legendary cafés, brasseries , cinemas and traditional shops. The Boulevard houses several of the neighborhood’s most iconic cafés (see more on some of them below under “Eating and Drinking”), including Le Select (#99 Boulevard de Montparnasse), La Coupole (#102, just across the street), La Rotonde (#105) Le Dôme (#108), and La Closerie des Lilas further up towards the edge of the Latin Quarter, at #171).

La Coupole brasserie in Paris, France, Montparnasse, facade

As detailed above in the neighborhood history section, these cafés have been the stuff of literary and artistic legend for over a century. Make sure to take some time to at least sip a coffee or nurse a drink at one of them– people-watching out on the terrace not de rigueur, but recommended.

The wide Boulevard, which stretches all the way from Metro Montparnasse-Bienvenue to Vavin and the Port-Royal RER station to the southeast, is also home to cinemas including the beloved indie moviehouses Les 7 Parnassiens (#98) and Le Bretagne (#73).

Finally, you’ll find global stores and French fashion boutiques such as Lacoste, C&A and more at the Montparnasse Rive Gauche Shopping Mall (10 Rue du Départ, at the angle of Boulevard Montparnasse).

Rue de la Gaité

The Montparnasse district is filled with old theatres such as this one. Wikimedia Commons

The lively Rue de la Gaité (Metro: Gaite-Josephine Baker) is a narrow street and micro-district that’s long been the site of popular theatres and dance halls in the area, as well as restaurants and cafes.

Venues such as the Théâtre Montparnasse (31 rue de la Gaité) and Théâtre de la Gaité-Montparnasse ( #26) have been operating for decades here, and the old-world vibe is still appreciable. Take a stroll down Rue de la Gaité to browse its shops, loaf in its cafés and take in a spirit that feels close to timeless.

Finally, pop into Bobin’o (#20), a historic musical theatre where countless legendary performers have taken to the stage– from Edith Piaf to Jacques Brel and Amy Winehouse.

Rue Daguerre

"Rue Daguerre, Montparnasse, Paris" by hortulus is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Just off the bustling Place Denfert Rochereau, crowned by its handsome lion statue from famed sculptor Frédéric Bartholdi, Rue Daguerre suddenly plunges you into a village-like atmosphere. Its sidewalk cafe terraces, artisan shops, and neighborhood shopkeepers who’ve been in the area for decades reveal a different side of “greater Montparnasse”: one that’s a bit more intimate and quiet.

Browse the shops and stalls from the permanent market vendors, and have lunch or a coffee at one of the many cafés that line the street, which was recently reserved for pedestrians.

While the area has gentrified significantly in recent years, it’s the heart of a traditional working-class and immigrant community that was venerated by filmmaker (and former resident) Agnès Varda in the documentaries “ Daguerréotypes ” and “ The Beaches of Agnès ” (both highly recommended).

Where to Eat & Drink in Montparnasse

Britchi Mirela/Creative Commons 3.0 license

The area is teeming with restaurants, cafes, brasseries and casual dining options, so you’ll have no lack of choice if you want to duck in spontaneously for lunch or dinner, or book in advance (recommended for some of the more popular places). I’ve made just a few suggestions for good places to eat in Montparnasse below, but you can find many more at sites like The Fork and Time Out .

Classic Montparnasse Brasseries

A classic shellfish platter at La Coupole, Paris/Courtesy of same

For traditional French brasserie dishes such as gigantic fresh shellfish platters, steak-frites, roasted duck, sole meunière, escargots, chocolate mousse and other typical fare, head to the aforementioned classic brasseries clustered mostly on Boulevard de Montparnasse– each with their own particular histories and charm.

At La Coupole (see my full review) , sit in the period dining room with its distinctive painted pillars, perhaps sitting at one of the tables where luminaries such as Josephine Baker and Albert Camus once gathered, dined and discussed. Or head across the street to Le Select, enjoying a casual lunch outside on the iconic terrace with its green and gold signage. The fixed-price menu is quite reasonable at this brasserie frequented by the likes of Picasso, Chagall, and Hemingway. Whisky fans can choose from a selection of 50 different varieties.

See above for more details on the area’s beloved and history-drenched brasseries– all of which are worth dining at for their legacies, even if the food is rarely extraordinary.

Bréton-style Crepes and Galettes

A cheese and egg galette (savory pancake) at Le Petit Plougastel, Paris/Courtesy of same

As I note in my complete guide to the best creperies in Paris , many of the places to beeline to in the capital for Bréton-style savory galettes (pancakes) and sweet crepes are in Montparnasse. Perhaps owing in part to the fact that trains regularly depart for and arrive from Brittany at the rail station here, many good creperies have cropped up in the area.

Two of my favorites are Creperie Ti Jos (see my full review) and Creperie Plougastel (47 Rue de Montparnasse) , both of which offer inexpensive but delicious fare, including a good selection of Brittany ciders– as well as some truly tempting dessert crepes.

A dish at Montée/TheFork.fr

For a special occasion like an anniversary dinner or birthday, gourmets should aim to book a table at Montée , a creative table helmed by Japanese chef Takayuki Nameura. The menu blends Japanese and French culinary traditions to superb effect, and you should consider the lunch and dinner tasting menus for the full experience. Prices are (at the time this went to press) quite reasonable for a Parisian restaurant of this caliber, too.

what is tour montparnasse used for

Interestingly, one of the other superb fine-dining tables in the Montparnasse area (this time closer to Denfert-Rochereau) is also headed by a talented and innovative Japanese chef, Michihiro Kigawa. At his eponymous restaurant, fresh, locally sourced market ingredients are put to beautiful use in dishes that re-imagine classic French gastronomy for more contemporary palates.

The fixed-price lunch menu offers excellent value and includes two starters, a main course and a dessert. The five-course lunch tasting menu is also very reasonably priced, and the six-course Chef’s dinner tasting menu is one to try if you’re hoping to sample the full range of Kigawa’s talents.

You can see more on the seasonal menus, dishes and info on booking a table here, at the official website.

Where to Stay in Montparnasse?

Finding the right hotel or other accommodations is a highly personal matter, so we don’t typically recommend a generic list of hotels. See our guide to finding the right hotel or apartment rental in Paris , and browse available places to stay by exploring the clickable map below (via Stay22).

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what to see and do in Montparnasse, Paris?

Editor’s note: This article contains a few affiliate links. While they have not influenced the objectivity of the advice offered here, booking hotels or tours through these comes at no additional cost to you– but does help to fund more free, in-depth features like this one at Paris Unlocked. Thank you.

Courtney Traub

Courtney Traub is the Founder and Editor of Paris Unlocked. She’s a longtime Paris resident who now divides her time (as well as she can manage) between the French capital and Norwich, UK. Co-author of the 2012 Michelin Green Guide to Northern France & the Paris Region, she has been interviewed as an expert on Paris and France by the BBC, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Le Figaro, Matador Network and other publications. Courtney has also written and reported stories for media outlets including Radio France Internationale, The Christian Science Monitor, Women’s Wear Daily and The Associated Press. In addition to going down various rabbit holes of curiosity when it comes to French culture, history, food and art, Courtney is a scholar of literature and cultural history whose essays and reviews have appeared in various forums.

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The Tour Montparnasse Has the Best Views in Paris

The Tour Montparnasse Has the Best Views in Paris

Sometimes I need a little divergence from street photography and my regular “Paris Vignettes.” Recently as I walked to the Bourdelle museum after the Sunday get-together at La Coupole with Terrance Gelenter, I passed the massive Tour Montparnasse and while looking up I thought, “today is a perfect day to go to the top after 25+ years of regularly visiting Paris.” A bit expensive at 21 euros, it is worth doing, especially after morning rains have cleared the sky and fluffy clouds are dotting the horizon.

I found the correct entrance, took the elevator to the indoor area on the 56th floor in 38 seconds, paid my fee and the climbed the last three flights of stairs to the observation deck. Leaving the last step, you are overwhelmed with the unobstructed view of Paris. A very well designed deck with glass wind protectors that have slices in them where you can snap clear photos. On top of that there are chairs to sit back and relax and absorb the beauty.

Looking around, you start to identify all the famous landmarks like Montmartre, the Tuileries, Invalides, the nearby Montparnasse cemetery, above ground metro lines, the Grand and Petit Palais, but the most striking is the view of the Eiffel Tower punctuating the skyline. It made me want to return one day for some night photos!

Practical Information

Cost: 21 euros (though varies on time of year) Hours: From April 1st to September 30th, 9:30 am to 11:30 pm 360 Café is open all year round along with a gift shop

More details at: https://www.tourmontparnasse56.com/en/

what is tour montparnasse used for

Tour Montparnasse .Photo credit: William O’Such

what is tour montparnasse used for

Top of Tour Montparnasse. Photo credit: William O’Such

what is tour montparnasse used for

View of Montmartre from Tour Montparnasse. Photo credit: William O’Such

what is tour montparnasse used for

View of trains from Tour Montparnasse. Photo Credit: William O’Such

what is tour montparnasse used for

View of the Jardin des Tuileries from Tour Montparnasse. Photo credit: William O’Such

what is tour montparnasse used for

View of Samaritaine from Tour Montparnasse. Photo Credit: William O’Such

what is tour montparnasse used for

View of Invalides from Tour Montparnasse. Photo credit: William O’Such

what is tour montparnasse used for

View of Cimetière Montparnasse from Tour Montparnasse. Photo credit: William O’Such

what is tour montparnasse used for

Le Metro as seen from Tour Montparnasse. Photo credit: William O’Such

what is tour montparnasse used for

Jardin du Luxembourg. Photo Credit: William O’Such

what is tour montparnasse used for

Les Palais as seen from Tour Montparnasse. Photo credit: William O’Such

what is tour montparnasse used for

Rue de Rivoli. Photo credit: William O’Such

what is tour montparnasse used for

Aerial view of buildings near Montparnasse. Photo credit: William O’Such

Lead photo credit : Eiffel Tower. Photo: William O'Such

More in Eiffel Tower views in Paris , Montparnasse , Paris Vignettes , where to take photos in Paris

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William was introduced to silver halide photography by his father, Chester J. O’Such, via the family’s Ansco reflex camera and home darkroom. After college, William worked as a photographic engineer at Eastman Kodak, where he began to learn the art of photography. With his first SLR, a Canon AE-1, he photographed his inaugural voyage to Paris in 1982. This early spark turned into full passion when William became a Kodak expatriate in Paris from 1995-99. Before returning to the USA, William and his future wife Ineke bought an apartment in the Marais district. Inspired by Bresson, William continues to visit Paris at least twice a year to wander the streets, camera in hand, looking for the next vignette. His photos are available for sale by visiting www.osuchphotography.com

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This project will be renovated in 2024 and replaced by Tour Montparnasse (Renovation)

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  • Montparnasse Tower Visitor Guide + Tips

By: Author Emily

Posted on Last updated: November 27, 2023

For some of the very best views of Paris, make your way to the top of the one and only skyscraper in the city, Montparnasse Tower. In this post, we’ll explain the basics of visiting this observation deck, share the views you can expect to see and then wrap up with our overall thoughts on this experience compared to others in Paris.

Ready? Let’s head to the top of Montparnasse Tower.

what is tour montparnasse used for

What is Montparnasse Tower?

Standing at 689 feet, Montparnasse Tower is the tallest building in Paris, France. It’s the second tallest structure in Paris after the Eiffel Tower. The building is primarily used as an office building, but has some commercial storefronts and an observation deck on the 56th floor.

Montparnasse Tower stands out against the Paris skyline like a sore thumb, because it’s the only skyscraper in all of Paris. The people of Paris hated it so much that two years after it was constructed in 1973, the city of Paris banned all buildings over 121 feet. (In 2010, the policy was revised to allow buildings as high as 590 feet in some areas, but none have since been built.)

While Montparnasse Tower might not be the most beautiful building to look at in Paris, it just might be the place for the best view  of Paris.

what is tour montparnasse used for

The lone skyscraper in Paris, Montparnasse Tower, stands out on the Paris skyline. (As seen here from the Eiffel Tower.)

Where is Montparnasse Tower?

Montparnasse Tower is located in the Montparnasse neighborhood in the 14th arrondissement of Paris. The building’s address is 33 Av. du Maine, 75015 Paris, France .

You can get to Montparnasse Tower on public transportation from the Montparnasse train stop, which serves the 4, 6, 12 and 13 Metro lines. You can also walk to Montparnasse Tower from Luxembourg Gardens, which is about 15 minutes away (less than 1 mile).

Can you go to the top of Montparnasse Tower?

Yes! There is an observation deck on the 56th floor of Montparnasse Tower and an open air roof deck on the 59th floor. There is an elevator to the 56th floor, but the rooftop terrace on the 59th floor is only accessible by stairs.

what is tour montparnasse used for

What can you see from the top of Montparnasse Tower?

Everything. You can see all of Paris from the observation deck at Montparnasse Tower. Expect views of Paris’ top attractions like the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Sacré-Cœur at the top of Montmartre, Notre Dame and more. You can see the tree-lined streets and green gardens and peep the closest skyscrapers just outside the city limits in La Défense.

Montparnasse Tower offers the highest views of Paris with the Eiffel Tower in the sightline. While you might be able to get better views of Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower , if you want the best views of the Eiffel Tower you can’t beat Montparnasse Tower.

what is tour montparnasse used for

How much does Montparnasse Tower cost?

A ticket to the top of Montparnasse Tower is pretty reasonably priced relative to other popular Paris tourist attractions. There are two main ticket options and neither costs more than 25€ (as of 2022).

A standard ticket to the top of Montparnasse Tower includes one visit to the observation deck. You can stay as long as you like and may freely move between the indoor space and the rooftop terrace. At the time this post was published, the exact ticket prices are as follows:

  • Adults : 20€ (19€ if purchased online in advance)
  • Youth (12-17) and students : 15€
  • Children (4-11) : 8€
  • Young Children (under 4) : free (ticket required)

You can also pre-purchase a drink (beer or Champagne) with a standard ticket when you buy online in advance. This ticket option will save you 1€ on beer or 3€ on Champagne compared to purchasing the items separately on site.

The Night and Day ticket gives you the chance to visit the observation deck twice, ideally once during the day and again at night. This ticket is valid for two entries within a 48-hour period. The clock starts when you use your ticket to enter the first time.

The day/night visiting times are recommended, but not at all required or enforced. Your two visits can be at any time during a 48 hour period, so you could visit twice at night or twice during the day if you preferred.

At the time this post was published, the Night and Day ticket prices are as follows:

  • Adults : 25€
  • Youth (12-17) and students : 19€
  • Children (4-11) : 12€

How to buy Montparnasse Tower Tickets

You can buy tickets to the Montparnasse Tower observation deck online in advance or onsite at the ticket office.

If you buy your ticket online in advance, you will save 1€ for adult and youth standard tickets. It will also save you time as you can skip the queue at the ticket office and go straight in. Tickets do not typically sell out at Montparnasse Tower, but in the rare case they do, an online ticket will guarantee your entry. Mobile tickets can be scanned from your phone and do not need to be printed.

You can also purchase tickets onsite at Montparnasse Tower. The ticket office is located on the 56th floor.

When you approach the building from the northwest side, follow signs to the observation deck. You will go through security and will then be directed to the elevator to the top. After you get off the elevator, there will be an entrance for ticket holders and a queue for the ticket office.

what is tour montparnasse used for

When is the best time to visit Montparnasse Tower?

Montparnasse Tower is open everyday from 9:30 AM to 11:30 PM. The only exception is Bastille Day (July 14th) when the tower closes early (usually 6 PM) for a ticketed event.

This means that you can see Paris from Montparnasse Tower by day or night. In daylight you’ll be able to spot all of your favorite landmarks in detail and by night you can see the City of Lights earn its name, including a stunning view of the twinkling Eiffel Tower.

what is tour montparnasse used for

You can’t go wrong with either and the Night and Day ticket option allows you to visit twice and see the view at both times. However, if you’re interested in both views, we recommend going at sunset instead.

The best time to go to Montparnasse Tower is about one hour before sunset. Grab a drink from the open-air rooftop bar and watch the sun set over Paris. You will save a few bucks just buying a standard ticket, and you won’t have to make the trek out to the building twice.

We also suggest visiting Montparnasse Tower during the summer. The rooftop terrace is open all year, but can be quite windy. That makes it quite cold in cooler seasons, but helps keep it very pleasant in the summer. Even during a heat wave, with the breeze and the shade, we found the terrace to be quite comfortable in the summer.

what is tour montparnasse used for

Things to do at Montparnasse Tower

It’s easy to spend a couple hours at Montparnasse Tower.

The views are the main attraction and there are two levels see them. The indoor observation deck is on the 56th floor and is served by direct elevator access. The observation deck covers most of the floor so you can look out to Paris from all angles.

what is tour montparnasse used for

Inside there is a gift shop and a small cafe. There are some posted placards with information about the city, but for a completely interactive virtual tour you’ll want to download the free Magnicity app. There is also free wifi available.

The real highlight of Montparnasse Tower is the outdoor observation deck on the rooftop. You need to take three flights of stairs to get to the rooftop, and unfortunately there is not an elevator. The rooftop terrace is included with admission, and you don’t want to miss it.

what is tour montparnasse used for

There are seasonal activities on the Montparnasse Tower roof deck. In the winter time, they have an entire skating rink up there. In the summer, there are games, photo ops, yoga events and more.

A portion of the roof deck is shaded, which is nice in the hot summer. There’s a rooftop bar that serves beer and champagne, and there’s plenty of seating.

what is tour montparnasse used for

There’s also a fine dining restaurant at Montparnasse Tower, Le Ciel de Paris, that boasts the title of highest panoramic restaurant in Paris. Reservations are recommend and you can book online here .

Photos at Montparnasse Tower

The rooftop terrace at Montparnasse Tower is open air but enclosed by a metal rail fence and glass panes. The panes are separated in a way that allows you to take photos between the panes. It’s nice to not have glare or fencing in all of your photos of the view.

what is tour montparnasse used for

We’ve been to many skyscraper observation decks, and most of them take some sort of green screen photo that is usually really bad and ridiculously expensive. At Montparnasse Tower, they do things a bit differently and offer photos through a tool called Smiler.

There are dedicated photographers available for quick, no-obligation photoshoots. They snap a handful of photos and take your phone number. They’ll send you a text later that day with a link and you can view your photos. You can buy digital downloads or hard prints if you wish. It’s free to take the photos and there is no obligation to buy.

I really liked my photos but wasn’t sure if I wanted to purchase them all or just one. I ended up putting it off a few days and eventually they sent me a 30% off coupon code. It’s worth giving that a shot if you’re on the fence.

what is tour montparnasse used for

Is Montparnasse Tower worth it?

Yes! Montparnasse Tower was such a great, relaxing way to see Paris from above. The views are incredible, the crowds are light and the price is reasonable. I’d recommend spending an entire evening at Montparnasse watching the sun set and sipping champagne on the rooftop to just about anyone.

what is tour montparnasse used for

Very light crowds at Montparnasse Tower observation deck

Is Montparnasse Tower better than the Eiffel Tower?

This is tough. I came into it expecting to recommend Montparnasse Tower over the Eiffel Tower. That’s how much I loved the Montparnasse Tower rooftop terrace. But then I went to the top of the Eiffel Tower, and there is just something about being at the top of that iconic tower that just hit a special chord.

I’ll say this. If you’re only going to do one observation deck and you have any urge to go to the Eiffel Tower, you should go to the Eiffel Tower. It’s a pain, but if you plan your Eiffel Tower visit well it can be very pleasant. I don’t think you’ll regret it.

But if you don’t have strong feelings about the Eiffel Tower and want the best view the easiest possible way, we’d recommend Montparnasse Tower instead. We went to Paris multiple times before we actually made it to the Eiffel Tower, but I would have visited Montparnasse Tower during those visits if I realized how pleasant it was.

I think the Eiffel Tower is a once-in-a-lifetime thing, while Montparnasse Tower could easily be an every-trip-to-Paris thing.

what is tour montparnasse used for

Tips for Visiting Montparnasse Tower

  • Go before Sunset. We suggest arriving about 1 hour before sunset for the best views of Paris by day and night. You will save some money on the Night & Day ticket, but mostly you’ll save the transit time if you only have to go out to the tower once.
  • Stay for a drink. If you’re looking for drinks with a view, it doesn’t get much better than the Montparnasse roof deck. Grab a beer or glass of Champagne and enjoy it on a lounge chair looking out over the Eiffel Tower. It’s the perfect night out in Paris.
  • Download the interactive app . The interactive Magnicity app is a fun way for you to learn more about the buildings and monuments you see from the top of the tower. You can actually download and use the app anytime, so you can take the view home with you.
  • Snap a few photos with Smiler. If the photographers are out, take them up on their offer to take a few group photos. It just takes a few moments and there is literally no pressure from anyone to buy them. I just did it for research, but loved my photos so much I purchased them all.
  • Take the Metro . There are a few things to do in the Montparnasse neighborhood, but most people won’t be staying in that area. It’s easy to get to the tower via public transit from most anywhere in the city as several Metro lines stop nearby.

what is tour montparnasse used for

Other Great Views of Paris

Paris is not short on places to go for great views. If you’re looking for more beautiful views of the city, these are three of our other favorite spots.

Eiffel Tower

The top of the Eiffel Tower is the highest observation deck in Paris. The views are the best in the city, but unfortunately there’s no view of the Eiffel Tower when you’re on it. While romantic and beautiful, it is known to be quite crowded, summit tickets can sell out and it’s also expensive. So be sure to plan accordingly. (Psst! We have a great Eiffel Tower planning guide if you’re heading that way.)

what is tour montparnasse used for

Arc de Triomphe

If you’re looking for a great view of the Eiffel Tower at a reasonable price, walk on down Champs-Élysées to Arc de Triomphe. It’s lower than other viewpoints, but it’s central location provides an epic view of central Paris, including the Eiffel Tower.

what is tour montparnasse used for

A visit to Paris just isn’t complete without making a journey to Montmarte. Go to see the beautiful Sacré-Cœur, but stay for the sweeping views of Paris from the steps (bonus points if you enjoy the view while eating crepes). The only downside is that the Eiffel Tower is not in the sightline.

what is tour montparnasse used for

That bi building in the distance on the right is Montparnasse Tower

Closing Thoughts

We visited Montparnasse Tower with our toddler and had the best time. It was easy to get to, not crowded and offered some of the best open air (and air conditioned) views of Paris.

We visited during a record heat wave and really wanted something fun indoors. It was a convenient perk that the roof deck was also reasonably cool, especially in the shade. We got to spent time in both areas and it was a fantastic family evening.

That said, I was expected to easily recommend Montparnasse Tower as the definitive alternative to the Eiffel Tower, but after seeing both I’m less confident in that assessment. I loved them both, but they’re very different experiences. Honestly, both are worth a visit if you can swing it.

Have you been to the top of Montparnasse Tower? What was your experience like? Would you recommend it? Let us know in the comments.

what is tour montparnasse used for

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Tuesday 6th of June 2023

Very well written article! Thank you for the crystal clear info 😊 I am going to visit here month end.

View from Montparnasse Tower Paris with the Eiffel Tower in the center of the photo and La Defense visible behind it

How (And Why) to Visit Montparnasse Tower in Paris

This post about visiting Montparnasse Tower in Paris was sponsored by Get Your Guide.

As the tallest building (and only skyscraper) in central Paris, Montparnasse Tower is, if nothing else, absolutely unmistakable.

Stretching 210 meters high and featuring a modern, black exterior that is mostly glass, Montparnasse Tower sticks out like a sore thumb in the Paris skyline and is often derided as the ugliest building in Paris–a pronouncement I simultaneously agree with and feel that our generation should probably hold back judgment on. After all, they once said the same about the Eiffel Tower!

Questionable aesthetics aside, though, the building certainly has its perks for visitors to the City of Lights, the most important of which is the fact that by visiting Montparnasse Tower, you can be treated to one of the absolute best views of Paris.

Here’s what to know about visiting Montparnasse Tower in Paris, from why to go to how to get there.

Table of Contents

A Brief History of Paris’ Montparnasse Tower

What’s the view from montparnasse tower like, how to visit montparnasse tower in paris, how to get to montparnasse tower, what to do after visiting montparnasse tower in paris, hours + essential info for visiting montparnasse tower.

View of Paris skyline on a fall day with Montparnasse Tower Paris in the center background

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Montparnasse Tower may be an extremely modern building by Paris’ standards, but it still has quite the involved history.

The Montparnasse neighborhood and building both take their names from a then-rural hill that once stood in the area, Mount Parnassus, named for the home of the muses in Greek mythology (the hill was razed in 1725, so you won’t see it today).

By the 18th century, the area surrounding what is now Montparnasse Tower began filling up with cabarets, theaters, restaurants, and the artistic clientele who would patronize them, a pattern that continued into the 20th century. Iconic institutions such as the brasseries La Coupole and La Rotonde got their start in the early 20th century and still operate in Montparnasse today.

At the time, the area was outside the city limits of Paris and exempt from certain taxes on things like alcohol, making it an attractive place for people living a bit outside the lines of society (not unlike more-famous Montmartre, which had a similar reputation in the late 19th century to what Montparnasse enjoyed in the 1920s and 1930s).

Lost Generation-era writers such as Oscar Wilde and Ernest Hemingway, among many others, patronized the local businesses through the 1920s.

Sidewalk table at a small restaurant in Paris with 2 chairs visible and menu boards to the side

Once the Great Depression hit, times turned for the Montparnasse neighborhood, and the then-Gare Montparnasse train station needed to be moved–the sight of which would eventually become Montparnasse Tower.

The Montparnasse Tower that visitors can see today was first proposed in 1959 and was swiftly met with vicious opposition from those that proclaimed that the building would ruin Paris’ skyline.

Ten years and many battles later, though, President Georges Pompidou of France approved the building. The president was very interested in modernizing the capital–you might also recognize his name from Centre Pompidou, Paris’ modern art museum.

Construction began on Montparnasse Tower in April 1970, and the building was inaugurated in June 1973.

Despite the modern, office-building feel of the tower itself, the neighborhood of Montparnasse maintains its reputation for cabarets, theaters, bakeries, and restaurants to this day, and it is a lively section of Paris.

Partial view of the Eiffel Tower with Montparnasse Tower in the background

The 360-degree view of Paris that you can enjoy from Montparnasse Tower is simply stunning! 

Paris is famous for its beautiful views of the Eiffel Tower, and Montparnasse Tower boasts what is arguably the best view of the Eiffel Tower in all of Paris, and is located at a perfect angle to snap photos of the Iron Lady.

Many more of Paris’ most distinct buildings are clearly visible as well, including the Panthéon, the Louvre, Notre Dame, Les Invalides, and Sacré-Cœur.

It’s a captivating sight, and well worth a visit.

Les Invalides from above in Paris

If this were a guide to visiting the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe , or even the Paris Catacombs , the step-by-step process for how to visit would be several steps longer.

Since this viewpoint only gets a fraction of the crowds that some of the more popular landmarks in Paris experience, though, visiting Montparnasse Tower is quite simple!

Here’s how to visit:

Book skip-the-line tickets online.

Don’t waste any time in line: book skip-the-line tickets for Montparnasse Tower before even arriving in Paris! 

Since the tower is only open certain days of the week–more on that in a later section–you’ll want to plan when to visit in advance, especially if you only have a few days in the city and need to organize your time carefully.

If you’re planning on hitting up many of the best museums and attractions in Paris, you may also want to consider The Paris Pass , which includes access to Montparnasse Tower among its many benefits.

Buy skip-the-line-tickets for Montparnasse Tower today!

View of Paris skyline from Montparnasse Tower on a cloudy day

Head right up!

The 56th-floor observation deck of Montparnasse Tower is accessed via an elevator that they tout as Europe’s fastest (Panoramapunkt in Berlin would dispute that claim, but the 38-second ride up 200 meters into the sky you experience in Montparnasse Tower is indisputably impressive).

In other words–no slog up 19th-century staircases, which makes visiting Montparnasse Tower decidedly less labor-intensive than some of Paris’ other viewpoints.

From there, you can climb 3 flights of stairs to the 59th-floor rooftop terrace.

Enjoy the view.

In addition to the 56th-floor observation deck and 59th-floor rooftop terrace, Montparnasse Tower is also home to a rooftop bar–so if you’d like to toast an excellent trip to Paris with a glass of champagne overlooking the city, you sure can.

The rooftop terrace plays host to plenty of different special events throughout the year. Many of the additional experiences cost extra, but it’s definitely worth an additional fee to, say, go ice-skating on top of Paris!

A fine-dining, restaurant, Le Ciel de Paris (“The Sky of Paris”), is also located on the 56th floor, and makes a lovely alternative to the restaurants located inside the Eiffel Tower if you’d like to enjoy a special-occasion dinner with a view–after all, at Le Ciel de Paris, you get to watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle as you enjoy your dinner, rather than sit inside it!

Woman in a red jacket looking through a viewing device on Montparnasse Tower Paris France

Montparnasse Tower is easily accessed from the Montparnasse-Bienvenüe metro station. Lines 4, 6, 12, and 13 stop there.

You can also access Montparnasse Tower through Paris’ bus system, or–my favorite option–you can simply walk.

The tower is located a 15-minute walk from the Luxembourg Gardens or a lovely 40-minute stroll from Notre Dame. The route from Notre Dame to Montparnasse Tower passes through Paris’ Latin Quarter and is a fantastic way to experience the city!

Yellow "M" sign denoting the Montparnasse-Bienvenüe metro station in Paris France

After enjoying the magnificent view from Montparnasse Tower, consider sticking around the neighborhood for a bit!

Stroll down the Boulevard du Montparnasse, follow in the footsteps of Lost Generation writers and have lunch at Le Select, La Coupole, or La Rotonde, snap photos of the historic theaters that line Rue de la Gaîté, and see some beautiful sculpture (for free!) in the quiet Musée Bourdelle.

Be sure to also tour the Montparnasse Cemetery, home to several notable graves, including those of Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre, Charles Baudelaire, and Susan Sontag.

From there, head over to the nearby Paris catacombs to get underground and explore one of the most unique attractions in the city (but you’ll definitely need to plan this one at least several days in advance, so have your reservation ready before setting off to visit Montparnasse Tower!).

Stack of bones as seen on a Paris catacombs tour with a memorial plaque in front of them.

Paris’ Montparnasse Tower has its observation deck and rooftop terrace open for visitors from 11:00 AM to 10:30 PM each Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Because of the fact that it is only open for 4 days out of the week, we recommend planning ahead for visiting Montparnasse Tower as you sketch out your trip to Paris .

Unlike many of the best views of Paris, Montparnasse’s 56th-floor observation deck is wheelchair accessible, making it a fantastic viewpoint for travelers who want to experience the Parisian skyline without needing to climb any stairs.

The 59th-floor terrace is accessed by climbing 3 floors of stairs, but the view from the 56th is pretty magnificent all on its own!

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two photos of paris, one of the view from montparnasse tower paris and the second of a woman in a red jacket, black and red text on a white background reads "how to visit paris montparnasse tower"

About Kate Storm

Image of the author, Kate Storm

In May 2016, I left my suburban life in the USA and became a full-time traveler. Since then, I have visited 50+ countries on 5 continents and lived in Portugal, developing a special love of traveling in Europe (especially Italy) along the way. Today, along with my husband Jeremy and dog Ranger, I’m working toward my eventual goal of splitting my life between Europe and the USA.

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  • A Locals Guide To The...

A Local's Guide to the Best Things To Do in Montparnasse

Take a tour of Montparnasse, Paris

Grand brasseries, shady boulevards and offbeat galleries have made Montparnasse a magnet for artists and gourmands since the days of Oscar Wilde and Pablo Picasso. These days, it represents the essence of the Left Bank, and is one of the most laid-back quartiers to explore in Paris.

Paris has plenty of neighbourhoods where you can idle in corner cafés, admire great art and stroll through overgrown cemeteries – but none are quite like Montparnasse. “It’s the traditional Left Bank,” says photographer Becca Gerbino , “an infusion of French culture, art and history. I love shooting here because I am able to capture local and traditional Parisian life.”

You’ll find authentic experiences in spades, perhaps shopping on market streets like rue Daguerre or eating chantilly-smothered crêpes in an institution such as La Crêperie de Josselin. Then there are the cutting-edge installations at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, creepy subterranean experiences at the Catacombes and magnificent city views from the Tour Montparnasse.

1. Catch an exhibition at the Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain

Building, Museum

Fondation Cartier pour lArt Contemporain garden in Paris, France

2. Get in the community spirit at Les Grands Voisins

Bar, Cafe, Restaurant, Beer, Wine

What was once the Saint-Vincent-de-Paul hospital, lying in a no man’s land between Port-Royal and Denfert-Rochereau, is now a creative live-work utopia, thanks to the ambitious vision of Les Grands Voisins. The project is still a work in progress, but 2,000 people – including refugees, artists and craftspeople – are already living and working here. Visitors are welcome to stop by for a coffee (pay it forward and buy one for a neighbour, too), drink at the bar (open evenings from Wednesday to Sunday), or shop in the boutiques and ateliers. The on-site restaurant, L’Oratoire, is a great space to stop for lunch (three courses for €13 (£11.50)), especially in summer, when you can eat at tables in the courtyard.

3. Shop on rue Daguerre, Paris

Fruit for sale at a shop in Paris, France

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4. Take in the view from the Tour Montparnasse

Nothing beats the view of Paris from atop the Montparnasse Tower

5. Pay tribute to great writers at the Cimetière du Montparnasse

Cimetière du Montparnasse

6. Order a new-fashioned cocktail at Rosebud

Bar, Cocktail Bar, French

Rosebud’s white-jacket-clad bartenders have been mixing martinis, manhattans and moscow mules at this old-school, wood-panelled bar for more than 50 years, and it still regularly makes lists of the best bars in the world. This isn’t the kind of place where you come to see and be seen, but to put the world to rights over a quiet cocktail or three. Expect a jazz soundtrack and beautifully made classic drinks. Consider eschewing the traditional old fashioned and order a new fashioned (Peychaud’s Bitters, maraschino and bourbon for €14 (£12.40)) instead.

7. Descend deep into Paris's Catacombes

Catacombs of Paris

8. Check out the theatre scene on rue de la Gaîté

Rue de la Gaîté, Paris

Paris doesn’t have a theatreland equivalent to London’s West End or New York’s Broadway, so theatres are scattered throughout the city. La rue de la Gaîté is one of the few spots where they’re clustered together. This street has been a hub of stagecraft since the 1870s: the music hall stars of the belle époque performed here, as well as legends such as Edith Piaf and Josephine Baker. If you’re not sure about seeing a show in French, check out musical comedies like Tutu and Les Franglaises at Théâtre Bobino.

9. Eat crêpes at the most traditional spot in Paris

Creperie, French, Gluten-free

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips , led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

what is tour montparnasse used for

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Here’s What Cyndi Lauper Must Play on Her ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun Farewell Tour’

The singer is going out with a bang in 2024 — she’s got the concert tour of a lifetime, a new documentary and an immersive stage show.

Edna Gundersen,

Singer Cyndi Lauper wearing a colorful yellow, red and pink outfit that covers her arms along with three toy doll heads attached to her hair

Her true colors? All of them. In a career stretching 47 years, Cyndi Lauper, 70, has taken on pop, punk, dance, funk, blues, country and Broadway . And don’t forget the literal colors, from her shifting Day-Glo hair and kaleidoscopic eyeshadow palette to a vibrant, flamboyant fashion sense that would startle a peacock.

The singer-songwriter is bringing her four-octave vocal range, eccentric style and brash-tawkin’ personality to the road one last time on her “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun Farewell Tour,” a 23-city trek that starts Oct. 18 in Montreal and wraps up Dec. 5 in Chicago . It’s her first major outing since 2016’s “Detour Tour.”

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Lauper will be joined by special guests to be announced later, according to Live Nation. Stay tuned to AARP for updates.

The Brooklyn-born singer is also the subject of Let the Canary Sing , a new documentary streaming on Paramount+. The film traces Lauper’s career from a rebellious, struggling bar singer in Queens to global superstar, MTV darling, committed feminist and tireless activist. It’s directed by Alison Ellwood, 62, who made the music docs Laurel Canyon and The Go-Gos . The title derives from a lawsuit brought against Lauper by a former manager after she left the band Blue Angel. When the judge ruled for Lauper, he pounded his gavel and pronounced, “Let the canary sing.” Legacy Recordings has released a companion album, Let the Canary Sing , available on vinyl and in a digital expanded edition.

Note:   Paramount+ provides a discount to AARP members  and pays AARP a royalty for the use of its intellectual property.

The singer also appears in The Greatest Night in Pop , a documentary on Netflix that revisits the 1985 recording of megahit charity song “We Are the World,” and in this AARP video True Talk With Cyndi Lauper: Don't Listen to the Haters .

And she just sold a majority share of her music to Sweden’s Pophouse Entertainment Group, founded by ABBA singer Björn Ulvaeus, 79. Pophouse created ABBA Voyage , the immersive virtual concert that featured digital avatars subbing for the vocal group onstage. Lauper envisions a less glittery production that replicates New York and focuses on her upbringing with the women that influenced her most: her mother, grandmother and aunt.

But if you want to see the wacky, eclectic songbird in the flesh, the farewell tour is the best bet. Lauper has a deep well of material to draw from: her 11 studio albums, soundtrack contributions, covers and collaborations. Here are a dozen songs on our fantasy set list (and we won’t be surprised if she does a few of them).

‘True Colors’ (1986)

Impassioned vocals, a strong melody and an uplifting message about self-empowerment made this an instant classic and a gay anthem. Written by Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly, the song was rejected by Anne Murray before being sent to Lauper.

‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun’ (1983)

Robert Hazard wrote this song with a randy wink from a male perspective, but Lauper flipped the tone and message, creating a lasting hit that’s both a bubblegum romp and a feminist anthem.

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‘Time After Time’ (1984)

The beautiful, heartfelt ballad and vocal showcase became a Lauper signature and a ubiquitous love song deployed in movies and TV . Lauper wrote the song with Rob Hyman of the Hooters when both were having difficulties with their romantic partners.

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‘I Drove All Night’ (1989)

This pining, passionate ballad, driven by Lauper’s mature, confident vocal, scored a Grammy nomination. Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly wrote the song for Roy Orbison, who recorded it in 1987, the year before he died, but his version stayed in the vault until 1992.

‘Money Changes Everything’ (1984)

Lauper pulls out the stops with a no-frills, strapping vocal on a hard rocker that decries the ways money poisons relationships. The song was originally released by Atlanta rock band the Brains and written by its front man, Tom Gray, in 1978, but Lauper’s hit eclipsed it artistically and commercially.

‘She Bop’ (1984)

The joyful, zany pop tune about female self-pleasure sparked controversy and landed on the “Filthy Fifteen” list compiled by the Parents Music Resource Center, whose efforts led to the imposition of Parental Advisory stickers on recordings.

‘All Through the Night’ (1984)

Lauper put her stamp on the Jules Shear love song, turning his folkier original into a robust, electronics-pumped vehicle that flaunted her vocal range without sacrificing the romantic ballad’s bittersweetness.

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‘Sally’s Pigeons’ (1993)

Lauper, who cowrote this song in 1991 with Mary Chapin Carpenter, 66, based the tragic narrative on a childhood friend who died after having a back-alley abortion in her teens. A new version was released in 2022 after the repeal of Roe v. Wade.

‘I’m Gonna Be Strong’ (1995)

Lauper belts this wrenching ballad with gusto, drama and all the hurt the lyrics demand. She first recorded it in 1980 as a member of Blue Angel, but the tune has a longer history. Written by Barry Mann, 85, and Cynthia Weil, it was initially recorded by Frankie Laine in 1963 and became a hit when Gene Pitney released it in 1964.

‘My First Night Without You’ (1989)

The second single from the excellent but commercially disappointing A Night to Remember album barely registered on the charts, despite Lauper’s stunning, emotional performance. The powerful, heart-rending ballad deserves a proper live send-off.

‘At Last’ (2003)

Etta James lays claim to the definitive version of this Mack Gordon/Harry Warren standard that every diva aspires to summit. Lauper shines with a stripped-down, bluesy arrangement and luscious, reined-in vocals.

‘The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough’ (1985)

Hired by Steven Spielberg , 77, as the musical director for The Goonies soundtrack, Lauper cowrote the playful, charging pop-rock tune for the project, initially dubbing it “Good Enough.” Warner Bros. changed the song’s name to incorporate the film title. While the singer confessed that she never liked this hit song, she slowly added it to set lists due to fan demand.

Edna Gundersen, a regular AARP music critic, was the longtime pop critic for  USA Today .

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Winner's Bag: See clubs Scottie Scheffler used to capture fifth victory of season at the Memorial

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Scottie Scheffler captured his fifth victory of the season and third Signature Event at the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday.

Check out the clubs he used to dominate at Muirfield Village below.

Driver: TaylorMade Qi10 (8 degrees) Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 7 X

3-wood: TaylorMade Qi10 (15 degrees) Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 8 X

Irons: Srixon ZU85 (3, 4), TaylorMade P7TW (5-PW) Shafts: Nippon N.S. Pro Modus 3 Hybrid Prototype 10 X (3), True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM8 (50-12F, 56-14F), Titleist Vokey Design WedgeWorks Proto (60-T) Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour X Grip: Golf Pride Pro Only Cord

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet

Ball: Titleist Pro V1

Highest panoramic bar & cafe

The 360 Café is the highest panoramic bar & cafe in Europe. The 360 Café welcomes you during visiting hours for a food lover’s break (sandwiches, salads, croque-monsieurs, cold and hot drinks, desserts), looking out over the most breathtaking views of Paris.

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Montparnasse Tower 33 Avenue du Maine 75015 Paris

Discover exciting opportunities for you to grow your career at Paris Montparnasse.

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HOURS AND VISIT

Open every day, from 9:30 am

  • From 01/10 to 31/03: at 10:30 pm on weekdays, at 11 pm on weekends & public holidays.
  • From 01/04 to 30/09: at 11:30 pm.

Last lift 30 minutes before closing.  

Interested in working at the top of Paris? 

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  4. How (And Why) to Visit Montparnasse Tower in Paris

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COMMENTS

  1. Tour Montparnasse

    Tour Maine-Montparnasse (Maine-Montparnasse Tower), also commonly named Tour Montparnasse, is a 210-metre (689 ft) office skyscraper located in the Montparnasse area of Paris, France.Constructed from 1969 to 1973, it was the tallest skyscraper in France until 2011, when it was surpassed by the 231-metre (758 ft) Tour First in the La Défense business district west of Paris's city limits.

  2. Why to Visit the Montparnasse Tower in Paris?

    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.

  3. Tour Montparnasse

    Past and Present. Opened in 1973, the Tour Montparnasse was the first office building to be built in the center of Paris. It was the subject of great controversy as many Parisians believed that the skyscraper clashed with the rest of the city's architecture.. Presently, nearly 5,000 people work on one of the building's 53 floors, while over 750,000 travelers climb to its observation decks ...

  4. What Nobody Told You About Tour Montparnasse (Montparnasse Tower, Paris

    The Tour Maine-Montparnasse, best known as Tour Montparnasse or Montparnasse Tower, is one of the most famous landmarks in Paris.With 59 floors and 210 m high, the Tower is Paris' tallest building and the only skyscraper in the city. This stupendous Tower is situated at 33 Ave. du Maine, in the 15th Arrondissement of Paris.

  5. Tour Montparnasse

    Tour Montparnasse conveniently sits right on top of Montparnasse - Bienvenüe metro station and your visitor experience starts at the ground floor, where you'll enjoy a trip on the fastest elevator in Europe. Making the climb up to the 56th floor in a record 38 seconds, the elevator reaches speeds of 22 km/h (13 mph) en route! ...

  6. Visit the Montparnasse Tower in Paris: Tickets & Tips

    The Montparnasse Tower in Paris viewed from the Arc de Triomphe. Despite criticisms, the Tour Montparnasse reached impressive elevations. Construction spanned just over 3 years, including deep foundations (230 feet), a sturdy framework of 56 reinforced concrete pillars, and special accommodations for the metro line running below.

  7. HISTORY

    The story of Montparnasse Tower began in 1934 when the SNCF, the French rail company, decided that the Gare Montparnasse train station no longer met its needs. After 25 years, the reconstruction project resulted in a large-scale urban renewal project; the train station would be moved and the newly-freed up land would be used for new purposes.

  8. Is It Worth Visiting the Tour Montparnasse? Our Opinion

    The Tour Montparnasse was built between 1969 and 1973 as the result of an urban project. it is located in the Necker district, on the East side of the 15th arrondissement. At that time, it was considered as a colossal construction and was sharply criticised. This 150,000 ton skyscraper was built on a site consisting of limestone, chalk and clay ...

  9. What is the Tour Montparnasse in Paris?

    The Tour Montparnasse 210-metre-high observation deck which is located in Paris's only skyscraper, which offers panoramic views of the city.Montparnasse Tower, constructed in the mid-20th century, is Paris's only skyscraper. Its 210-metre-high observation deck offers tourists and locals the best viewpoint from which to admire the 'City of Light', especially the Eiffel Tower.The lifts ...

  10. 10 Interesting Facts About Montparnasse Tower

    4. Montparnasse Tower is currently the third-tallest building in France. At 689 feet (210 meters), Montparnasse Tower comes in third place in the list of France's tallest buildings. Tour Hekla (built in 2022) at 722 feet (220 meters) comes in second place and Tour First (built in 2011) emerges on top of the list at 758 feet (231 meters).

  11. Discover the stunning view from Tour Montparnasse

    The Tour Montparnasse was inaugurated in 1973 and was France's tallest skyscraper until 2011 when the Tour First in La Défense was completed. The tower was designed by architects Eugène Beaudouin, Urbain Cassan and Louis Hoym de Marien and built from 1969 to 1972 by Campenon Bernard on the site of the former Montparnasse railway station ...

  12. A Full Guide to the Montparnasse Neighborhood in Paris

    Panoramic views from Montparnasse Tower, Paris/Pixabay. Built in 1973 (and maligned by most Parisians ever since as an eyesore), La Tour Montparnasse is the only true skyscraper within the city limits, rising 210 metres high and comprising 59 floors, plus six more situated underground. Unless you're a big fan of 1970s corporate architecture, the real attraction isn't the looming tower ...

  13. The Perfect Montparnasse Guide: A Value on the Left Bank of Paris

    Montparnasse flies under the radar, but this vibrant, authentic neighborhood, once flocked with artists and writers, retains many reminders of its bohemian past. On the Left Bank of the river Seine, it boasts cultural sights, foodie streets and leafy parks. Skyscraper Tour Montparnasse and Gare Montparnasse station are well known.

  14. The Tour Montparnasse Has the Best Views in Paris

    Sometimes I need a little divergence from street photography and my regular "Paris Vignettes." Recently as I walked to the Bourdelle museum after the Sunday get-together at La Coupole with Terrance Gelenter, I passed the massive Tour Montparnasse and while looking up I thought, "today is a perfect day to go to the top after 25+ years of regularly visiting Paris."

  15. Rooftop

    The rooftop terrace at Montparnasse Tower offers an incredible panoramic view overlooking the Eiffel Tower and all the other iconic monuments in Paris. Located right in the city center, the Montparnasse Tower gives you a unique, breathtaking view by day or by night. See Paris' iconic landmarks. 360° panoramic view.

  16. Montparnasse Tower Tour

    Take the Tour Montparnasse with Go City ... The Montparnasse district used to be a popular hub for writers and poets of The School of Paris who flocked to the area for cheap housing and studios. The viewing platform attracts over 1,200,000 visitors a year but the whole tower itself houses around 5,000 employees, at one of the most prestigious ...

  17. Tour Montparnasse

    Tour Maine Montparnasse. Type. CTBUH collects data on two major types of tall structures: 'Buildings' and 'Telecommunications / Observation Towers.' A 'Building' is a structure where at least 50% of the height is occupied by usable floor area. A 'Telecommunications / Observation Tower' is a structure where less than 50% of the structure's ...

  18. Observation Deck

    In 38 seconds, Europe's fastest elevator will take you to Montparnasse Tower's 56th-floor observatory. Paris' skyline and landmarks are showcased from a modern and comfortable space that is completely surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows. Educational displays help visitors better understand Paris' history and its culture.

  19. Montparnasse Tower Visitor Guide + Tips

    What is Montparnasse Tower? Standing at 689 feet, Montparnasse Tower is the tallest building in Paris, France. It's the second tallest structure in Paris after the Eiffel Tower. The building is primarily used as an office building, but has some commercial storefronts and an observation deck on the 56th floor.

  20. How (And Why) to Visit Montparnasse Tower in Paris

    The Montparnasse Tower that visitors can see today was first proposed in 1959 and was swiftly met with vicious opposition from those that proclaimed that the building would ruin Paris' skyline. Ten years and many battles later, though, President Georges Pompidou of France approved the building.

  21. A Local's Guide to the Best Things To Do in Montparnasse

    True market streets are getting rarer in Paris, which makes rue Daguerre all the more worth a visit. Running east to west south of the Cimetière du Montparnasse, it's the 14th arrondissement at its most local. The street's eastern end, where it meets avenue du Général Leclerc, is the most interesting: come to stroll or shop along a strip of greengrocers, butchers and boulangeries ...

  22. Tickets

    Buy your tickets to Montparnasse Tower online and save time and money! Book in advance to reserve your time. ... To provide the best experiences, we use technologies like cookies to store and/or access device information. Consenting to these technologies will allow us to process data such as browsing behavior or unique IDs on this site.

  23. Songs We Want to Hear at Cyndi Lauper's Farewell Tour

    Cyndi Lauper - True Colors (Official HD Video) Watch on. Impassioned vocals, a strong melody and an uplifting message about self-empowerment made this an instant classic and a gay anthem. Written by Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly, the song was rejected by Anne Murray before being sent to Lauper.

  24. Winner's Bag: See clubs Scottie Scheffler used to capture fifth victory

    PGA TOUR, PGA TOUR Champions, and the Swinging Golfer design are registered trademarks. The Korn Ferry trademark is also a registered trademark, and is used in the Korn Ferry Tour logo with permission

  25. 360 Cafe

    The 360 Café is the highest panoramic bar & cafe in Europe. The 360 Café welcomes you during visiting hours for a food lover's break (sandwiches, salads, croque-monsieurs, cold and hot drinks, desserts), looking out over the most breathtaking views of Paris. Tickets.