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Paris has a lot of beautiful sights. A colleague told me to go to the Tour Montparnasse. He said you can get approximately the same height as the Eiffel Tower and that you won't be stuck in any queues. Of course I was immediately curious and went there during my trip in Paris.
Paris is the famous capital of France and is often seen as a city of love. The city is known for its many beautiful sights like the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triumph, Notre Dame and the Louvre. You can go to Disneyland Paris a day or for a boat trip on the Seine. If you can book a cheap hotel for one low price, staying there doesn't have to be expensive.
Besides the old landmarks Paris has some modern buildings. One is the Tour Montparnasse. This is the highest skyscraper in the city. The skyscraper is 210 meters high and has a total of 58 floors. There are offices in the building which are not accessible by visitors but tourists can go in for the beautiful view over the city. There are about 25 elevators in the building, only one of them is for tourists. This is the fastest elevator in Europe. In 38 seconds you're at an altitude of 195 meters. You are now on the 54th floor and with the stairs you can go to the roof of the building.
* It employs about 5,000 people in the Tour Montparnasse
* Each year some 600,000 tourists visit the tower.
* Tour Montparnasse is the fourteenth tallest buildings in Europe
* The skyscraper was built between 1969 and 1974.
* The skyscraper was designed by architect Robert Saubot.
The roof of the Tour Montparnasse is what it's all about. You can look around 360 degrees and you are at an altitude of 210 meters. At the Eiffel Tower you will be 275 meters high, so you are slightly lower than the Eiffel Tower. However you have a very nice view of the Eiffel Tower, because you look really right at it. Everywhere are signs on the roof where famous landmarks of Paris can be found. It is quite clear and is fun to watch. There are binoculars that you can use if you throw in some money.
At the 54th floor you will find some shops, toilets and a catering facility. You can also look through the windows for the view, but do not really see much because of the frame. For the view you need really up the stairs.
The elevator to the 54th floor is the fastest in Europe. In the elevator you see a sort of screen showing where the lift is located. You also see the number of seconds that you are on your way. Very nice to see. In the elevator you will also have a strange feeling in your stomach, because of the speed.
During our visit we got a drink at the restaurant in Montparnasse on the 54th floor. I saw that they had a strawberry smoothie for 4.50 euros (local currency). Because Paris is quite expensive, I found this a very reasonable price and therefore decided to go for the smoothie. This was however a bit disappointing in taste and didn't come in a glass. The drinks of the others, iced tea and cola did look great and also cost about 4 euro's.
it's easy enough to go up with a wheelchair to the 54th floor but I didn't see an option to go to the roof which is by stairs.
Prices and groups
Normal tickets cost 8 euros each. If you are a student or are elderly then a ticket is 6.80 euros and for children is 5 euros. This price is okay especially since you can stay as long as you want and it is anyway not much money for such a view. It is also possible to get a tour for a group.
How do you get there?
Tour Montparnasse can be easily reached by metro. The underground station Montparnasse - Bienvenüe is closest to the skyscraper. From the metro station you do not really have to search for the skyscraper, as the tall building immediately stands out. Also fun is to go there walking and from the Eiffel Tower it's about an hour. You can then walk a bit along the Seine and see Paris in a somewhat different way.
I have a thing for tall buildings. I love to see a city from above. Given that you always have such a long queues with the Eiffel Tower this was a good alternative. The view is very beautiful and it's great fun that the landmarks are marked on the signs so you know where to find them. Things like the Eiffel Tower of course you recognize immediately, but the Louvre, Notre Dame and the Arc de Triumph are somewhat less easy to notice. There are so many buildings! I think at night you will have a great view when every building is lid up. I thought the restaurant and bars where a bit disappointing. The toilets looked fine. The entrance of the skyscraper is also fine. You do not pay too much and you can stay as long as you want. What I think is a big disadvantage is that I haven't seen a wheelchair access to the roof. I recommend this building to everyone that want to see Paris in a different way.
I wrote about the Eiffel Tower the other day and how it has the second best view of Paris, well the Montparnasse Tower has the best view of Paris as the view from the helicopter pad at the top of this fifty nine story tower includes the whole of Paris including the Eiffel Tower itself.
Tour Montparnasse is located just outside the large sprawling station that is Montparnasse, one of the main nter changes for the metro and RER lines in Paris it is located on the south side of the Seine in the 14e. Visiting the station is an experience in itself especially if you get to use the rather speedy moving conveyor belts that transfer travelers between lines.
The Tour Montparnasse cost 10 euro 60 in all, you travel by an express lift in which you can feel your ears pop to I think the 56th or 57th floor which is an indoor viewing area. There is a cafe and plenty of observation points with maps setting out what you can see including the famous landmarks and also pay as you use telescopes for a close up viewing. There are plenty of displays charting the history of the Tower and als a short video film in a small cinema to watch however this is in French.
From here you need to climb a couple of floors by quite narrow stairs to get to the top viewing platform, the stairs are not too tough to manage and are well worth it for the great views you get across Paris. It is very windy at the top and quite exposed so have a warm top with you if it is not a very sunny day.
The pictues we got were great as they include the Eiffel Tower and you can see for miles from the top, La Defense was clearly visible as are the other majoy landmarks and beautiful gardens of the nearby Luxembourg Palace.
Definately worth the money and there is a cheaper price for kids of about 6 euro 80 if I remember rightly.
Lurking as only a 59 storey building can do, the Tour Montparnasse (that's Montparnasse Tower to most) is an icon of near-pointless symbolism and the folly of planning arguments.
As simple and as graceful as it stands, many Parisians are still unhappy at its presence in the otherwise low-rise area to the south of the City Centre. Towering 210m into the air, and completed in 1972, it remains the tallest building in France (the Eiffel Tower is patently not a building!), and the ninth tallest building in the European Union. Current plans to renovate and increase the height of the AXA Tower in Paris will relegate it to the less famed category; 'tallest thing in France that isn't a building and has an observation deck'. I digress - all this statistics lark is very useful for padding a review, but quickly numbs the brain!
Location: The 15th Arrondissement (borough) of Paris Central, atop the Montparnasse-Bienvenue Metro Station, which rather handily serves lines 6 and 13. You can whizz here from just about anything of interest: The Louvre, Les Invalides, L'Etoile, Les Halles, Gare Du Nord etc in about 10 minutes. If you come out of the station to street level you need to bend your neck dangerously upwards to locate the Tower, else you'll wonder where it might be hiding in the locality. Directly opposite the Tower is the enormous Gare Montparnasse (Atlantique), which serves the Poitou and Garonne (South West) bits of France by rail, and also has a very pleasant park atop the station roof between the insulating office blocks (another top travel tip there).
If you can get through the revolving doors of the Tower without being barged by a busy French businessperson, you make your way to the Ticket Desk for the Observation Deck which is on the 56th floor. Prices are 10 Euros for Adults, 7 for Students, and 4.50 for Sprogs 7 and over. Anklebiters go free. Admission is generally from 9am to 11:30pm (10:30pm in Winter) - with the last lift going up half an hour before closing. Times also vary on Public Holidays and anything involving a Saints Day (it's a Catholic thing).
Rather than a swish restaurant up at the top - the Tower has 'Espace 56', which is a panoramic salon that can be hired out for business/entertainment events. After going through a bag check and waiting for a lift (Europe's fastest no less) - you arrive on the 56th floor to be greeted by many large windows on one side of the building, a gift shop peddling Tower related tat, and a pleasant but overpriced café 360. The views are obviously stunning, and you can see for miles. Actually you can't - they're illegal and have been replaced by Les Kilometres, which are smaller and more perfectly formed in true Gallic Style.
If you're feeling brave, a sign points to a dark stairwell. Rather unimaginatively, this is the method used to reach the 59th floor Observation Deck. It's almost an afterthought, but still, despite my fear of heights I ventured bravely upwards. You'd think that I'd learn not to climb all these Towers and Observation Platforms around the world, but then I must surely have a subconscious urge to test my Acrophobia, or possibly I'm just a masochist.
Nevertheless - the scariest thing about the top floor, is that it is the roof. There is no ceiling, and only a 5ft fence prevents you from falling onto the parapet, below which is certain squidgy death. I have to say I scuttled towards the Helipad in the middle of the roof and sat down to calm my nerves for a while. Once refortified, I ambled calmly around the perimeter, goggling at sights of the Eiffel Tower, The Musee D'Orsay, the hilly mount and white-domed cathedral of Sacre-Coeur, Notre Dame standing tall on the Ile D'Orleans, back behind me to the Gare Montparnasse, eyeing up the picknicking office workers to see if they eat anything save Brie and Grapes, and then further out to the Business Hub of La Defense and the forests that surround the metropolis of Paris. I firmly believe that these unimpeded views seen in person are worth the steep entrance prices most tall objects charge, as it's the one place you can feel the vastness of the Earth, and witness the insane scurry of people and machines across the landscape. The exposed nature adds to the thrill of seeing everything, although if there were more than a light breeze, even the most hardy of souls might feel a touch more than nervous.
It's often joked that the Tower offers the best view in Paris, as it is the only place from which the Tower itself cannot be seen. Whilst the Asbestos laden, plainly designed Montparnasse Tower may not win any more design awards, it's hardly an eyesore, but then, the French are obsessed with what everyone thinks and of preserving Gallic Superiority, so perhaps they think it's an evil plot the hated Rosbifs thought up across the Channel and secretly erected over night when De Gaulle wasn't looking.
On a final note - as hard as it is to write a long review about what is a very simple Tourist Attraction - a trip is well worth your while if in Paris, if only to see all these amazing sights you shuffle between with all the trillion other jostling visitors, and to take a moment to step back and admire the beauty of Paris, instead of complaining about some pesky scooter rider ignoring a red light.