Paris Travel Planner   Tour Montparnasse, Paris, France
See Paris from the Eiffel Tower? Yes, but from the Tour Montparnasse you can see both Paris and the Eiffel Tower! Think about it...

Panorama from Tour Montparnasse, Paris, France
Helicopter shot? No! iPhone panorama from the top of the Tour Montparnasse!

Paris Girls Secret Society, the new novel by Tom Brosnahan


Everybody hated the 59-floor Tour Montparnasse skyscraper when it was built next to Gare Montparnasse in Paris's 15th arrondissement (map) in the early 1970s.

At 210 meters (689 feet), it was the tallest building in France, and utterly out of scale with the rest of Paris's mostly 5- to 7-storey buildings.

After it was built, the city of Paris banned the construction of skyscrapers in the city center.

In some ways, the Tour Montparnasse is still an eyesore: when you're standing on the terrace of the Palais de Chaillot, admiring the soaring height of the Tour Eiffel (Eiffel Tower), that boring skyscraper in the distance that you can't avoid in your photographs is the Tour Montparnasse.

But here's a thought: when you're on top of the skyscraper in the Tour Montparnasse 56 Observatory, you don't see the skyscraper, it doesn't get in your way (or in your photos), and you can see all the rest of Paris...including the Eiffel Tower! (At night, the view of the Eiffel Tower from Tour Montparnasse is spectacular!)

Not only that, it's usually much faster, easier and cheaper to view Paris from atop the Tour Montparnasse than from the Tour Eiffel.

Take the Métro to the Montparnasse-Bienvenüe station, walk along the rue de l'Arrivée on the northwest side of the tower to find the observatory entrance (map). On the ground floor of the tower you'll see lots of doors marked Entrée. Ignore them! Look to the left for the stepped awnings marked Tout Paris à 360° and Visite Panoramique shading the stairway—that's the entrance you want:

Tour Montparnasse, Paris, France
Ignore "Entrée"—look for the awnings on the left.

The enclosed observatory on the 56th floor has a café-bar serving drinks and snacks, a souvenir shop, pay telescopes, tables and chairs, and plaques detailing various landmarks:

56th Floor Observatory, Tour Montparnasse, Paris, France

The open-air terrace level—the very top of the skyscraper, is three floors farther up, reached by 65 stairs up from the 56th floor observatory. (No elevator/lift.)

Up on the terrace, the observation area is protected by glass walls and shelters, with plenty of bright sun (or rain, as the case may be). In a few places along the glass walls, gaps have been left so you can poke your camera through and get a clear shot.

Tour Montparnasse Observation Terrace, Paris, France
The open-air terrace. That vertical structure in the distance
between the chairs is the Eiffel Tower.

Note that you can also come up here at sunset and even at night to view the City of Light. (Our favorite time is dusk, when there's still light in the sky, but the lights of the city are coming on; and after dark, on the hour, the strobe lights on the Eiffel Tower sparkle for a few minutes.)

Tour Montparnasse 56 is open every day of the year from 09:30 am to 22:30 (10:30 pm; till 23:00/11:00 pm on Friday and Saturday), butthe last elevator/lift departs 30 minutes before closing.

Admission costs 18 for adults, 15 for students with ID, about half price for handicapped visitors. Children under 4 years of age visit for free; those between 4 and 11 pay about half the adult fee, but family-pack tickets offer savings.

If you'd like to take a cruise on the Seine as well, save time and money by buying a combination ticket for the cruise and the Tour Montparnasse online, in advance, here.

Tour Montparnasse 56
25, rue de l'Arrivée (map)
75015 Paris, France
Tel +33 1 45 38 52 56

Paris Panoramas

Paris with Children

Tour Eiffel (Eiffel Tower)

Gare Montparnasse

Finding Your Way Around Paris

What to See & Do in Paris

Planning Your Time in Paris

Paris Transport

  Paris Girls Secret Society, a novel by Tom Brosnahan


Tour Montparnasse, Paris, France

Above, the megalithic Tour Montparnasse.

Below, Notre Dame from the terrace.

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris from Tour Montparnasse, Paris, France

Notre Dame from the Tour Montparnasse.

Eiffel Tower at Night from Tour Montparnasse, Paris, France

You can ony get this view from the Tour Montparnasse!

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