La Tour Montparnasse, Paris
Everyone wants to climb the Eiffel Tower for views of Paris. My problem with this is you can't see the most iconic sight in Paris from the Eiffel Tower because you are standing on it. What you see instead is the boring, unattractive Montparnasse Tower.
Solution . . . go up the Montparnasse Tower and you'll have a wonderful view of all Paris and a wonderful view of the Eiffel Tower. Best of all, you don't have the Montparnasse Tower in your photos!
Yes, there is charge to go up but there is usually no line. Check the web site below for prices and times. There is a bar and restaurant and a boutique in addition to the viewing area. Montparnasse Tower web site
VT member pfsmalo has posted some wonderful pictures taken from the top of the Montparnasse Tower. Check them at pfsmalo's Photos from the Montparnasse Tower
this is my old work area, before leaving for Brittany. So it so happenned it is my entry point to Paris now when visiting. So nice.
its like coming back home, meeting old friends and just feel like a local again. The area name by the students after mont Parnasse, a hill in the center of Greece that house the muses. It is a district of Paris since 1860 taken along other villages into Paris under the project of Baron Haussmann.
The quartier du Montparnasse is the 53rd administrative neighborhood of Paris located in the 14e arrondissement,on the rive gauche of Paris, around the interception of boulevard du Montparnasse and of boulevard Raspail.
It became hic chic in the 1920's with artists such as Pablo Picasso, Guillaume Apollinaire, Pablo Gargallo, Julio González, le douanier Rousseau, Antoine Bourdelle, Ossip Zadkine, Moïse Kisling, Marc Chagall, Maurice Le Scouëzec, Nina Hamnett, Fernand Léger, Jacques Lipchitz, Max Jacob, Blaise Cendrars, Chaïm Soutine, Michel Kikoine, Prosper Galerne, Pinchus Kremegne, Amedeo Modigliani, Ford Madox Ford, Ezra Pound, Marcel Duchamp, Suzanne Duchamp-Crotti, Constantin Brancusi, Paul Fort, Juan Gris, Diego Rivera, Tsuguharu Fujita, Marie Vassilieff, Grégoire Krug, Léonide Ouspensky, Léon-Paul Fargue, René Iché, Alberto Giacometti, André Breton, Pascin, Salvador Dali, Jean-Paul Sartre, Henry Miller, Django Reinhardt, Joan Miró ,and at the end of his life Edgar Degas.
What can I say its magical , its Paris ::)
So everybody's dream is to climb the Eiffel Tower, and that's ok... It's the symbol of Paris, after all... But after you've done this and/or if what you really want is having a cool view of Paris, there's some other place you can go to: La Tour Montparnasse! You can have a nice view of Paris from the top of Notre Dame too, but never as extended as the one you'll get from the Eiffel or Montparnasse Towers. AND, if you climb the Tour Montparnasse, you'll be able to see all of Paris INCLUDING the Eiffel Tower -- right before your eyes! Of course you can't see it if you're on top of it, but the T. Montparnasse is 2-3 KM away from the Eiffel Tower and the view of the city is a lot more beautiful when the Eiffel Tower is included.
Unfortunately it looks like this is no longer an off the beaten path place as the first time I went there... it used to be cheaper to climb this tower than La Tour Eiffel, but now you pay 9.50 EUR (2007) just to get in. However, since everybody wants to climb the Eiffel Tower it's always very crowded to go up, but since less people know about the Tour Montparnasse you won't have to stand in line for an hour waiting to go up. Besides, you won't have to climb stairs because the elevator service is included in the ticket. You can stay on the 56th floor or climb 3 more floors to the roof, on the 59th. The view from the terrace is amazing, especially if you go there by night, when all the main monuments are illuminated. It's open from early morning to 11:30 PM (last admittance 11 PM), so you can go anytime and have a great view of Paris which not everyone knows about.
There's a little restaurant in one of the top floors, as well as a souvenir shop. There's also a lot of history about how the tour was built (it's not as new as I though it was -- it actually is several years old!), media presentations, etc.
The Montparnasse Bienvenue metro station is right in front of the Tower.
Approx 60 floors up, and the lift gets you there in approx 35 seconds, now that is quick!! The views are excellent, I did not take this picture as I dont " do " heights, but you must admit the panorama is superb.
Of course, the Eiffel Tower is the most famous place for a good view and Sacre Coeur is the best free place but I think Montparnasse is the best place overall. For one thing, it is quite an eyesore so if you are standing on top of it, you can see the more asthetically pleasing Eiffel Tower and Sacre Coeur. It is also taller and much less crowded to you can enjoy the experience more.
When I was there in 2002, it cost €7.60 to go up in the lift to the 56th floor. From there you can climb up another couple of stories to the viewing platform or stay in the warm dry comfort and have a cup of coffee while you enjoy the view. We went up to the very top and spent a good 20 minutes walking around and taking photos. Most people seemed to spend only 5 minutes before rushing off to the next site on their list.
We also enjoyed the photo exhibition on the 56th floor which showed old photos of Paris.
You can see the tower from most of the places of Paris. We did not do the tour as most of the days we were around were cloudy, and in our last day, we had so many photos from Arc de Triumph, Tour Eiffel and Sacre Court, that we decided to give it a miss ...
views form the 56th floor
Rue de l'Arrivée 75015, Paris