Here’s a view of Paris from the top of the Montparnasse Tower (Tour Montparnasse), looking northwest towards the competition.
At 210 meters, the Montparnasse Tower is the tallest building in Paris — not the tallest structure, just the tallest building. (The tallest structure is the Eiffel Tower with 300 meters.)
Construction of the Montparnasse Tower began in 1969 and ended in 1973. According to the building industry website emporis.com, the tower “provoked a very strong esthetical and political debate at completion. Even a number of decades later, the tower has very few Parisian supporters.”
Parisians tend to agree, however, that the best view of Paris is from the top of the Montparnasse Tower — because you can’t see it from there.
Looking north now, that’s the Invalides with the golden dome in the center of the photo. The Eiffel Tower is off to the left.
Here we are looking down at the nearby streets and buildings to the northeast, with the Boulevard de Montparnasse cutting diagonally through the foreground. The Luxembourg Gardens are clearly visible as a large green space at the top of the photo.
The intersection at the foot of the Montparnasse Tower is the Place du 18 Juin 1940 (Square of June 18, 1940). The name commemorates a radio speech that was broadcast on that day from London by General de Gaulle, urging the French not to give up hope even though the country had been overrun by the German army at the beginning of the Second World War.
The Germans occupied Paris for over four years, until the city was liberated by French and American forces on August 25, 1944. The Libération is also commemorated by a square in Paris, namely by the Place du 25 Août 1944 adjoining Porte d’Orléans at the southern edge of the city, about 2.3 kilometers south of the Montparnasse Tower.
Currently a major renovation program for the Montparnasse Tower is underway, scheduled for 2019-2024. According to the tower’s website, the main aim of the renovation is “to rethink the ways in which the Tower is used and reinstate it as a living tower that local residents and the people of Paris can enjoy as their own, and to move away from the image of an ageing and mistrusted building.” The planned changes in the tower’s appearance and use are intended to “bring about a reconciliation between Parisians and the Tour Montparnasse.”
My photos in this post are from 2006. I revised the text in 2020.
See also: Paris from a tethered balloon.
11 thoughts on “Paris from 210 meters”
The Spanish republicans of the nueve or nine entered Paris first for its liberation see my post on history. I worked next to the tower many memories there! Thanks.
my post on the Nueve
I’ve been in Paris a few times. Never went to this tower. I hope to visit Gay Paree again some day. Going to the top of the tower will be on my to-do list. Take care. Neil Scheinin
Thanks, Neil. I hope you can make it back to Paris before too long.
I have long contended that the view from the Montparnasse Tower was better than from the Eiffel Tower simply because you can’t see the Montparnasse Tower and you can see the Eiffel Tower. The only thing I’ll say for the Montparnasse Tower is that it’s a great landmark if you’re lost in Paris. It’s visible from nearly everywhere. 😉
True. I sometimes stay at a hotel nearby, and use the distinctive vertical blue lights on the Montparnasse Tower to find my way back on my bike at night.
Definitely a better view looking at the Eiffel tower from the top of Montparnasse rather than the other way round. I found it far more pleasant to ascend as well, compared to the crowds at Eiffel. I look forward to its renovation.
Thanks to your post I had a look through scrapbooks I made after our 1985 visit to Paris. While I took lots of photos of the Eiffel Tower, I saw none that included the Montparnasse Tower — that must have been because I thought it was too modern and I wanted photos of the traditional/historical buildings of Paris. Enjoyed this post and your superb photos.
Thanks. Great to hear from you.
In my many visits to Paris (although not as many as yours I suspect!) I have never been up the Tour Montparnasse – something else to add to my list for a return visit. We’re hoping to go in late September if feasible at that point