Updated on June 15, 2019
Montparnasse Tower is probably the most underrated panorama opportunity in Paris. Most first time Paris visitors flock toward Eiffel Tower or Montmartre, not realizing that they miss a great chance to see the City of Light from above without having to put up with the huge lines and annoying crowds. Besides, the observation deck on top of Tour Montparnasse offers the best view of the Eiffel Tower and a great opportunity for some stunning aerial photos. This is one of the unusual things to do in Paris nobody tells you about.
Where Is Montparnasse Tower
As its name suggests, Montparnasse Tower is located in the Montparnasse district. If you want to know the exact address, this is 33 Avenue du Maine, 15th arrondissement.
This 210m tall skyscraper has been the tallest Paris building until 2011 when Tour First in La Defense took over. You’ll recognize the building from a distance, as it has nothing to do with the overall landscape of the area. All other buildings have maximum five or six floors and they share the lovely architectural style that makes Paris one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. La Tour Montparnasse is a dark, tall tower with big windows and no adornments. It isn’t something to want to see on the city’s skyline, but its height makes it perfect for aerial views of Paris.
You can get to Montparnasse Tower by metro, bus or train.
If you choose the metro, you should get to the Montparnasse-Bienvenue station on either of the lines 4, 6, 12, and 13.
By bus, you’ll need to take one of these bus numbers: 28, 58, 82, 88, 89, 91, 92, 94, 95 and 96. Just check what kind of public transport there is in the Paris are where you are located, and you’ll find your way with ease. This is yet another reason why I love Paris – their public transport system, and particularly the metro, are very well-organized and efficient.
How To Get to the Rooftop Observation Deck
Not that I was in love when I climbed to the top of this building, but it is one of the most romantic things to do in Paris. Take your date to the observation deck, look down and feel the chills of the fear of heights. According to some psychologists, she might interpret this adrenaline rush as a sign of falling in love.
According to their official website, you only need 38 seconds to get to the 56th floor by elevator. This is as fast as you can get in Europe. I think I’ve only seen a faster lift in a Bangkok hotel.
For the last three floors, you’ll have to take the stairs. Once you get to the 59th floor, you’ll have all Paris at your feet. From March to October, you’ll be able to enjoy a glass of champagne at the Montparnasse Tower champagne bar. At the 56th floor, as you get out of the elevator, you’ll find the highest panoramic restaurant in Paris, Ciel de Paris, where you can have a romantic lunch with your date.
I didn’t dine when I visited Tour Montparnasse, as it was pretty early in the day and I still had lots of things scheduled for that day. The restaurant has huge windows all around, so you don’t need to get to the rooftop, should you prefer to avoid climbing those stairs. I don’t know how much in advance you have to call to book a table by the window, but that’s what you should do to enjoy the views to the full.
With or without the drink and the dinner, the panorama is breathtaking. The observation deck is surrounded by some huge plexiglass panes, a bit annoying, but absolutely safe. The glass is clean, so your photos will come out great, provided that you have the tools and the skills to do a good job. While there are always other people zooming around in search for the perfect photo opportunity, you’ll find your way to the edge with ease.
I’ve visited Montparnasse Tower a few years ago, when Instagram was in its early infancy, so nobody cared about the most instagrammable spots in Paris or anywhere else for that matter. The situation may be different today, when people get themselves killed for the sake of an Instagram photo.
Montparnasse Tower Tickets and Opening Hours
The Montparnasse Tower is open to the public from 9:30AM to 10:30PM from Sunday to Thursday. On Fridays and Saturdays the tower is open until 11:00pm. This is a good opportunity to catch some sunsets and the night view of Paris when lights look so nice. Beware, though, the last elevator to the top goes 30 minutes before the closing time.
You can buy your tickets at the gate, but also online, if you want to skip the line. When buying online, you should save your ticket on your smartphone and have it scanned at the entrance. There’s no need for printing, which is quite convenient. The price of a ticket is 15 Euro and it includes only the access. If you want to enjoy a drink, you’ll have to pay for it at the rooftop bar.
The other good thing about the Montparnasse Tower tickets is that they don’t bear a specific date. They are good one year from the purchasing date (double check this information though, as I’m not sure if it’s still valid by the time you read this article). You can use them only once, though.
Buy your Montparnasse Tower ticket here and skip the line.
The Paris Panorama as Seen from Montparnasse Tower
Here are a few photos I’ve taken during my visit. You might recognize Le Dome des Invalides, Les Jardins des Tuilleries, Centre Pompidou and many other buildings and landmarks I let you discover by yourself.