For some of the very best views of Paris, make your way to the top of the one and only skyscraper in the city, Montparnasse Tower. In this post, we’ll explain the basics of visiting this observation deck, share the views you can expect to see and then wrap up with our overall thoughts on this experience compared to others in Paris.
Ready? Let’s head to the top of Montparnasse Tower.
What is Montparnasse Tower?
Standing at 689 feet, Montparnasse Tower is the tallest building in Paris, France. It’s the second tallest structure in Paris after the Eiffel Tower. The building is primarily used as an office building, but has some commercial storefronts and an observation deck on the 56th floor.
Montparnasse Tower stands out against the Paris skyline like a sore thumb, because it’s the only skyscraper in all of Paris. The people of Paris hated it so much that two years after it was constructed in 1973, the city of Paris banned all buildings over 121 feet. (In 2010, the policy was revised to allow buildings as high as 590 feet in some areas, but none have since been built.)
While Montparnasse Tower might not be the most beautiful building to look at in Paris, it just might be the place for the best view of Paris.
Where is Montparnasse Tower?
Montparnasse Tower is located in the Montparnasse neighborhood in the 14th arrondissement of Paris. The building’s address is 33 Av. du Maine, 75015 Paris, France.
You can get to Montparnasse Tower on public transportation from the Montparnasse train stop, which serves the 4, 6, 12 and 13 Metro lines. You can also walk to Montparnasse Tower from Luxembourg Gardens, which is about 15 minutes away (less than 1 mile).
Can you go to the top of Montparnasse Tower?
Yes! There is an observation deck on the 56th floor of Montparnasse Tower and an open air roof deck on the 59th floor. There is an elevator to the 56th floor, but the rooftop terrace on the 59th floor is only accessible by stairs.
What can you see from the top of Montparnasse Tower?
Everything. You can see all of Paris from the observation deck at Montparnasse Tower. Expect views of Paris’ top attractions like the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Sacré-Cœur at the top of Montmartre, Notre Dame and more. You can see the tree-lined streets and green gardens and peep the closest skyscrapers just outside the city limits in La Défense.
Montparnasse Tower offers the highest views of Paris with the Eiffel Tower in the sightline. While you might be able to get better views of Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower, if you want the best views of the Eiffel Tower you can’t beat Montparnasse Tower.
How much does Montparnasse Tower cost?
A ticket to the top of Montparnasse Tower is pretty reasonably priced relative to other popular Paris tourist attractions. There are two main ticket options and neither costs more than 25€ (as of 2022).
A standard ticket to the top of Montparnasse Tower includes one visit to the observation deck. You can stay as long as you like and may freely move between the indoor space and the rooftop terrace. At the time this post was published, the exact ticket prices are as follows:
- Adults: 20€ (19€ if purchased online in advance)
- Youth (12-17) and students: 15€
- Children (4-11): 8€
- Young Children (under 4): free (ticket required)
You can also pre-purchase a drink (beer or Champagne) with a standard ticket when you buy online in advance. This ticket option will save you 1€ on beer or 3€ on Champagne compared to purchasing the items separately on site.
The Night and Day ticket gives you the chance to visit the observation deck twice, ideally once during the day and again at night. This ticket is valid for two entries within a 48-hour period. The clock starts when you use your ticket to enter the first time.
The day/night visiting times are recommended, but not at all required or enforced. Your two visits can be at any time during a 48 hour period, so you could visit twice at night or twice during the day if you preferred.
At the time this post was published, the Night and Day ticket prices are as follows:
- Adults: 25€
- Youth (12-17) and students: 19€
- Children (4-11): 12€
- Young Children (under 4): free (ticket required)
How to buy Montparnasse Tower Tickets
You can buy tickets to the Montparnasse Tower observation deck online in advance or onsite at the ticket office.
If you buy your ticket online in advance, you will save 1€ for adult and youth standard tickets. It will also save you time as you can skip the queue at the ticket office and go straight in. Tickets do not typically sell out at Montparnasse Tower, but in the rare case they do, an online ticket will guarantee your entry. Mobile tickets can be scanned from your phone and do not need to be printed.
You can also purchase tickets onsite at Montparnasse Tower. The ticket office is located on the 56th floor.
When you approach the building from the northwest side, follow signs to the observation deck. You will go through security and will then be directed to the elevator to the top. After you get off the elevator, there will be an entrance for ticket holders and a queue for the ticket office.
When is the best time to visit Montparnasse Tower?
Montparnasse Tower is open everyday from 9:30 AM to 11:30 PM. The only exception is Bastille Day (July 14th) when the tower closes early (usually 6 PM) for a ticketed event.
This means that you can see Paris from Montparnasse Tower by day or night. In daylight you’ll be able to spot all of your favorite landmarks in detail and by night you can see the City of Lights earn its name, including a stunning view of the twinkling Eiffel Tower.
You can’t go wrong with either and the Night and Day ticket option allows you to visit twice and see the view at both times. However, if you’re interested in both views, we recommend going at sunset instead.
The best time to go to Montparnasse Tower is about one hour before sunset. Grab a drink from the open-air rooftop bar and watch the sun set over Paris. You will save a few bucks just buying a standard ticket, and you won’t have to make the trek out to the building twice.
We also suggest visiting Montparnasse Tower during the summer. The rooftop terrace is open all year, but can be quite windy. That makes it quite cold in cooler seasons, but helps keep it very pleasant in the summer. Even during a heat wave, with the breeze and the shade, we found the terrace to be quite comfortable in the summer.
Things to do at Montparnasse Tower
It’s easy to spend a couple hours at Montparnasse Tower.
The views are the main attraction and there are two levels see them. The indoor observation deck is on the 56th floor and is served by direct elevator access. The observation deck covers most of the floor so you can look out to Paris from all angles.
Inside there is a gift shop and a small cafe. There are some posted placards with information about the city, but for a completely interactive virtual tour you’ll want to download the free Magnicity app. There is also free wifi available.
The real highlight of Montparnasse Tower is the outdoor observation deck on the rooftop. You need to take three flights of stairs to get to the rooftop, and unfortunately there is not an elevator. The rooftop terrace is included with admission, and you don’t want to miss it.
There are seasonal activities on the Montparnasse Tower roof deck. In the winter time, they have an entire skating rink up there. In the summer, there are games, photo ops, yoga events and more.
A portion of the roof deck is shaded, which is nice in the hot summer. There’s a rooftop bar that serves beer and champagne, and there’s plenty of seating.
There’s also a fine dining restaurant at Montparnasse Tower, Le Ciel de Paris, that boasts the title of highest panoramic restaurant in Paris. Reservations are recommend and you can book online here.
Photos at Montparnasse Tower
The rooftop terrace at Montparnasse Tower is open air but enclosed by a metal rail fence and glass panes. The panes are separated in a way that allows you to take photos between the panes. It’s nice to not have glare or fencing in all of your photos of the view.
We’ve been to many skyscraper observation decks, and most of them take some sort of green screen photo that is usually really bad and ridiculously expensive. At Montparnasse Tower, they do things a bit differently and offer photos through a tool called Smiler.
There are dedicated photographers available for quick, no-obligation photoshoots. They snap a handful of photos and take your phone number. They’ll send you a text later that day with a link and you can view your photos. You can buy digital downloads or hard prints if you wish. It’s free to take the photos and there is no obligation to buy.
I really liked my photos but wasn’t sure if I wanted to purchase them all or just one. I ended up putting it off a few days and eventually they sent me a 30% off coupon code. It’s worth giving that a shot if you’re on the fence.
Is Montparnasse Tower worth it?
Yes! Montparnasse Tower was such a great, relaxing way to see Paris from above. The views are incredible, the crowds are light and the price is reasonable. I’d recommend spending an entire evening at Montparnasse watching the sun set and sipping champagne on the rooftop to just about anyone.
Is Montparnasse Tower better than the Eiffel Tower?
This is tough. I came into it expecting to recommend Montparnasse Tower over the Eiffel Tower. That’s how much I loved the Montparnasse Tower rooftop terrace. But then I went to the top of the Eiffel Tower, and there is just something about being at the top of that iconic tower that just hit a special chord.
I’ll say this. If you’re only going to do one observation deck and you have any urge to go to the Eiffel Tower, you should go to the Eiffel Tower. It’s a pain, but if you plan your Eiffel Tower visit well it can be very pleasant. I don’t think you’ll regret it.
But if you don’t have strong feelings about the Eiffel Tower and want the best view the easiest possible way, we’d recommend Montparnasse Tower instead. We went to Paris multiple times before we actually made it to the Eiffel Tower, but I would have visited Montparnasse Tower during those visits if I realized how pleasant it was.
I think the Eiffel Tower is a once-in-a-lifetime thing, while Montparnasse Tower could easily be an every-trip-to-Paris thing.
Tips for Visiting Montparnasse Tower
- Go before Sunset. We suggest arriving about 1 hour before sunset for the best views of Paris by day and night. You will save some money on the Night & Day ticket, but mostly you’ll save the transit time if you only have to go out to the tower once.
- Stay for a drink. If you’re looking for drinks with a view, it doesn’t get much better than the Montparnasse roof deck. Grab a beer or glass of Champagne and enjoy it on a lounge chair looking out over the Eiffel Tower. It’s the perfect night out in Paris.
- Download the interactive app. The interactive Magnicity app is a fun way for you to learn more about the buildings and monuments you see from the top of the tower. You can actually download and use the app anytime, so you can take the view home with you.
- Snap a few photos with Smiler. If the photographers are out, take them up on their offer to take a few group photos. It just takes a few moments and there is literally no pressure from anyone to buy them. I just did it for research, but loved my photos so much I purchased them all.
- Take the Metro. There are a few things to do in the Montparnasse neighborhood, but most people won’t be staying in that area. It’s easy to get to the tower via public transit from most anywhere in the city as several Metro lines stop nearby.
Other Great Views of Paris
Paris is not short on places to go for great views. If you’re looking for more beautiful views of the city, these are three of our other favorite spots.
The top of the Eiffel Tower is the highest observation deck in Paris. The views are the best in the city, but unfortunately there’s no view of the Eiffel Tower when you’re on it. While romantic and beautiful, it is known to be quite crowded, summit tickets can sell out and it’s also expensive. So be sure to plan accordingly. (Psst! We have a great Eiffel Tower planning guide if you’re heading that way.)
Arc de Triomphe
If you’re looking for a great view of the Eiffel Tower at a reasonable price, walk on down Champs-Élysées to Arc de Triomphe. It’s lower than other viewpoints, but it’s central location provides an epic view of central Paris, including the Eiffel Tower.
A visit to Paris just isn’t complete without making a journey to Montmarte. Go to see the beautiful Sacré-Cœur, but stay for the sweeping views of Paris from the steps (bonus points if you enjoy the view while eating crepes). The only downside is that the Eiffel Tower is not in the sightline.
We visited Montparnasse Tower with our toddler and had the best time. It was easy to get to, not crowded and offered some of the best open air (and air conditioned) views of Paris.
We visited during a record heat wave and really wanted something fun indoors. It was a convenient perk that the roof deck was also reasonably cool, especially in the shade. We got to spent time in both areas and it was a fantastic family evening.
That said, I was expected to easily recommend Montparnasse Tower as the definitive alternative to the Eiffel Tower, but after seeing both I’m less confident in that assessment. I loved them both, but they’re very different experiences. Honestly, both are worth a visit if you can swing it.
Have you been to the top of Montparnasse Tower? What was your experience like? Would you recommend it? Let us know in the comments.
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