Situated in the 15th arrondissement of Paris, the tower of Tour Montparnasse in the south of Paris takes at least a few hours to visit and offers one of the best views that the city has to offer.
Tall and might above the Parisian skyline, it’s hard to miss Montparnasse Tower rising up above all other buildings around. Here’s your guide on how to visit Tour Montparnasse rooftop terrace, as well as travel tips and things to know before you go.
Editor’s note: If you’re in a rush, then you might consider booking a Montparnasse Tower rooftop ticket here in advance.
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Where is Tour Montparnasse located?
Tour Montparnasse is in the Montparnasse district of the city, an area which straddles the 14th and 15th arrondissements. The closest metro station is Montparnasse-Bienvenüe, which is something of a meeting point for metro lines and can be found on the 4th, 6th, 12th, and 13th metro lines. Indeed, the station is the 4th busiest metro station in Paris.
The tower is close to a number of small boutiques, patisseries, a branch of the Galeries Lafayette chain, and Cemetery Montparnasse (which also happens to be the final resting place of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre).
Although Tour Montparnasse is often overlooked in favour of other viewpoints such as the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower, the tower remains one of the best spots in the city for viewing its many major monuments.
A history of Montparnasse Tower
Though I personally regard the Tour Montparnasse to be one of the ugliest buildings in Paris, it must be said that it does offer one of the most beautiful viewpoints in Paris. The tower itself was constructed in 1969 to 1973.
When it was constructed, Tour Montparnasse was the tallest building in France, and this remained the case right up until 2011 when it was surpassed by the Tour First. With this being said, Montparnasse remains the tallest skyscraper in Paris outside of the La Défense (business district) of the city.
The majority of the building is taken up by office space. There are 59 floors in total, with the touristic part of the construction taking up the upper three floors. The 56th floor houses a restaurant called Le Ciel de Paris, while the roof has a rooftop terrace which offers a 360 degree panoramic view of the French capital.
What to know before visiting Tour Montparnasse
I’ve been up the tower twice (the first time I went up the tower was when I first moved to Paris and so I couldn’t really appreciate where all of the monuments were). Both times I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of queue that iI was greeted by upon arrival.
Neither time was at all like the throngs of people queuing for tickets in the tunnel under the Arc de Triomphe or the three hour long wait to walk up the stairs of the Eiffel Tower. After purchasing tickets, you are whisked into a lift that takes just 38 seconds to reach over 50 floors up.
The lift doors open and you are three levels (six half flights of stairs) below the viewing platform. This floor offers panoramic views over the city and is equipped with a reasonably priced cafe (2 euro for a long coffee- perfect for after you’ve nearly frozen your nose off on the rooftop viewing platform).
Although the lower level has good views, nothing compares to climbing up the concrete stairs and emerging into the open air, only to be greeted with 360 degree panoramic views of Paris. Just make sure you bring a coat as it gets pretty windy on top of the tower!
The people below look like ants and the monuments, like toys. There is nothing quite like being up high, spotting all of the Parisian monument from afar. The best time of the day to visit is definitely sunset when the light hits La Defense and the Eiffel Tower.
How to visit Tour Montparnasse
The Montparnasse Tower rooftop terrace is known officially as the Montparnasse Tower Panoramic Observation Deck and is open every day. With this being said, sometimes the tower is privatised and so you should be sure to check in advance before heading to the 15th arrondissement.
The Tower is open on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays : from 11am to 10:30pm, with the last climb at 10pm. Meanwhile, on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays*, Saturdays: from 11h to 23h30, with the last climb at 23h.
While the 56th floor is accessible via elevator, the rooftop terrace on the 59th floor can only be accessed on foot via a three floor climb. Purchase your Montparnasse Tower rooftop ticket here in advance.
France Travel Information
France uses the Euro (€)
The main language spoken in France is French. Though you can get by with English is more touristic places, it’s always a good idea to learn some of the local language. Bring along a simple phrasebook like this one to help make your travels easier.
The capital of France is Paris. For more information and inspiration, check out our best Paris travel tips.
France uses plug types, types C and E. As such, if you’re travelling from the UK, USA, Canada, and many other destinations, you’ll need to buy an adapter. I recommend buying a universal travel adapter that you can use for multiple destinations (rather than buying a new adaptor for each place you visit).
As one of the most popular destinations in the world, you should always consider booking your accommodation well ahead of time. Check out this website for price comparison details and detailed reviews.
Be careful with your belongings. I also highly advise to avoid wearing a backpack and to instead opt for a crossbody bag like these ones. I personally use a crossbody bag by this brand and love its shape, size, and versatility.