Tour Montparnasse: A View as Wide-Open as My Options

Eiffel Tower and Invalides, from Tour Montparnasse (2009)

Clive and I recently visited a place I had only been to once before.
In my previous post, ‘In Bed at Montparnasse Cemetery’, I mentioned I stayed in this well-known quartier on my first trip to Paris. This was at a time in my life when I was young, single, and a few years along the fast track of what became a long-term corporate career. I took my first overseas vacation – to Paris, of course — with two female friends who were in a similar phase of life.

Tour Montparnasse:  the Other, Infamous, Tour

Tour Montparnasse fridge magnet

Our hotel was near the Tour Montparnasse, a rather stark, 59-storey commercial centre built in the late 1960’s despite varying levels of controversy and public outrage. A friend who had spent a year studying in Paris told me, ‘Everyone says it’s the best place to work, because when you’re in it you don’t have to see it.’

Development in all shapes and sizes takes its toll around the world, whether manifested in a boxy apartment building known as the Toaster on Sydney Harbour, the McMansion now occupying every inch of what used to be a lovely yard containing our modest three-bedroom Colonial in Darien Connecticut, or the towering Tour Montparnasse in Paris.

The Tour sticks up on the horizon from various viewpoints in Paris; we’ve read that, thankfully, two years after its completion, construction of skyscrapers in the city was banned. I hadn’t expected to visit it, but when we did, the vistas from the top surprised and delighted me.


Luxembourg Garden and Notre Dame, from Tour Montparnasse (2009)

For three young women who came of age when females were making their marks in previously all-male strongholds ranging from marching bands to boardrooms, the view from the top of Tour Montparnasse matched our options: unlimited. We were single, healthy, and free and had no reason to believe we couldn’t have and do it all — work, marriage, family – you name it, we wanted it and had no reason to doubt we’d be successful at it, too. Yes, we were hopelessly naive, but that’s another story.

Two of us had dinner one night at Le Ciel de Paris on the 55th floor, and all of us returned to the bar/lounge there another night for drinks and sunset over the Eiffel Tower. I discovered my company had an office in the building, and on the way down, asked a security guard to take our photo.

Working girls in Paris (a few years ago)

When Clive and I recently made our way to the top of the Tour Montparnasse, we agreed it was worth a stop (and the 11.50 euro per ticket), for the 360-degree views from the 56th floor and rooftop terrace. With Paris stretching out below us, we talked about how much of the city we have yet to explore. The opportunities, once again, seemed endless.

The Tour Montparnasse may be considered an eyesore, but if you want great views of Paris from on high, it’s not a bad place to visit.

Louvre and Tuileries (middle) and Sacré-Coeur (top), from Tour Montparnasse (2009)

Who knows, maybe something about being there will offer you a little of that Paris ‘anything is possible’ magic, too.

Cheers and happy travels.
Tour Montparnasse Official Site

4 Responses

  1. Hi Carol,

    Life wouldn’t be much fun if someone, at age 25, didn’t feel as if he/she was on the cusp of conquering the world or saving the world! Moreover most folks don’t realize the extent of their innocence until safely ensconced in a much later decade, because during the interim jobs, marriage, and children have afflicted one with tunnel vision.

    But that is what memories are for: to hold hands with the past one more time after years of inattention. Luckily our brains aren’t completely preoccupied; we can unfold a memory with no wrinkles, just an overlay of youth and naivete showing that some part of the mind pays heed.

    Yes, such development as you described as having taken over the area in Darien where you lived is depressing. So much of that type of demolition and subsequent new construction has happened in Sandy Springs, outside of Atlanta, where my parents lived for so many years.

    I enjoyed your comments and your pictures. Now back to the present.

  2. Hi Carolyn & Clive,

    I’am making my way through friend’s blogs, as I take my baby steps out again towards life. My own blogging won’t resume until later. But that’s normal.

    Once again, a marvellous story weaves itself around the city of lights. That is wonderful! So many wonderful things achieved along the way.

    Big hugs XX

    P.S. I’am looking forward to being with you both.

  3. I like the view from the top but I sure do hate seeing the building from around Paris. What were they thinking?

  4. Eleanor, that’s true about 25 year-olds — we were so lucky to come of age when women had such a wealth of options.

    Barbara, thanks for your visit and hope to see you soon 🙂

    Linda, can’t imagine what they were thinking — agree about the views from the top.

    Cheers all.

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