I’ve never been up the Eiffel Tower. Many years ago when I interrailed around Europe my budget was so low all I could afford to do was to stand underneath it and gaze up through its iron girders.
Having a slightly higher budget this time round, I did consider ascending but thought the queues would put me off. As I was only going to be in Paris for a short time I didn’t want to spend half a day standing in a line.
As lots of tourists are reported to have cancelled trips to Paris since the November terrorist attacks, I did wonder if this would mean less queues than usual. On our first morning in Paris we headed straight for the Tower to find out. But no, the long snaking line still meant a wait of several hours. Not to worry, we had a Plan B.
The Montparnasse Tower is lesser known than its rival even though it has one huge advantage. The iconic view of Paris has to include the Eiffel Tower. When you are at the top of the Eiffel Tower you get a great view of Paris, but of course it’s missing that one thing that turns a great view into an iconic view.
We timed our trip to the top of the Montparnasse Tower for late afternoon / early evening so we could take in the view in daylight, watch the sun go down and then see night-time Paris lit up below us.
The tower is easy to get to – Montparnasse Bienvenue Metro Station is right outside. There was only a short queue to buy a ticket (another advantage over the Eiffel Tower) and then we passed through airport style security to get to the lifts.
The lifts are among the fastest in the world and, reaching speeds of 22kmph, zoomed us up to the 56th floor in 38 seconds.
The 56th floor consists of a shop, restaurant and indoor viewing gallery. We didn’t want to stay here though; we wanted to be at the very top. We climbed the stairs to reach the 59th floor roof terrace.
The roof terrace covers the entire roof and although there are glass walls around the sides, there are gaps which make it easier to get clear photographs.
I wandered from end to end and from side to side taking in the 360° view of Paris. The most popular side was, of course, the one with the view of the Eiffel Tower.
As the sun went down and the city’s lights began to sparkle the Eiffel Tower started to twinkle.
Once it’s fully dark the Eiffel Tower puts on a whole flashy, twinkly lightshow for a few minutes each hour.
We sat on comfy seats gazing at the view for a while longer before starting to feel the cold and heading back down to the 56th floor for a warming cup of hot chocolate.
The website for the Montparnasse Tower is here.
It costs €15 per adult.