The Best View of Paris

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Cheryl

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I was making my way across Paris on Le Metro, en-route to my destination, but I suddenly felt the overwhelming need to hop off the overcrowded subway. I hopped off right by the Eiffel Tower, so I decided to, finally, go up. Sometimes I’m grateful for things going wrong.

After waiting a bit, I learned that, for some reason, they weren’t admitting visitors. So, after I deep breath, I climbed back on the Metro (which, fortunately, was much less crowded) and headed off, getting off at Montparnasse Tower.

You can find many lists of “best viewpoints in Paris” and some are so iconic that you don’t want to miss them — the view from the top of Notre Dame, for instance (though there you’ll be viewing gargoyles through protective netting and struggling to get your camera lens close to the holes to get a photo sans-net). And, of course, the view from the Eiffel Tower cannot include itself.

But in any contest for the best view of Paris, there would have to be one winner:

Montparnasse Tower

The tower has 59 floors and, at the top, the 360-degree viewing platform lets you look out across Paris from all directions. It’s also nice, after having spent days climbing every cramped, and sometimes steep and spiral staircase possible, to be whisked up by a modern elevator.

Right below the observation deck — to make things even better, — there’s a lounge area, so you can have some vin blanc or vin rouge while you wait for the sun to set. (And note that the adjective comes after the noun here. I know better and, yet, made the cringeworthy mistake of asking “Je voudrais un blanc vin.” “Vin blanc?” asked the server, raising an eyebrow. There is only one response for this: “Oui. Je suis désolé!”)

And do hang around and wait for the sun to set. During the day it wasn’t too crowded, but as evening approaches, it starts to get busier with tour groups, photographers, but for an excellent reason. From here, on a lovely evening, the sunset is spectacular, and as the sun goes down, the Eiffel Tower lights up and sparkles every five minutes. Another solo female traveler and I exchanged eye rolls as the predictable gasp arose from the crowd as the tower first lit up…but it’s hard to maintain a high level of cynicism as it is, indeed, beautiful.

Getting up in the tower isn’t free unless you’re a child under four. For adults, prices go up to 18€.

Getting There:

Tour de Montparnasse is served by Metro lines 4, 6, 12, and 13; get off at Montparnasse-Bienvenüe.

If you’re coming on an SCNF train, get off at Gare Montparnasse (bien sûr).

Several bus lines also go there: 28, 58, 82, 88, 89, 91, 92, 94, 95 and 96.

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