Paris – Tour Montparnasse   14 comments

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I like tall buildings and I like looking down on cities from the top of them. When I looked at the cost of going up the Eiffel Tower I wanted a better alternative. The Tour Montparnasse ticked more boxes. For the same price I could visit twice so I could see the view in the daytime and at night. It was walking distance from the apartment. And of course it was well sited for excellent view of the Eiffel Tower itself

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Its renowned as the ugliest building in Paris and you can see why when compared to Notre-Dame, the Basilica de Sacre Coeur or indeed the Eiffel Tower itself. I liked it though. It sits out on its own in a not particularly attractive part of the city anyway and doesn’t really detract from the rest of the feel of Paris. As smoked brown glass buildings go I thought it was quite stylish. 209m high and built in 1973 for you fact-meisters out there

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While we’re on that subject. The buildings I do find offensive are those that sit right in the heart of glorious historical cities and their architectural gems where no effort has been made to make them blend in. I lost count of the times when walking through a particularly glorious neighbourhood I’d turn a corner and there would be an ugly concrete block or sheets of plain glass right next to a renaissance building or medievakl church or palace. This was especially true and particularly galling in Venice and Rome where architectural gems abound and the city feels like a living outdoor museum. My theory is that these buildings are almost exclusively local authority, banks or hotels. The Town Planners who allow this should be shot. There I’ve said it.

And on the subject of High Street Banks, why do they have glass and windows anyway. Who goes window shopping at Banks. What do they think people are looking at. Point of Sale Literature displays for current accounts. Bloody hell! Rant over, sorry!

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Back to the story. We booked in advance but there was absolutely no need to. There was no queue at the ticket office and there were no more than fifty people up there. Which was a surprise for it was a glorious clear sunny day and the views were magnificent. The Eiffel Tower of course takes centre stage and as I’d hoped the Tour Montparnasse was a wonderful vantage point. La Defense where we went on first day is behind it here

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I like this photo as it shows the elevated section of the Metro. A bit Train-Spotty I know but I liked that section for some reason

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You can stay indoors and look through the glass but the best views are from terrace on the roof. The glass walls protect from the wind (and from jumping off), but there are gaps so you can take photos direct as it were. Here’s the Jones family looking summery

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And some zoom shots of famous landmarks. This is the Palace of Les Invalides and its gorgeous golden dome

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The Arc de Triomphe

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The Pantheon

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Basilica de Sacre Coeur at Montmartre. Me and TJS were massively chuffed when we looked at the photo later and realised we’d captured the Stade de France in the background! 🙂

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And the church of Saint Sulpice round the corner from our apartment

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Possibly the only photo of me from the entire holiday. Enjoy it while you can

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From up here you realise just what an immense city Paris is. This was especially true when looking down on some of the other cities we visited. Rome seemed especially and surprisingly small by comparison

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This is the cemetery of Montparnasse. We were all staggered at how big it was. Jean Paul Sartre and Serge Gainsbourg are in there somewhere

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Our apartment is somewhere in this shot. Right hand side of the road about 2/3 the way up I think

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This shot shows just how quiet it was while we were there. Going in the morning was a great plan. The sun was in the SE and most of the main city sights were to the north and west so the light was just perfect

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A view over the Jardin de Luxembourg to Notre Dame and beyond

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And over the Seine towards the Louvre and beyond to Montmartre

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Stylish ladies having a sit down with a weird teenager behind

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And a final classic shot across to the Eiffel Tower. The top one is from the roof terrace and the second one through the glass on the floor below

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I could have stayed up here all day picking out sights and features but there was more Paris to see. Satisfied with our experience we headed off to do more stuff for the rest of the day. In the evening we returned for our second visit to see the city at night

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It was much busier and we timed it just wrong to see the Eiffel Tower sparkle. The night-time views were still amazing though

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I never really got the hang of night shots with the camera. Most are a little blurry as I had the shutter speed low to allow enough light in. I probably should have pushed the ISO Sensitivity much higher so I could increase the shutter speed and reduce the shake. I need to practice more.

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I don’t think I could enlarge any of these for the wall but at this size hopefully they show just how great the views were. Saint Sulpice.

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Notre Dame

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Basilica de Sacre Coeur

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Our road, the Rue de Rennes

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The fair at the Jardins de Tuileries

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And last shot of course goes to the Eiffel Tower

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Late finish but well worth it. Stupendous views over a wonderful city

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14 responses to “Paris – Tour Montparnasse

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  1. Great vantage point to see the city! I like the night shots, but next time you need to bring a tripod for your camera. 🙂

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    • I actually had a small pocket tripod with me on the trip but never thought to take it out! Mind you its not always easy to find time to use one when you have restless kids rolling their eyes at you as you tell them to wait while you take yet another photo 🙂
      I just need to find the best setting for handheld night shots without a tripod.

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  2. Some great shots

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  3. Damn! Didn’t know you could go up that building. Good idea as the main tourist hot spots like the E.T. are always overpriced. I’ve been to the Montmartre district at night as well so not that far away! Ah Well, maybe next time….Great photos over the city.

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    Blue Sky Scotland
    • I think the cost to go up the TM twice was the same as once up the ET so it was a no brainer for me. It was much, much quieter as well. Practically deserted when we there in the daytime. Part of me regrets not going up the ET but it would just have been a tick in the box. I can’t imagine the views being any better and I’d have been battling with the crowds to see it. Montmartre was heaving when we went but it is a very nice spot if you can find a quiet corner (a few photos coming in later post). I’d totally recommend a visit to the TM – we loved it

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  4. I remember going up Montparnasse at night – absolutely fantastic!

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  5. Beautiful pictures and a great way to get a good overview of all of iconic landmarks!

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  6. Whoa! Amazing views. It’s obvious that you did your research, and that it paid off. Views from up high when you visit a new city are a must I think, if at all possible: these are particularly stunning ones. Still liking the nighttime view of the Eiffel Tower with a hint of sunset behind, although I would agree that the morning shots are even better.

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    • See, leave me in charge of holiday planning and good things happen! 😀
      We got lucky with the weather to be honest. I was reasonably sure we’d get sun and blue sky in Venice and Rome but Paris could have been anything, indeed the day we left was horrid. To have not only sunshine but pin sharp clarity was a dream. I could have stayed up there all day.

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  7. You make me want to return to Paris. Just love your zoom shots.

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    • I’m still surprised at how much Paris exceeded my expectations. It was supposed to just be a stop off but we had a brilliant couple of days. It deserved just as much time as the other cities we went to. My camera, whilst it is a compact does have a very powerful optical zoom and I was really impressed with the quality of the daytime zoom shots. Night still needs some work though.

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