Tour Montparnasse

Tour Maine-Montparnasse (Maine-Montparnasse Tower), also commonly named Tour Montparnasse, is a 210-metre (689 ft) office skyscraper located in the Montparnasse area of Paris, France. Constructed from 1969 to 1973, it was the tallest skyscraper in France until 2011, when it was surpassed by the 231-metre (758 ft) Tour First. It remains the tallest building in Paris outside of the La Défense business district. As of February 2020, it is the 14th tallest building in the European Union. The tower was designed by architects Eugène Beaudouin, Urbain Cassan, and Louis Hoym de Marien and built by Campenon Bernard.[5] On September 21, 2017, Nouvelle AOM won a competition to redesign the building's facade.[6]

Tour Maine-Montparnasse
Tour Montparnasse June 2010.jpg
General information
TypeCommercial offices
Location33 Avenue du Maine
15th arrondissement
Paris, France
Coordinates48°50′32″N 2°19′19″E / 48.8421°N 2.3220°E / 48.8421; 2.3220Coordinates: 48°50′32″N 2°19′19″E / 48.8421°N 2.3220°E / 48.8421; 2.3220
Construction started1969
Roof210 m (690 ft)
Technical details
Floor count58
Floor area88,400 m2 (952,000 sq ft)
Design and construction
ArchitectCabinet Saubot-Jullien
Eugène Élie Beaudouin
Louis-Gabriel de Hoÿm de Marien
Urbain Cassan
A. Epstein and Sons International


The logo of Tour Montparnasse

Built on top of the Montparnasse – Bienvenüe Paris Métro station, the building has 59 floors.

The 56th floor, 200 metres from the ground,[7] houses a restaurant called le Ciel de Paris,[8] and the terrace on the top floor, are open to the public for viewing the city.

The view covers a radius of 40 km (25 mi); aircraft can be seen taking off from Orly Airport.

The guard rail, to which various antennae are attached, can be pneumatically lowered.


The tower is mainly occupied by offices. Various companies and organizations have settled in the tower:

The 56th floor, with its terrace, bars and restaurant, has been used for private or public events. During the 80s and 90s, the live National Lottery was cast on TF1 from the 56th floor.

Climbing the towerEdit

French urban climber Alain "Spiderman" Robert, using only his bare hands and feet and with no safety devices of any kind, scaled the building's exterior glass and steel wall to the top twice, in 1995[10] and in 2015.[11]

His achievement was repeated by Polish climber Marcin Banot in 2020. From the middle of the way he was followed by a lifeguard on a rope but Marcin refused to connect a safety rope and climbed to the top without any help.[12][13]


The tower's simple architecture, large proportions and monolithic appearance have been often criticized for being out of place in Paris's urban landscape.[14] As a result, two years after its completion the construction of buildings over seven stories high in the city center was banned.[15]

The design of the tower predates architectural trends of more modern skyscrapers today that are often designed to provide a window for every office. Only the offices around the perimeter of each floor of Tour Montparnasse have windows.

It is said that the tower's observation deck enjoys the most beautiful view in all of Paris because it is the only place from which the tower cannot be seen.[16]

A 2008 poll of editors on Virtualtourist voted the building the second-ugliest building in the world, behind Boston City Hall in the United States.[17]

Asbestos contaminationEdit

In 2005, studies showed that the tower contained asbestos material. When inhaled, for instance during repairs, asbestos is a carcinogen. Monitoring revealed that legal limits of fibers per liter were surpassed and, on at least one occasion, reached 20 times the legal limit. Due to health and legal concerns, some tenants abandoned their offices in the building.[18]

The problem of removing the asbestos material from a large building used by thousands of people is unique. The projected completion time for removal was cited as three years. After a nearly three year delay, removal began in 2009 alongside regular operation of the building. In 2012, it was reported the Maine-Montparnasse Tower was 90% free of asbestos.[19]


View over Paris, at dusk, from the top platform of Tour Montparnasse
Panorama of Paris from Tour Montparnasse facing northeast.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Tour Montparnasse". CTBUH Skyscraper Center.
  2. ^ Tour Montparnasse at Emporis
  3. ^ "Tour Montparnasse". SkyscraperPage.
  4. ^ Tour Montparnasse at Structurae
  5. ^ "Tour Montparnasse". Vinci. 2012. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  6. ^ Jessica Mairs (2017). "Tour Montparnasse set to receive "green makeover" by Nouvelle AOM". Dezeen. Retrieved 30 July 2019.
  7. ^ "Top Paris restaurants with a view". Paris Digest. 2018. Retrieved 2019-01-03.
  8. ^ le Ciel de Paris
  9. ^ "Address book." Accor. 17 October 2006. Retrieved on 19 March 2012. "Executive Management Tour Maine-Montparnasse 33, avenue du Maine 75755 Paris Cedex 15 France"
  10. ^ Ed Douglas, "Vertigo? No problem for Spiderman", Manchester Guardian Weekly, 11 May 1997, p. 30
  11. ^ "French "spiderman" climbs Paris skyscraper for Nepal". DAWN.COM. 2015-04-29. Retrieved 2020-03-08.
  12. ^ "Polish tourist climbed Montparnasse". (in Polish). 2020-09-19. Retrieved 2020-09-27.
  13. ^ "Climbing Montparnasse". (in Polish). 2020-09-18. Retrieved 2020-09-27.
  14. ^ Montparnasse Tower, a story of passion and hate since 40 years
  15. ^ Laurenson, John (2013-06-18). "Does Paris need new skyscrapers?". BBC News. Retrieved 2013-06-18.
  16. ^ Nicolai Ouroussoff (26 September 2008). "Architecture, Tear Down These Walls". New York Times. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
  17. ^ Belinda Goldsmith (14 November 2008). "Travel Picks: 10 top ugly buildings and monuments". Reuters. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
  18. ^ Marlowe, Lara. "Tour Montparnasse contaminated with asbestos". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2020-03-06.

External linksEdit