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The Tour Montparnasse is an imposing 56 story skyscraper built in the 1970s to revitalize what was once seen as a decrepit inner city area; it is a must-see on any Paris tour. The tower is 209 meters high built from curved steel and smoked glass and dominates the skyline in the area. Although it stands out on its own and, to some, ruins the view, it affords probably the best panoramic views of Paris. The ride to the 56th story takes a mere 38 seconds. The 56th story houses a bar and restaurant as well as interactive videos that provide information and history. There is also a terrace up above the bar that must be climbed to by stairs.
On a clear day one can see up to 25 miles, even catching a glimpse of Chartres cathedral. Inside the panoramic bar there are maps that label the buildings giving meaning to the sights. When you finish viewing all of Paris from the sky, the Galleries Lafayette is directly adjacent the tower.
To ascend the lift to the bar and restaurant in the top of the tower it costs 9 Euros. The tower is open April through September 9:30am to 11:30pm; October through March, Sunday through Thursday 9:30 to 10:30, Friday, Saturday and days before public holidays 9:30 to 11:00.