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Entries about skyscrapers

A sunny day in Paris

Another anniversary in Paris day two


View Another anniversary trip to Paris on ToonSarah's travel map.

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View from the Tour Montparnasse

After a comfortable night we awoke to a mainly sunny day. Losing little time we headed out in search of breakfast which we had at the Bar Mabillon on the Boulevard Saint Germain.

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Street photography in Saint Germain des Pres

Eglise de Saint Germain des Pres

After we'd eaten we strolled along to the church of Saint Germain des Pres. Last time we had been in this area, in 2017, the church had been looking rather sorry for itself, with graffiti on some of the statues and faded paintwork. A restoration project had just started. This is now complete, and the interior looks stunning! We took some photos and also went into the small, much plainer side chapel where St Germain is thought to have been buried.

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In the Eglise de Saint Germain des Pres

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Tomb of St Germain and the side chapel

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Detail of frieze in the chapel

Tour Montparnasse

From here we took the Metro to the Tour Montparnasse. This 210 metre high skyscraper dominates the skyline on the southern fringes of central Paris. Its monolithic appearance has often been criticised as incongruous or inappropriate for this proudly elegant city.

Properly known, but never referred to, as the Tour Maine-Montparnasse, it was built in the early 1970s around the time of my first ever visit to the city in 1971. The criticism it received led to a ban on the construction of buildings over seven stories high in the city centre. It remained the tallest building in the city until 2011 (the Tour Eiffel is taller but is of course not a building). In that year the Tour First in La Défense was extended in height and is now taller. But that lies technically outside the centre.

Although primarily an office block, the top of the skyscraper, as with so many around the world, is open to the public as a viewing terrace. Many say that it offers the best views of Paris, in part because from the top you cannot see the unattractive building itself! In all our many visits to the city neither of us had ever been up the tower, so now it was time to rectify that.

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Looking up at the Tour Montparnasse

We took some photos from below before going into the tower. After showing our pre-booked tickets and passing through an airport-like security check, we were ushered into a lift that took us to the 56th floor. Here there is a café, a gift shop and already some excellent views, but through glass. So we headed up the three flights of stairs to the 59th floor roof terrace. This too is surrounded by glass., for safety of course. But there are very helpful viewing spaces at the perfect height for a camera lens, so photography is much easier.

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View from the Tour Montparnasse

The weather was perfect and we spent some time here taking lots of photos. I enjoyed picking out many of the city’s most famous landmarks.

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Montmartre

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Notre Dame with cranes

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Tour Eiffel and Arc de Triomphe

I also enjoyed taking some candid shots of the other tourists enjoying the views, and even snapped an unusual selfie! The terrace is well laid-out with seating, quirky signs and interestingly placed mirrors. And on this sunny morning no one seemed in a hurry to leave, yet it wasn’t crowded.

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On the roof terrace of the Tour Montparnasse

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'Selfie' and Les Invalides

The 14th arrondissement

We spent the rest of the morning exploring the 14th arrondissement, starting with a cold drink in the Place Jacques Demy, a very local untouristy corner. Then we investigated some of the quieter back streets such as the Passage Rimbaud and the Impasse of the Moulin Vert. The latter is, as the name suggests, a cul-de-sac. It’s slightly odd that we use a French word to mean dead-end, a word that the French themselves never use in this context. In fact it translates as ‘bottom of a bag’!

We were able to find some interesting street art here and some picturesque houses hidden away behind the busier streets.

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Street art in the 14th arrondissement

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House details

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More street art

We had a bit of a search to find lunch in this area as most places were serving more substantial meals than we wanted at that time of day. But eventually we found a small café on the livelier Rue d’Alésia where I had a delicious goats cheese salad and Chris a Croque Monsieur .

Jardins du Luxembourg

Later we took the Metro over to the Jardins du Luxembourg to spend part of the sunny Saturday afternoon relaxing and people watching there. We observed some games of pétanque; took lots of photos; relaxed for a while on a couple of those small green chairs that are helpfully dotted around all the Parisian parks: watched children playing with sailing boats on the pond as no doubt they have done for generations; and popped inside the Orangerie where there was a small sculpture exhibition.

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In the Jardins du Luxembourg

From the gardens we walked back to our hotel via the Place Saint Sulpice. After unwinding for a while and sorting photos we went out for the evening, staying local with a nice drink and meal near the Marché Saint Germain.

Posted by ToonSarah 16:29 Archived in France Tagged architecture tower paris park views city street_art skyscrapers street_photography Comments (9)

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