Long before its inauguration in 1973, the building and its proponents faced vehement opposition from critics adamant that the cityscape remain unobstructed. The sentiment at the time was not unlike the protests spurred by the construction of the Eiffel Tower over eighty years prior. The difference, of course, being that the ironclad edifice ultimately won its way into the hearts of the French and became one of the most vaunted and historically symbolic structures in the world. The Montparnasse Tower, with its neon blue lights that switch on at night, well, makes for a good barb.
What was meant to compete with increasingly contemporary infrastructures in other international capitals, and subsequently modernize the skyline, became an urban blight that remains an unrelenting subject of disdain. But the cringe-worthy monstrosity wasn’t built for naught – it boasts the Ciel de Paris restaurant which towers 200 meters above ground.
Newly revamped, both in decor and menu, the Ciel de Paris welcomed several hundred guests recently for its official rentrée inauguration and I was thrilled to attend and get a feel for the updated space. Journalists, bloggers, investors and longtime friends of the Montparnasse Tower ‘family’ whispered about the new look – sleek and futuristic in design with a visible nod to the seventies (and yes, those light fixtures are a riff on champagne bubbles!). A disarming lack of pomp and smugness, attitudes I generally associate with landmark restaurants, caught my attention immediately. The focus here is on the food and the view, which astonishes from any and every position in the restaurant.