Now Seating | Ciel de Paris

Paris, view from le Ciel de Paris

Locals joke that the reason the Montparnasse Tower offers such spectacular views of the city is because it is the only high-altitude spot from which the imposing tower itself is not visible.

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.

Ciel de Paris, Montparnasse Tower

Newly revamped, both in decor and menu, the Ciel de Paris welcomed several hundred guests on Monday for its official rentrĂ©e 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.

Now seating | Ciel de Paris

My visit to the restaurant was timely as I've received a flurry of emails from readers planning their winter trips to Paris and eager to reserve a memorable spot for New Year's celebrations. Special menus are commonplace over the holidays and tend to be costly which makes me a bit hesitant to suggest anyplace in particular for visitors looking to control their holiday spending. 

Paris, view from le Ciel de Paris

But what I liked about the Ciel de Paris, and one of the reasons I'll be recommending it to friends and readers who reach out to me, is that it fits into a range of budgets at any moment of the day. Intense renovations evidently brought new perspective for the restaurant's director Fabrice Peyrieux who hoped the new space would become somewhat of a hangout - come for a reasonably priced breakfast (beginning at 7:30am everyday), a mid-morning coffee and chat with a friend, a fixed price lunch, a late afternoon tea and snack (read: sweet and savory Millefeuille bar!), a romantic dinner (two options: the Menu Balcon for 65€ or the Menu Grand Ecran for 114€ with a prime window table guaranteed and free-flowing champagne) or a nightcap at the champagne and cocktail bar. 

It's a place I would take my friends and family visiting from out of town not only for the terrific view but for the dining experience. Did I mention the Millefeuille bar?

Ciel de Paris
Tour Montparnasse
56th floor
33 avenue du Maine, 75014
Make reservations online (3 weeks notice is recommended for the dinner service)

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