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Montparnasse Tower…Fastest Lift in Europe | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Montparnasse Tower in Paris on June 7, 2016. AFP

London- The Montparnasse tower is a skyscraper located in the heart of the French capital that serves executive purposes.

The construction of the 210-meter tower started in 1969. It was inaugurated in 1973 and maintained its position as the highest tower in France till the opening of the First Tower in 2011.

The building includes the fastest lifts in Europe which reaches the top 56th floor in 38 seconds at a 22km/hour speed.

The Montparnasse Tower was considered the highest office building in Europe for 20 years, till the Trade Fair Tower (MesseTurm) was built in Frankfurt in 1990. Today, Montparnasse ranks 17 on the list of tallest skyscrapers in Europe.

The Paris Municipality’s plans to develop the area surrounding the Gare de Paris in the old Montparnasse had raised controversy, which extended from 1934 till the mid-sixties, when André Malraux, minister of culture during Georges Pompidou’s presidency issued the authorization to build the tower in 1968. The Montparnasse Tower was built between 1969 and 1972 at the Bienvenue of old Montparnasse station and become one of the most important tourism sites in the country.

The project required the elimination of 420,000 square meters of rubble. The tower’s foundation is composed of 56 reinforced concrete pillars set 70 meters underground.

The building’s 53 floors have been occupied with offices of public and private institutions, extended on a 100,000 meter square surface, in which more than five million people work.

The tower attracts more than 750,000 tourists yearly, most of them foreigners, which made it among the five most visited sites in Paris. The tower is topped with “Le Ciel de Paris” restaurant with its panoramic view overlooking the French capital; the same floor also hosts the “Espace 56”, a hall to host conferences and ceremonies.

The tower had also its share of French political life; it was chosen as the center of Francois Mitterrand’s electoral campaign in 1974 and served as the base for the Union for a Popular Movement in 1976-1977.