In 1973, Paris inaugurated the Montparnasse Tower, a 1965 urban and architectural schemed project of great magnitude. The project consisted of building a tower in the district of Montparnasse station.
Two years later, any construction exceeding 37 meters in height was banned in the city center... A big number of Parisians were afraid that this tower would obstruct the various city perspectives such as the Place des Invalides. When inaugurated back in 1973, one of the main criticisms was that the Montparnasse Tower is ruining the axis aligning the Palais de Chaillot, the Trocadero, the Eiffel Tower, the Champs de Mars and the Ecole Militaire. Decades after its birth, it’s crystal clear that the Montparnasse Tower didn’t spoil any view.
Few years later, amidst rejection, in 1977, Michel d'Ornano, Minister of Industry, and candidate for Mayor of Paris stated: “Well, we must protect Paris. Parisians do not want these towers to proliferate. We need to leave off the towers construction.” Despite his popular argument, Chirac won the elections and the project continued. However, the idea of limiting the height of towers made its way few months laterwith the Plan of Land Use for the City of Paris prohibiting any construction beyond 37 meters.
Today, 42 years after its inauguration, most Parisians forgot about the Montparnasse Tower controversy. Tourists walk their way up the Rue de Rennes, to reach the top of the Montparnasse Tower and indulge themselves in an embracing view of the city of lights, Paris.
Photo: Wikipedia (The Montparnasse tower seen from Rue de Rennes).