Can Paris's Ugliest Building Win Fans With a New Look?

As the Tour Montparnasse turns 40, the much-despised office tower is getting a makeover. With a new lighting display and plans to replace its windows, the tower is trying to alter its image. But are the renovations likely to change perceptions?
September 19, 2013, 2pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"Built from steel and tobacco-colored glass, the 59-story Tour Montparnasse rises like a tombstone above Paris's idyllic canopy of low-lying flats. Postcards shun it in favor of its slimmer, more glamorous sister: the Eiffel Tower. The mayor has publicly yearned for its demolition, and a former president was so struck by the skyscraper he ensured it would be the last one ever built in the center of town," write Stacy Meichtry and Ben Schenkel.

But as the building enters middle age, defenders are hoping a facelift can alter impressions of the building they've come to appreciate. "'We're showing off the decolletage,' says Sylvie Andreu, who wrote a book for the Tour's anniversary. The Tour's bland appearance, she says, masks an 'inner depth.'"


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Published on Wednesday, September 18, 2013 in The Wall Street Journal
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