The Shard in London: Europe's tallest skyscraper

On February 1, the tallest building in Europe is inaugurated in London. The Shard will undoubtedly become the new emblem of the London skyline. was able to preview this chic and shocking building. A brief overview of this tower unlike any other symbolizing the new London in great movement ...

A spectacular glass arrow

London has a knack for shock constructions. In this post-Olympic year, here is the latest skyscraper, The Shard, to hit always harder and higher. The slender silhouette of this spectacular 310 m glass spire (a little more than the Eiffel Tower), grew near the Tower Bridge and Globe Theater of Shakespeare, on the south bank of the Thames.

At the helm, the inevitable architect Renzo Piano, to whom we also owe the Georges Pompidou center in Paris or the futuristic Lloyd's building in the nearby City.

The Shard will house offices, shops, restaurants, as well as a luxury hotel from the Shangri-La group (opening in March).

The madness of heights

The silhouette, first of all: an elegant elongated pointed ending in four unequal pieces of glass in the form of shards ("shard" in English) and giving, from certain angles, the impression that the building is not. finished.

With its three years of work (the crane grew with the building to the top!) And the 600 million euros of investment, this tower has sparked controversy, due to its radical visual impact on the line of London skyline.

It quickly eclipsed the Pickle (the Gherkin) with its 180 m, and even the London Eye du Millénium, which nevertheless offers a nice panorama from the top of its 135 m.

It must be said that the madness of heights has won London for ten years with more than 60 skyscraper projects in progress, relegating Paris to the status of provincial prudish.

Visiting places

The tower, which is accessed by the station London Bridge underground, dominates the neighborhoods of Borough (known for its covered market) and Bermondsey, booming with its really pleasant village spirit ...

Ultra-fast elevators (6 m / s) propel you to the 68th floor, for a first approach, a small exhibition, before reaching the 72nd floor for a great moment of emotion.

Here is the highest vantage point in the British capital: The View from the Shard. Located 244 m high, it offers an exceptional 365 ° view within a 65 km radius of London, on a clear day, of course!

We remain blissful in front of the meanders of the Thames, the dome of Saint-Paul (which was also in its time the tallest building in Europe), the arch of Wembley in the distance… At night, it's downright magical!

The vast glazed spaces invite to meditation, with the impression of being among the privileged people who take advantage of this dizzying spectacle. You are not the first, however.

The tallest toilets in Europe

In February 2011, during the construction of the Shard tower, the workers were surprised to spot a fox, on the 70th floor, almost at the top. He had probably taken a central staircase and, after a grueling climb, fed on the remains of sandwiches left behind.

It took two weeks for the vets to capture the man who was baptized Romeo, before bringing him down from his balcony, exhausted, to treat him and release him into the streets of London. The capital would also shelter several thousand of its congeners.

Do not shun interactive telescopes in 11 languages allowing you to zoom in on the monument of your choice and, a little advice, invent a technical break, a unique moment to see without being seen in the highest toilets in Europe. Subject to vertigo, refrain!

After a chase on the Thames, somersaults on the dome of the O2 Arena, a parachute jump with the Queen of England over the Olympic stadium, we would not be surprised if the Shard one day crosses the adventures of the intrepid James Bond.

The Shard
South Bank, 40 Bermondsey St, SE1 3UD. Phone. : 0844-499-7111. London Bridge Underground. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 22 p.m. (last ticket 20:30 p.m.). Closed on Dec. 25.
Full price: £ 29,95 (€ 36). Booking recommended at least 24 hours in advance to avoid waiting and to benefit from reduced rates.

All the information to visit The Shard on The View from The Shard website

To prepare for your stay, consult our London fact sheet.

London Tourist Board

Go to London

By train, with the Eurostar from Paris, Lille and Brussels.
By plane, numerous regular (British Airways, Air France…) and low cost (EasyJet, Ryanair…) services from several French airports.

Where to sleep ultra-chic in the neighborhood?

Bermondsey Square Hotel: Bermondsey Square, Tower Bridge Road. Phone: 020-7378-2450. London Bridge Underground. Count £ 160-450 for 2. A boutique hotel that plays the card of design and the unusual, with a very sixties atmosphere. The 80 rooms (including 5 suites) are all named after a Beatles song. The more expensive have a hammock on the terrace, or even a jacuzzi with a view over the London skyline.

Find your hotel in London

Where to have a drink in the neighborhood?

The George Inn: 77 Borough High St, SE1 1NH. London Bridge Underground. Open daily 11 am-23pm. There was a time when Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare had their habits there (but not at the same time!). This historic pub from 1542, owned by the National Trust, was rebuilt in 1676 after the terrible fire that ravaged London. It has retained all its charm, with a vast paved courtyard (with the Shard spire in the background, what a contrast!).


- Borough Market : Southwark St. London Bridge Underground. Thursday 11 a.m. to 17 p.m., Friday 12 p.m. to 18 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 17 p.m. One of London's finest food markets. More and more bobo and very picturesque. It is here (among others) that the star of the English “telecuisine”, Jamie Oliver, comes to stock up.

- Bermondsey Farmers Market : Saturday 10 a.m. to 14 p.m., at Bermondsey Square. Borough or London Bridge tube. Small producers of fruits, vegetables ... especially organic.

Audio Video The Shard in London: Europe's tallest skyscraper
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