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Panoramic observatories: Paris, Philadelphia, Chicago and Berlin reach for the sky!

the French group M56, world leader in panoramic observatories

The group Montparnasse 56, manages 4 exceptional panoramic observatories: the 56th floor of the Montparnasse tower in Paris (opened in 1973), the Television Tower in Berlin (1993), the 360° in Chicago (2012), and opening this summer 2015: the Philadelphia observatory.

Rédigé par Michèle SANI translated by Joséphine Foucher le Jeudi 29 Janvier 2015

Aimed at thrill seekers everywhere: the Tilt. A glass window cabin that tilts at 30° over the city. An exclusive feature that is promoted by the M56 Group in its panoramic observatories of Chicago and Philadelphia. Here, from the 360° Chicago Tower.
Aimed at thrill seekers everywhere: the Tilt. A glass window cabin that tilts at 30° over the city. An exclusive feature that is promoted by the M56 Group in its panoramic observatories of Chicago and Philadelphia. Here, from the 360° Chicago Tower.
There are now around forty panoramic observatories in the world. 4 of them being managed by the M56 group give the company a leading position in the field.

Attentive to market opportunities, M56 also owns and manages an animal park, the Crocodile Farm in Pierrelatte in the South of France.

Founded in 1975 after the opening of an indoor observatory on the 56th floor and of the panoramic terrace of the 59th floor of the Montparnasse Tower, the group developed internationally.

“Our small family-owned and independent company is one of the world’s only company specialized in the management of panoramic observatories.

Our observatories, that have become an entire sector in the world of tourism, and our animal park lead to a business turnover of 45 million euros and welcome 3 million visitors per year.

We have business offices in London, Hong Kong, New Dehli, Sao Paulo and Moscow”
declared Patrick Abisseror, CEO of the Montparnasse 56 Group during the press conference organized at the beginning of the week on the 56th floor.

The 59th floor in the top 15 of Parisian touristic sites

After 15 years of controversies and 4 years of construction, the Montparnasse Tower was inaugurated at the heart of Paris on June 18th, 1973. During its first 20 years, it was Europe’s highest tower at 210 meters.

The 56th floor and the open air terrace on the 59th were fully renovated in 2012 by the M56 group who owns it. The site (whose asbestos walls were taken off) stands in the top 15 of Parisian attractions: 1,200,000 visitors per year of which 80% are international tourists.

Paris at 360° is beautiful in all seasons. Its view on the Eiffel Tower is the most popular “photo spot.”

Tourists, particularly Chinese groups, come, apparently, to the Tour Montparnasse early in the morning to admire Paris from up high before heading to the Eiffel Tower (7 million visitors of which 90% are foreigners) to photograph it from below. Because the wait at the elevators is too long.

(Tour Montparnasse is open all week, 365 days/year. Cafe, restaurant, souvenir shops, interactive platforms, panoramas, exhibits. Groups starting at 20 people, standard price of €11; reduced visibility at €6.)

Finalist of the One World Trade Center

The small French company had prepared and invested to respond to the call for bids of the One World Trade Center that is now erected at the south of Manhattan.

It meant being in charge of managing the observatory of this highly symbolic and world’s 4th highest skyscraper.

18 months of procedures and studies with the top experts in architecture, public relations, American representatives to get really close. “We were one of the two finalists” proudly says Patrick Abisseror.

So it won’t be New York, but Chicago and its 360° tower whose management was undertaken in 2012.

Tilting over the city in Chicago and Philadelphia

Located on the 94th floor of the John Hancock tower at the heart of the Magnificent Mile trendy neighborhood, the 360° Chicago observatory provides a unique panoramic view on the city and Lake Michigan. Its elevator is the fastest in the United-States.

On top of that, since Spring 2014, an exceptional attraction, an exclusivity for thrill seekers: the Tilt. It is a glass cabin that can fit 8 visitors and tilts up to 30° over the famous Chicago horizon line.

360 CHICAGO welcomed close to 600,000 visitors in 2014. It is an unmissable attraction to begin a visit of Chicago.

The M56 group invested 2 million euros to renovate the entrance hall, the 94th floor and to polish the Tilt.

(Open all week, 365 days/year. Available for private events. Cafe, bar, souvenir shops at the 94th and 1st floor.)

It’s in Philadelphia, this Summer 2015, that the second observatory of the M56 group will see the light of day on American soil.

Located at the 57th floor of the One Liberty Place, this touristic spot that amounted to an investment of 11 million USD will be the city’s first panoramic attraction.

Considered as the true heart of American democracy, Philadelphia attracts close to 37 million visitors per year.

The observatory should welcome 400,000 visitors in the first year. It will also have its “Tilt”, an attraction that is unique in the world and led to an investment 2.5 million euros.

“Our objective is a return on investment within two years” declared Patrick Abisseror.

(Open all week, 365 days/year, interactive panoramas. Entrance fees: from 17 to 18 USD in Chicago, 15 USD in Philadelphia. Additional 8 USD for the Tilt.)

In Berlin, the highest rotating restaurant in Europe

The emblematic Tour TV in Berlin.
The emblematic Tour TV in Berlin.
In 1993, after winning the call for bids, the Montparnasse 56 group bought out the company TV Turm Alexanderplatz Gastronomie Gmbh that manages visits and restaurants at the Television Tower in Berlin.

Built in the 1960s by the East-German regime, it symbolizes the reunified Germany. The 360° observatory and the rotating restaurant (the highest in Europe) welcome 1,300,000 visitors per year. The Tour TV is the first private tourist site in Berlin.

(Open all week, 365 days/year, souvenir shops, rotating restaurant, conference rooms available for rental.)

Europe’s largest crocodile reserve

In 2007, the M56 added the Crocodile Farm to its accounts, located in Pierrelatte (Drôme.) Its 330,000 yearly visitors place it as the 2nd tourist site in the Rhône-Alpes region.

400 animals evolve in this landscaped greenhouse of 8,000 m2 including 10 of the 23 species of crocodiles that exist in the world. Visitors can also discover 600 plant species on 4,000 m2 of outdoor land.

In 2015, the Farm will be expanding. A new panoramic greenhouse of 1200 m2 will progressively be home to snakes (including the Monty Python, the world’s largest python), lizards, water turtles, birds, and fish. Cost of the investment: 3 million euros.

(Open all week, 365 days/year. Educative visits, scientific research spaces. Indoor and outdoor bar, souvenir shop. Rates for Individuals and groups (starting at 20 people.)

Group visits are led by a dynamic guide.

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