June 15 – 20, 2019
Our next two stops on our second day in Montréal were Observatoire Place Ville Marie and the Parc Olympique.
The Observatoire (Observatory) is a 360° observation deck that overlooks the Saint Lawrence River, Mount Royal, Old Montreal, Quartier des spectacles, and the Olympic Stadium from 185 m (606 ft) in the air. Entrance fees and open hours can be found here. We got the student ticket and paid 15 CAD each (approx. USD 11.36 or €9,24). They have a variety of special events, such as yoga classes and weekly evening tickets to watch the sunset.
The observatory is centrally located and easily accessible by public transportation, car, or walking. Once we arrived at the (very) large building, it was a little bit confusing where to go. You access the observatory via the admissions desk on level 0-1 of the shopping center, while you access the observatory’s restaurant, les Enfants Terribles, from the lobby via level 0. For more on how to get there, click here.
There is an observation deck that you can walk around, and then also a large rooftop terrace that you can step down onto. There’s additional events, like concerts and seasonal events, held here. I feel like in every city I’ve been to, I’ve been up a very tall building. There’s nothing extraordinary about the Observatoire, but it was beautiful to be able to have an aerial look over Montréal.
Our next destination was the Parc Olympique (Olympic Park). This encompasses a variety of smaller sites within the Park. It contains the stadium, sport center, Esplanade, and the Montréal Tower. Construction for the core parts of the Olympic Park began in the mid 1970s to host the 1976 Olympics. Over the decades following and even into the 2000s, new parts have been added.
There’s surprisingly a lot to do here, and they have recommended itineraries based on your interests and time available. I can’t do justice summarizing this site because we didn’t spend more than a couple of hours there, and we were limited to just seeing two sections of it. This is a great site, especially for those into sports and Olympic history.
Even though one could easily spend a whole day here, after a brief tour of the stadium and the sports museums inside, we headed for our main destination: Montréal Tower.
Photos courtesy of https://www.bonjourquebec.com/
According to the website, Montréal Tower stands 165m tall at a 45° angle, making it the tallest included tower in the world. Inside and at the top of the Tower, there is the Tower Observatory, which offers a 360º panoramic view of the area.
The ride up the tower feels unsettling. The glass cabin is on a curved funicular, the only one in the world. Yet, the cabin remains horizontal. It reminded me in some ways of how it felt to go up curved leg of the Eiffel Tower, but the mechanisms and architecture are quite different.
Here is a glimpse of our view from the top!
For lunch, we headed to a downtown strip of restaurants and nightlife called Quartier Latin. We found a place offering some good happy hour discounts and settled in there.
After lunch, we walked down to the Old Port of Montréal. This is a historic port used since the early 1600s. Today, it also has attractions like the Montréal Science Centre, Montréal Clock Tower, Grande roue de Montréal Ferris Wheel, and various outdoor activites. Cirque du Soleil also holds a show here every two years.