La Défense, Paris
Favorite thing: This skyscraper business city on the western edge of Paris is the largest office developement in Europe. La Grande Arche is an enormous hollow cube large enough to contain Notre-Dame cathedral. Designed by Danish architect Otto von Spreckelsen in the late 1980s, the arch houses an exhibition gallery and a conference centre, and offers a superb view over the city.
Paris...you can never get enough of this city! On my last trip I finally visited La Defense!!! I think it is a fabulous structure and a perfect addition to the landscape of Paris!
Fondest memory: I loved just getting to this building...remember the journey is half the adventure!!!
La Defense is growing, exploding and becoming more and more a city unto itself. (I remember when the Metro went as far as Neuilly and was still under construction for the final stretch to La Defense.
The easiest way to get to this area is to take the Metro (#1) to La Defense (final stop).
Fondest memory: It's not the most interesting and definitely not the most picturesque part of the city (and technically, it's outside the Périphique), but it does shed light on Paris as not only a beautiful, historic city, but also a working, vibrant, industrial, 21st Century city.
The Grand Arche (in direct line with the Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Elysees and the Tuilleries) is a powerful statement that Paris is the old, the new, the past and the future.
Spend at least a 1/2 day at La Defense. At only 15 mn from Opera by the Subway (RER) or 30mn by car (there are a lot of public parkings.
3 millions sqm of offices and 60.000 permanent inhabitants. 2 huge malls. A high site of architecture and scupture (on this matter I do not appreciate some of the art pieces). Several kilometers of 'promenade'. 9 traditional cinemas + a 3D cinema (now closed). A lot of restaurants. Some hotels (expensive). See the travelogue 'La Défense'.
Fondest memory: The picture was taken the 21th June 2003 during the Fete de la Musique.
There are some higly fascinating and beautiful high buildings in Paris. One of them, La Tour de Montparnasse, is higly recommended to visit. Apart from this building there are few skyscapers in the central Paris. However, in the La Défence area, just some kilometers west of Paris city, there is a whole commuity of modern architecture buildings, many of them tall towers. A visit to La Défence is also higly recommended, especially on a sunny day when the glass surfaces make the tall towers justice.
Fondest memory: The architecture of the buildings and monuments.
At the end of the first World War, plans were made to develop the axis from the Arc de Triomphe at the Etoile to La Defense. Numerous plans were submitted for the Voie Triumphale or Triumphal Way as it was known, most of them with endless rows of impressive skyscrapers in mostly Modernist style. Many of the plans which were submitted in 1930 came from renowned architects like Le Corbusier and Auguste Perret. None of these plans were realized, mainly due to the Great Depression in the 1930s.
In 1931 though, the authorities organized a new competition, but the intent was to limit the height of the buildings along the Triumphal Way. Only at the end of the long avenue, at the Défense, were towers allowed. This was recommended by the authorities as towers close to the center would obstruct the view on the Etoile. Most of the 35 (French) entries in the competition were either classical or modernist style, but again none of the plans were actually realized due to lack of funding. The main focus now moved from the Triumphal way to the Défense area, or La Défense. The name défense originates from the monument 'La Défense de Paris', which was erected at this site in 1883 to commemorate the war of 1870.
Fondest memory: In 1951, the Défense site was chosen as an office center. In 1958, development of the area was started by a special agency, the Etablissement Public d'Aménagement de la Défense. The first plan had 2 rows of skyscrapers of equal height. In 1964, a plan was approved to have 20 office towers of 25 stories each. Little of the development on the Défence was actually built according to this plan, as most companies started to press for taller office towers. The result is a mix of mostly cheap towers of different heights. The tallest of them, the GAN tower, measured 200 meters.The height of several towers, and in particular the GAN tower caused a public outcry as the 'forest of towers' disturbs the view on the Arc de Triomphe as seen from the Etoile. Partly in response to this criticism a new monument was built at the entrance of the Défense as a counterweight for the Arc de Triomphe: The Tête Défense , also known as the Grande Arche de la Défense.
The project to build the 'Grande Arche' was initiated by the French president Mitterand. He wanted a XXth century Arc de Triomphe. The design of the Danish architect Otto van Spreckelsen looks more like a cube-shaped building than an arch of triumph. It is a 106 meters white building with the middle part left open. The sides of the cube contain offices. You can take a lift to the top of the Arche de la Defense, from where you have a nice view on the city center which is only 4 km further.
The modern district of La Défense deserves that the tourists take the time to make a small tour there.
It is a business district, with big towers that welcome the seats social of big French enterprises, but it is also a modern vision of the city, and a space of walk to the heart of the city.
Fondest memory: Since the esplanade, the tourist will have a very beautiful point of view on Paris, and, while paying, he can go up to the summit of l'Arche, and to take advantage of the spectacular panorama.
La Défense it is also an immense shopping mall, the CNIT (center of convention), a district of dwellings...
Shining in the sun of one thousand fires these watches of steel, concrete and glass tempts to make themselves intriguing.
The lines balance themselves.
The immensity of the buildings seems to want to impose the power of the transnational society that to established there its seat social and each building seems in war against its neighbors.
Fondest memory: Since the basis of la Grande Arche one dominates the esplanade where is constantly agitated all a world of small laborious ants.
Here, the worker finds everything that it is necessary to win his money and to spend it immediately.
In this space constantly in yard, loud, stressful hive, the esplanade remains a space where, if one wishes it, it is possible to expand a little.
this district gets its name from a monument commemoring the defense of Paris in 1871.
The business area project was launched in 1955-1957 by architects: Camelot, De Mailly, Zehrfuss to build the CNIT Building.
The Arche de La Defense (1983-1989), was designed by Danish OTTO VON SPRECKELSEN; it 's an open cube, with sides 100 M. (325 ft).
The arch has 4000 windows, and 35 000 marble slabs (falling sometimes).
Fondest memory: Here is my office
92972 LA DEFENSE CEDEX
01 5898 2560
I was sufficiently intrigued by the "cubist" appearance of La Grande Arche de La Défense that I decided to hop on the next Métro underground train.... and took a ride to the western terminus of "Line 1", just across the river Seine, to check the place out.
Wow, Paris really smells different from other cities. This is due to the large volumes of very choice fragrances which have been used in a relatively small area over the ages. The fragrant volatile organic compounds are absorbed into the superstructure, where they mature over time to produce the fragrance of Paris today.
Visit La Defense - the district of the 21st century. Here you'll see skyscrapers like in New York. It's the economic and financial centre of the city.
Fondest memory: Enjoy the sight of Grand Arch of La Defense! It is so huge that Notre-Dame can be inserted inside.
Visit La Defense.
It's very surreal. It seems that there are never lots of people there. Look for the robot window washers, and walk around and find the weird little art exhibits outside at the far end before the bridge above the road.
Favorite thing: La Grande Arch is an awesome example of modern architecture! The walls of this gigantic open cube rise shear in seeming defiance of gravity. With its pre-stressed concrete frame, faced in glass and white Carrara marble, the building weighs 300,000 tons and is carried on 12 enormous piles sunk in the below-ground area. The cathedral of Notre-Dame with its spire could fit into the space between the walls of the arch. The south vertical wall houses government ministry offices and the north wall major French and international companies. The 3-story thick roof is occupied by the International Foundation for Human Rights. The vertical poles towards the left on the interior of the arch support an elevator which can be taken to the roof. The front steps are a great place to hang out, eat lunch, and enjoy the sights of La Défense.
Favorite thing: The Grand Arch and La Défense is a few kilometers northwest from the Arch de Triumph on Avenue Des Champs Elysees. The La Défense complex of futuristic office buildings is the most ambitious town planning project ever taken in the Paris region. The project began around 1960, and now there are over 48 towers providing office space for over 900 companies. The area reminded me much of the financial district on the south end of Manhattan in New York.
Go toLa Defenseand take a view from the top of the Grand Arche
In La Defense you find a very large shoppingmall. A good alternative for a rainy day