La Défense, Paris
Frenchmen as usually surprise all the world with the original understanding of architectural decisions. First all the world was surprised with singularity of Tour d'Eiffel, including its ugly impregnation in a landscape of Paris. Later the world was surprised with ugliness of the center of Pompidou. Precisely also it seems surprisingly inharmonious the decision of construction of area Defens with its skyscrapers. Perhaps, after a while we shall get used and we shall admire with its beauty?
You can watch my 2 min 27 sec Video Paris La Défense out of my Youtube channel.
Came across this quite impressive 'coffee table' type book recently. Paris, despite being one of the finest looking cities in the world has always had a reputation of embracing the 'new'. After all, it's most famous structure was years ahead of it's time when it was erected.
This book vistis the obvious modern choices of Grand Projets like the Grande Arch at La Defence, Mitterrand's Library and the silly pyramids at the Lourve, but also looks at some of the more out of the way places. A fascinating insight.
Where the Louvre is the place to be in Paris if you love old art, La Defense is the same for modern art-lovers. Both modern architecture and modern art visible here. This tip is about some beautiful pieces of art in the centre of La Defense:
One of the most colourful pieces of art is definitely the fantasy-sculptures of Joan Miro, at the central square in from of the Grande Arche. The red-blue-yellow-white and black shapes suggest that only childish fantasy can bring life into a concrete desert like La Defense.
A bit further to the centre of Paris, away from the Grande Arche, you?ll find a wonderful fountain made by Yaacov Agam. It?s very colourful, and if there is water inside, it moves to the rhythm of music.
There also is a steel construction called Stabile l?Araignee, made by the American artist Calder. It?s a huge red, heavy construction that indicates that there is still contact with the earth, although all the high building only move away from the earth. The bows in this construction show the bond with Mother earth.
And then, at the beginning of La Defense, all the way to the centre, and at the end, behind the Grande Arche, there are two identical pieces of art: two ponds with lots of metal pillar with flashlights attached. It shows the ends of the peaceful, traffic-free area of La Defense, and the beginning of the loud world of heavy traffic, airports and metro-stations. The water under the pillars shows the peacefulness of La Defense.
The French seem to have a passionate need to put a piece of art in any open space that they come across.
the business district of La Defense is no exception, with the main concourse between the Esplanade metro station and the Grande Arch proving to be a perfect setting for the deranged outpourings of an array of modern artists.
The Miro of two giant humanoid type figures (well if you have a warped mind , perhaps) is perhaps the most important, but there are plenty of others which may take your fancy. I especially like the group of figures around the Esplanade station, that also has a couple more casting a rather weird eye of you as you enter the Line 1 platform heading towards the centre. I also liked the pond in the same area which affords a great view along the main 'axis' of Paris, through the Arc d'triomphe to the Lourve in the distance.
Nearer the arch you will find a more traditional scuplutre that shows the manning of a the barricades in the real 'defense' of the city in the Franco Prussian war. It is this statue that has given the are it's name when it began to take shape in the 1960's. At least the sixties architecture is stuck out here, rather than along the Champs-elysee as Le Corbusier had envisaged.
Lots of people probably won´t even see this statue, but for me it was big fun. Walking from the Grande Arche towards metrostation Esplanade de la Défense (line 1), I was amazed by this wonderful statue of Mister Frog.
I´m a big frog lover, even though they are made out of bronze and 2 metres high. This one even has a tiny little frog in its mouth too.
Haha, just loved it :D
It's great to leave Paris as we all know it and find yourself in the middle of the modern buildings. And La Grande Arche is magnificent and worth seeing. Stand in the middle of the Grand Arch and take a look towards Louvre - You will see Arc de Triumphe, Champs Elysee, Place de la Concorde, Tuileries Gardens and Louvre standing in the same axis.
Developed in the 1960's as a business district, la Défense came back to light after the construction of la Grande Arche in 1990. La Défense is officially located outside the city of Paris and completes the axis that runs from le Louvre and through l'Arc de Triomphe. Ambitious building projects continue to be built in what has become one of Europe's biggest business districts. Apart from la Grande Arche, the stunning Mitterand-era cube, there is little for tourists to see, as most of the district is dedicated to businesses.
La defense - La grande Arche
Large office block at la Défense near Paris, shaped like a square archway. From the centre of Paris, you can take the subway (line 1) to la Défense.
The Arch at La Defense is on a straight line with L'Arc du Triomphe and The Carrousel Arch in front of the Louvre. It is one of Francois Mitterand's "Grand Projets." Access is as simple as taking Metro Line 1 to either La Defense, or if you want the experience of walking towards the Arch, get off at Esplanade de La Defense. The name refers to the office-park and surrounding areas, but most people mean the arch when they say La Defense.
GRANDE ARCHE DE LA DEFENSE
A NICE MONUMENT THAT YOU CAN ACCESS
TO THE TOP WITH PANORAMIC ELEVATORS,
VIEW FROM 110 METERS
OPEN FROM 9:30 AM TO 8:00 PM
price 46 FF -
33 01 49 07 2757- 1 PARVIS DE LA DEFENSE
As already stated at the beginning of this page. The new neighborhood 'La Defence' with it's huge officeblocks and the 'Grande Arch'. A very different kind of Paris then the classical buildings in the (old) centre. Nice is that the whole centre of the district is pedestrian zone, which results in a very quiet and clean area. Roads, as well as parkinghouses, metro, are subterranean.
It’s a new business district in Paris. La Grande Arche is the most spectacular thing here. This building was create by Johan-Otto von Spreckelsen and inaugurated in 1989. It is 112 m high and 70 m wide (as Avenue des Champs Élysées) – the third monumental and beautiful arc in Paris. But the whole area is very interesting too – a different and modern face of Paris. Among the high towers you find lovely and funny fountains, statues, green corners – perfect place for nice walk.
Metro – La Défence – line 1 (you have to buy a ticket valid in this zone of Paris – usually tickets are valid only for the 1st and 2nd zones)
Le Grande, sometimes it's called the new Arc De Triomphe, is a breath-taking post-modern building. It's easy to get to (take the metro and get off at La Defense), and it's not as crowded as other sites in the central Paris.
Another thing that is a little bit off the beaten path is 'La Défense', an business district with the impressive Grand Arche. Travelogue
La défense - with the grand arche, is the modern quarter of Paris city centre. It's a must-see for fans of sterile urban architecture, for school trips or if you simply enjoy contrasts. I'm not sure I really liked it but it's surely interesting: it gives you a glimpse of how an art city can be ruined.