GUIDE DE LA DEFENSE
One goes to Cancun for the beaches, to Venice for the arts or to Vegas for gambling. If you are going to La Défense, you are probably going there for work. No need to be Sherlock Holmes there, La Défense is the first European business district, with over 2500 companies. You can work in La Défense, eat in la Défense, sleep in la Défense. And that's what most people do in La Défense.
But as you are here, hunting for information while packing your suitcase or simply curious because you don't understand while your job sends you just a few cities away from the City of Lights instead of offering you the opportunity to stay in Paris itself, you already feel that there might more to this weird land than just people in suits and cubicles.
A guide to La Défense intends to lift up the veil on what most people don't see in what is probably one of the most amazing open air museum on Earth.
Just like any other guide, you will find the information classified according to different themes: Generality, History, Art, Architecture, Restaurants. Get ready to be surprised, as this new Parisian neighborhood offers untold mysteries, exquisite art and breathtaking points of view, just like the Latin Quarter or the Champs-Elysées... As Aldous Huxley used to say: “To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries”.
You might even discover that with your local colleagues...
And now, let's discover La Défense...
La Défense & the Athens Charter, a 20th Century Utopia
If La Défense manages to be both so modern and so classical, it’s because the Business District goes by the rational of an utopian city as founf in the Athens Charter. While the whole world praises ornements and Déco, the 4th Congrès International d’Architecture Moderne ends in 1933 on a ship going from Marseilles to [...]
La Défense de Paris by Louis-Ernest Barrias
With its location on a hill, by the river, in the axis of the Champs-Elysées, La Défense has been inspiring rulers and political powers for monumental ornaments. The first one to really do it is Napoleon. After all, the Champs-Elysées was his Imperial Way, with all the different monuments to his glory, from his house [...]
Venet’s crazy lines: a bit of chaos in a vertical world
Among the perfect towers and the black suit salary men, in the middle of the way, lies an interesting chaos of intertwined metal beams. Doubles Lignes Indéterminées exists in the utopian business district of La Défense just like a naked blond springbreaker would in a cardinal’s conclave. It is the best way to see, in [...]
Discover Europe’s largest business district: La Défense
As Paris hosts 28 million visitors, a lot of them also come for business, and if you do, chances are you will go to La Défense at one point. But besides the usual office towers, la Défense is an utterly interesting neighborhood of Paris and an open air museum that deserves a guided tour. From [...]
Two colorful dancers in the corporate surroundings of la Defense: Joan Miro’s gift to the Business world
As one contemplates the amazing landscape of towers and salary men, suddenly the eye gets caught by two huge dancers, in what appears to be the changing shape and sharp movements of a carnival. This surrealist couple seems to be evolving in a huge ballroom, which walls and columns would be the endless skyscrappers all [...]
Le Sain Sert, when the purest French tradition lies by the most modern business district
When stuck in a never ending meeting, in a contemporary corporate tower, didn’t you ever dreamed like you would be somewhere else, another place, where the time stopped and the best tradtion is brought to you with century old talent and in the nice, casual way of the province? Like stopping at a little inn [...]
Short term apartment rental in La Défense: Feel at home during your work mission!
Chances are you will be going to la Défense for work. But instead of commuting with the 160 000 salary men every day, beating traffic by staying on the spot can be smart, and even pleasant. As one can easily imagine, commuting to Europe’s largest Business District can be a hassle, especially if you are [...]
The Grande Arche, a monumental way to celebrate the French Revolution
After 20 years of discussion on how to end or carry on the perspective of the Champs-Elysées in La Défense, President François Mitterand launches a contest in 1981. A perfectly unknown Danish architect, Johann-Otto von Spreckelsen, is going to win, and shortly after the works of a monumental arch to commemorate the Bicentennial of the [...]
Transportation: a work in Progress
La Défense is the first business district in Europe, and was created from scratch in the 60s…So all transportation systems had to be created to make this corporate dream possible. In the 70s, public transporation was not in fashion, and everyone was thought to use personal cars in the future, which is why the structure [...]
The CNIT, a Cathedral for the Space Age
If a monument should be remembered for post-war France, it has to be the CNIT. The forefather of all of la Défense’s buildings was made years before the Business District fate of the hill was decided, back in the 50s. Inaugurated by President René Coty in 1958, the world’s most impressing concrete vault broke all records. [...]