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Paris/La Défense

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La Défense is the modern high-rise and office-tower district of Paris, located beyond the arrondissements of central Paris at the start of the western outskirts of the city, beyond the last Parisian loop of the river Seine. La Défense is the site of the Grande Arche, one of Paris' most modern and imposing landmarks, situated at the western end of the grand axis formed by the Champs-Elysées, the Place de la Concorde and the Arc de Triomphe.

La Défense is a purpose-built business district; in the 1960s, Charles de Gaulle led an effort to level the area and concentrate skyscrapers in a single business district, rather than altering the character of downtown Paris with large commercial buildings.

La Défense

Get in

By métro

  • La Défense (ligne 1, and RER line A)
  • Esplanade de la Défense (ligne 1)

Note: Both stations are in zone 3, but can also be accessed using a T+ ticket or a zone 1-2 only pass.

By train

La Défense can be reached on RER A, Transilien L, Transilien U, tramway T2, station La Défense. It can be very confusing but 'Les Quatres Temps' is color coded. There are many maps around the shopping center.

See

Grande Arche
La Défense seen from Arc de Triomphe
  • Skyscrapers in all shapes and forms. Driving - and walking - around the area can be visually stimulating, if you find pleasure in modern glass-and-steel construction.
  • The Grande Arche de la Defense, a high-rise building that looks more like hollow cube than an actual arch, has a viewing platform on its top. Entrance fee is € 7.50; this does include the various small art exhibitions of more or less unknown artists on the upper floor as a "bonus". Definitely recommended for the view. Lines tend to be short.

Do

Buy

For shopping, the "Quatre Temps" shopping mall, which when constructed was the largest shopping centre in Europe, has numerous big name as well as small stores, several cinemas (showing French and subtitled foreign movies) as well as a large supermarket and grocery store. It is accessible from an entrance to the left of the "Grande Arche" or via the metro station.

Eat

Besides the 40+ food and snack places at the 4 Temps, rue de Bezons has a few budget eateries, including a good bakery, a couple of Turkish joints and a McDonald's that normally stays open until midnight.

The La Coupole underground gallery, accessible through exit G of the metro station, is somewhat depressing but convenient for its restaurants and express cafés.

Drink

Sleep

The area around Place Charras, in Courbevoie is a short bus ride or a 15-minute walk away from the metro. It has a few hotels such as a Mercure and the basic but moderately priced hotel-residence Citéa, which hosts foreign students from the Alliance Française in Paris.

  • Hotel Mercure Paris La Defense 5, 18-30 rue Baudin, Place Charras, +33 (0)1 49 04 75 00, [1].
  • Citéa La Défense Place Charras, 1, rue de Bitche, +33 1 56 37 72 00, [2].


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