La Défense Paris

Arc to ArcI journeyed to an area in Paris few visitors see.  It is Monday in Paris which means many places are closed like markets and some museums.  The museums that are open are probably crazy busy, so I wanted to escape the crowds and visit the modern city.  I knew there was a Grande Arche and an esplanade, but I had no idea how much there was to see and do there.

First, the arch is HUGE!  Notre Dame could fit under it.  I’m sure there are sights you can see inside, but I stuck with an exterior perspective.  If you look far into the distance, you can see another famous arch: the Arc de Triomphe.  Some think that the arches line up, but not quite.

Walking down from the arch you see sculpture, skyscrapers, and green space.  The area is broken into areas given different names.  Some areas include Iris, Bellini, and Vosges.  I spent a little time in Alsace since that is a place I want to visit someday.  That was my only logic for picking the area.  I don’t think I even fully explored the entire space.  There is so much to see and do that you can easily fill a day in this area if you’ve spent a fair amount of time seeing all of the other musts.

If you need to get your shopping bug cured, there is a mall with more than 250 stores. Feeling up for a movie?  There is also a cinema and many restaurants.  This is where I stopped for lunch to fill my Italian craving.  I met an older businessman from Holland that spoke English well (I originally wrote spoke good English and then realized I should probably use proper English myself).  Tables in France are so close we basically were sitting together, so why not have a little conversation.

Something possessed me to think it would be a good idea to walk back from the Grand Arch to the Marais where I am staying.  That is over a 10k walk after all of the other walking I did (which probably over 15k all together).  There was a 10k run yesterday, and I was thinking I’d like to get some exercise and do a 10k walk.  Well, I did it.  Seeing major landmarks along the way provides motivation.  On my way home I passed the Arc de Triomphe, Concorde, Tuileries, Louvre, and Hotel de Ville.  I passed a lot of other places, but I’m not exactly sure what some of them were.  Let’s just say that putting my feet up feels pretty good right now.

So, if you are a seasoned Paris visitor, or have plenty of time to explore, it may be time you finally made it out to this other Paris.  It is an easy metro ride and worth viewing to gain perspective on the modern, business world of the city.  If you are coming in 2020, there will be a major exposition it seems.  If you plan your travels that far in advance.

Have you been?  What were your thoughts?

12 thoughts on “La Défense Paris

  1. Wow! What an interesting place. Love the geometric shapes and the wonderful sculptures. The multi-coloured building makes my eyes hurt! The carousel looks quite out of place though. Sounds as though you definitely need to put your feet up and have another glass of wine after your busy day.
    Jude xx

  2. The arches were supposed to line up but the Grand Arch had to be adjusted due to subways or sewers or something, I forget exactly what. Thanks for posting about this, there is a lot more here than I thought.

  3. That part of town definitely looks more modern, but it is no less beautiful than the traditional tourist center! All of the art and architecture is like colorful candy for the eyes 🙂

  4. I am so glad you went there! Can you believe it, underneath the Grand Arche (under the white sails with the holes in them) is a university! I studied there last year. The glass structure under the arche and the sails has escalators, which take you to a level beneath the arche, where these is a circular platform with doors to the university ( you need a student card to get in). Below that level, is a tunnel which just joins up to the stairs not far from the arche.

    I was told that my university was under the Grande Arche and I thought yeah yeah I bet it’s a few blocks away and you can see it from some of the windows – I was SO surprised when it was literally underneath the arche! It was a pretty cool place to go to class every day 🙂

    La Defense is a great area, the shopping mall is nice enough and a short walk behind the arche are little gardens. I will let you know when I end up doing my post about La Defense – although it sounds like you’ve covered it so well! Good on you for exploring outside “romantic” Paris.

    I can’t believe you walked! Haha. Every day I just took two RERs, it took about an hour but I can’t imagine walking!

    There is an interesting story about that thumb statue too – I can’t remember what country, but it was a gift from an Asian country and they have the same statue in their own city! One of my peers was from that city, which was cool.

    1. That is so awesome that you went to school there. What an experience that must have been! I’d love to read your post on the area when you write it. I know I missed a lot, but there was so much to see.

  5. The Grande Arche is spectacular. I remember being there 10 years ago and by your pictures the artwork is quite different. It still looks like such a fun atmosphere. I am still trying to wrap my brain around your idea of walking all that way. Good for you! You are going to be in the best shape ever.

    1. I’m not exactly sure why I wanted to walk back, but I figured I would be passing beautiful scenery along the way, so I could do it. You’d think my feet would start getting used to walking so much, but they still get tired. I’m hoping I can find some good shots on my walk today.

  6. Hello! I just would like to give a huge thumbs up for the great info you have here on this post. I will be coming back to your blog for more soon.

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