Friday, May 06, 2005

Grande Arche (big arch) in La Défense

I took this photo at La Défense, the same day I took this one. La Défense is the name of a modern business area located just about a mile away from the north western limits of Paris and it is mostly composed of magnificent skyscrapers. You must pay a visit to this quarter if you come to Paris. (No, I don’t work for the tourism office, I just think it’s worth visiting new buildings as much as old stones!)
If you do, you will see this Grande Arche (big arch) built by Danish architect Otto van Spreckelsen in 1989 for the 200th anniversary of the 1789 French revolution. It is a 106 meter high cube and it's made of concrete frame covered with glass and marble. If you have the chance to go up top you will see a gorgeous view of Paris up to the Louvre Museum.


  1. I understand French,but English I know better(I am from Russia).
    I've been to Paris last May and La Defense became one of my favourite places in this city.Paris has different places of interest and Grande Arche is one of them!It often dreams me as well as Notre Damme and Louvre!(sorry for my English)!!!

  2. I adore your pictures. Thanks for sharing. Nancy

  3. It would be more accurate to say that van Spreckelsen designed it since he died 2 years before the Arch was finished..

    I share Fred's opinion on the La Defense's buildings. There is nothing magnificent there except La Grande Arche. Even in Boston, we do have better skyscrapers; one was designed by Pei, the same architect who did the pyramid in Le Louvre.

    JM- (je sais, I am a pain in the neck.. :~)

  4. Just to say that, in fact, La Défense is not included in Paris. This area stays on three suburban towns near Paris : Courbevoie, Nanterre and, for the largest part, Puteaux.
    I was living in Puteaux when La Défense came out of the ground, around 30 years ago. Before those towers, there were a lot of little houses, what we call "pavillons" in french. It's difficult for me to see La Défense as beautiful when I remember this past (yes I'm talking like an old man...).
    And sorry, my english is not as good as Eric's one. Eric, you're my model !

  5. LOL Isido! Do I know you?

    Anyway thanks for the additional info. It's true La Défense does not belong to Paris... But, well, it's so close! Moreover, it's called "Paris Le Défense", so don't I have the right to cheat a little?!

    And BTW, not only was this area full of small houses but it was also known - back in the early 70's - for being the last area in France where slums could still be found...

    I understand not everybody shares the same enthusiasm as I do with this modern area. Well it's a matter a taste I suppose... I still think visitors should pay it a visit just to make their own jugdment.

    And while you're there do also pay a visit to "La Défense Museum" (easy to find on the Esplanade) there you will see the whole history of the place including the story about the Grande Arche and some of the projects (including one of the most beautiful towers I have ever seen) that never saw the light of day...

  6. > Nancy, thanx a lot. Feel free to come here as much as you want!! Where are you from?

  7. Do you know me ? Ben un peu, gars. Depuis près de 20 ans, même... T'as été mon chef, j'ai été ton chef... Ca te donne une piste ? Et le basket-champagne ?
    Sinon, ca veut dire quoi, "slum" ? Je retrouve pas mon dico d'anglais...
    BF (là, si tu vois pas de qui il s'agit, je pleure !!!)

  8. Isido, t'es pas le seul mon vieux.. Ca fait plus de 25 ans que je le connais, et y me dis, JM je voyais pas qui c'etait.. Le blog ca attaque les neurones serieux.. :~))

    Bon, alors, cette Ferrari, quel modele? Huh?


  9. JM, on est donc deux victimes du "blogage à plein tube"... Faut dire, j'suis pas étonné, le père Eric se souvient même plus du prénom d'Alzheimer (isn't it ?). ;-)
    Quant à la Ferrari, plus ça va, plus je penche pour une 365 California. Va voir le lien que j'ai placé sur l'autre post, ca me semble convaincant.

  10. Oui, je crois que tu as raison, ca y ressemble tres fort. Je ne vois pas l'echancrure sur la porte mais ca ne veut pas dire qu'elle n'y est pas. Va donc pour une Ferrari 365 California. Bravo!
    Bon, mais tout ca, ca ne nous dit pas l'annee modele.. ;~)

    On est un peu hors-sujet ici. Il n'y avait pas un musee automobile a la Defense?


  11. Eric, thanks for the welcome. I'm from the US, Kansas. Much different than Paris!

  12. isido: Selon le dictionnaire d'Altavista (, "slum" veut dire "taudis".

    Eric, j'ai trouvé ton blog il y a quelques semaines et maintenant je le visite tous les jours. J'aime Paris et j'espère pouvoir aller de nouveau.

    Pardonne ma mauvaise orthographe, je suis du Chili.

  13. je sais un petit petit petit petit petit peu francais. (Je suis fromage [;>)]) i am in my second semester of french I. a freshman (seconde) in le lycee and am doing a prject on la defence, but i must say that if i was in paris, i would not go all the way to la defence, unless i was really sick of all the old style buildings. also, it doesn't look like la grande arche is really an arch. it has corners. j'ai fatigue! ou revoir! je suis retarde pour le course de anglais. (desole if i mangled grammer and or spelling)