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The history of La Défense goes back to 1950 when the Federation of Engineering Industries planned to construct the large exhibition hall CNIT on a triangular plot of land. This area lies at the city border of Paris next to the site which is today known as the business district La Défense.

In 1960 the three architects of the CNIT suggested to extend a major boulevard next to CNIT by bordering it with tall office and apartment buildings that would be linked by overhead walkways. Convinced by government authorities and the CNIT's presence, the ESSO company bought a plot of land in 1957 on which to built its new Paris headquarters.

In 1989 the Grande Arche - a veritable monument to the 20th century - enhanced the business district's international dimension and opened the view westward onto new urbanization. EPAD is moving forward with new urbanization plans that will rise on top of the underground A-14 motorway.

Today 140,000 people work and 30,000 people live in La Défense.

Part 1 : Eiffel Tower

La Grande Arche

















The view from the top :















Ground Level































 

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You can take an elevator to the top level outdoor observation deck of the Grande Arche for a price, but the view is only towards the east (Arc de Triomphe) and the western side is barricaded. There is also an indoor art exhibition on the top floor.
 

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Another great set of photos!! The photo of the Grande Arche and the square in front of it captures the immense size of the Arche perfectly. Great job on all the photos.
 

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@hkskyline : How can you waste your time in La Défense taking pics of boring mid-rises when you live in H-K? ;)
 

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La Défense's planning style is actually much different from the typical HK neighborhood. I particularly liked the central axis with a larger promenade looking straight towards the Arc de Triomphe. I would've liked a bit more variety in the architectural style and the district reminds me of Canary Wharf but in a different setting.

It's a nice contrast to the old architecture of Paris that is so abundant and beautiful.
 

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

La Défense, the new skyline of ParisLa Défense is a district of high-rise offices, apartment blocks and shopping complexes over part of the communes of Nanterre, Courbevoie and Puteaux (all in the Hauts-de-Seine département), to the west of Paris.


At the western end is a large transport interchange, built around and over the railway station which predates the modern development. It includes a bus station, the terminus of the T2 tram line, a station on RER line A, and the terminus of Line 1 of the Paris Metro, "La Défense (Grande Arche)." Line 1 also has a station at the eastern end, closer to Paris, called the "Esplanade de La Défense".

La Défense is named for the statue, La Défense de Paris, which was built in 1883 to commemorate the soldiers who had defended Paris during the Franco-Prussian War. The name of the area sometimes causes confusion with foreigners, who assume it has something to do with the military.


In September 1958, The Public Establishment for Installation of La Défense (EPAD) was created by the state to manage and bring life to the quarter. La Défense began designing itself: the first buildings (of which ESSO was the very first) were built and began to slowly replace the city's factories, shanties, and even a few farms. The Center of New Industries and Technologies (CNIT) was built and first used in 1958. These "first generation" sky-scrapers were all identical, limited to a height of 100 meters. In 1966, the Nobel Tower was the first office building built in the area.


In the early 1970s, in response to great demand, the second generation buildings began to appear. Unfortunately, the economic crisis in 1973 nearly halted all progress in the area. In relaunching the construction, third generation towers were built as early as the early 1980's. The biggest commercial center in Europe (at the time), the Quatre Temps, was created in 1981. In 1982, the EPAD launched the Tête Défense competition to find a monument to complete the Axe historique, which eventually led to the construction of Grande Arche at the west end of the quarter. During the same period, hotels were constructed, the CNIT was restructured, and line 1 of the Paris metro was extended to La Défense (the extension was first used in 1992), which made the area readily accessible to even more of the city.


In 1993, La Défense saw its second crisis. The area was forced to wait until 1997 for a significant upturn in visitors. Today, La Défense is the biggest working quarter in all of Europe.


The main corporations are: Cegetel, Société Générale, Total, Aventis, and Arcelor. The biggest skyscraper belongs to Total, constructed in 1985. It is 187 metres high, has 48 floors, and is the second highest building in the Paris area (the first is the Tour Montparnasse).




and a picture i really like, on the north side of La Défense :
 
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