La Defense Hotels

La Defense Hotels French VersionVersion Francaise

About La Défense

If the area surrounding the Arc de Triomphe is the cultural and historic center of Paris, then its business center is La Defense. Located on the west end of the Champs-Elysees, La Defense represents 21st century France.

A trip to La Defense provides Paris visitors a better understanding of the city as both a historic icon as well as a modern capital. La Defense serves as the core of French business and industry. Within its 400 acres are the headquarters of many of France's most important businesses. 20,000 people live and work in the district and one of Europe's largest shopping malls, the Quatre Temps, is located here. There are several hotels, restaurants, and boutiques in the district, although the area can seem quiet on weekends once the office workers leave.

The tallest skyscrapers in Paris are jumbled together in this area and seem to jostle with each other for the best spot of real estate. The view from the Arc de Triomphe down the Champs-Elysees focuses on these monumental buildings of the capital and industry. After a quick trip on the Metro, tourists can be whisked from the historic center of Paris with its kings and revolutions to the heart of the 21st century and the soaring skyscrapers of La Defense.

The River Seine is the dividing line between old and new Paris. Across the Seine, the new Paris of La Defense is centered around the statue, La Defense de Paris. This monument commemorates the protection of the city by soldiers during the Franco-Prussian war of 1870. The first skyscrapers were constructed during the late 1950s, when this mostly rural ghetto was perceived as the perfect spot for a modernization project. Two more periods of construction and renovation in the 1970s and 1980s continued to urbanize the area with more office towers and business centers.

Probably the most visited building in La Defense is the Grande Arch. This modernistic interpretation of the Arc de Triomphe is a cube-shaped structure, which was completed in 1989. The Grande Arch and the Louvre anchor the ends of the Champs-Elysees, with the original Arc de Triomphe presiding over the center. In addition, the Grand Arch is in the direct line of sight to two other well-known structures, the Eiffel Tower and the Tour Montparnasse. Government offices occupy the sides of the Grande Arch cube but the rooftop observation station is currently closed to the public.