Monday, April 19, 2010

La Défense

The French only built one skyscraper in central Paris, the Tour Montparnasse, and immediately regretted it. All the other highrise buildings are exiled beyond the Péripherique, the beltway that separates central Paris from its suburbs. Most of the skyscrapers are clustered in La Défense, a planned business section in northwest Paris. A friend once suggested that Mme Le Chef and I visit it, but I was enthralled by old Paris and pooh-poohed the idea. Then one day we happened to be in the bus station underneath La Défense and decided to take a look. When we came up from below we saw this.

It's the Grande Arche, an office building shaped like, yep, a hugh arch.

It justifies the use of the word, "monumental".

The Grande Arche was designed and situated to echo the Arc de Triomphe, which can be seen from it, in the distance. They are laid out out in a line called the Arc historique.

This axis is continued on the opposite side of the Grande Arche, where a pedestrian path leads off to the further suburbs and beyond.

These photos are from 2007.

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