|• Total||5.6 km2 (2.2 sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
La Défense (French: [la de.fɑ̃s]) is a major business district in France, located 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) west of the city limits of Paris. It is part of the Paris metropolitan area in the Île-de-France region, located in the department of Hauts-de-Seine in the communes of Courbevoie, La Garenne-Colombes, Nanterre, and Puteaux.
La Défense is Europe's largest purpose-built business district, covering 560 hectares (1,400 acres), for 180,000 daily workers, with 72 glass and steel buildings (of which 20 are completed skyscrapers, out of 24 in the Paris region), and 3,500,000 square metres (38,000,000 sq ft) of office space. Around its Grande Arche and esplanade ("le Parvis"), La Défense contains many of the Paris urban area's tallest high-rises. Westfield Les Quatre Temps, a large shopping mall in La Défense, has 220 stores, 48 restaurants and a 24-screen movie theatre.
The district is located at the westernmost extremity of the 10-kilometre-long (6.2 mi) Axe historique ("historical axis") of Paris, which starts at the Louvre in Central Paris and continues along the Champs-Élysées, well beyond the Arc de Triomphe along the Avenue de la Grande Armée before culminating at La Défense. The district is centred in an orbital motorway straddling the Hauts-de-Seine department communes of Courbevoie, La Garenne-Colombes, Nanterre and Puteaux. La Défense is primarily a business district and hosts a population of 50,000 permanent residents and 75,000 students. La Défense is also visited by 8,000,000 tourists each year and houses an open-air museum.
In September 1958, the Public Establishment for Installation of La Défense (EPAD) buildings (of which the Esso Tower was the very first) were constructed and began to slowly replace the city's factories, shanties, and even a few farms. The Centre of New Industries and Technologies (CNIT) was built and first used in 1958. These "first generation" skyscrapers were all very similar in appearance, limited to a height of 100 metres (330 ft). In 1966, the Nobel Tower was the first office skyscraper built in the area. In 1970, the RER line A railway was opened from La Défense to Étoile. In 1974, a contract for a Défense-Cergy high-speed hovercraft train was signed and soon abandoned.
In the early 1970s, in response to great demand, a second generation of buildings began to appear, but the economic crisis in 1973 nearly halted all construction in the area. A third generation of towers began to appear in the early 1980s. The biggest shopping centre 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 in 1992, Line 1 of the Paris Métro was extended to La Défense, which made the area readily accessible to more of the city.
On Bastille Day 1990, French electronic composer Jean-Michel Jarre staged an ambitious concert at the site, using the Grande Arche and three of the area's towers as projection screens, and building a pyramidal stage above the road. The free concert, titled Paris la Défense, attracted two million spectators, stretching all the way back to the Arc de Triomphe. This beat Jarre's own previous world record for the largest attendance for a musical concert. After Jean Michel Jarre, German DJ Sash! and the singer La Trec set the video clip for their song Stay at La Défense in 1997.
After a stagnation in new development in the mid-1990s, La Défense is once again expanding and is now the largest purpose-built business district in Europe.
Major corporations headquartered at La Défense include Neuf Cegetel, Société Générale, TotalEnergies, Aventis, Areva, and Arcelor. The tallest skyscraper, the Tour First belongs to AXA, constructed in 1974. It is 231 metres (758 ft) high, has 50 floors, and is the highest inhabited building in the Paris area. This title was previously held by the Tour Montparnasse, which was the tallest inhabited building until the Tour First was renovated between 2007 and 2011, bringing it to its current height from a previous 159 metres (522 ft); the tallest structure in Paris is the Eiffel Tower.
In December 2005, Bernard Bled, CEO and chairman of EPAD (La Defense Management and Development Office) announced an ambitious nine-year development plan called "La Defense 2006–2015". This important modernisation plan has to give a new dimension to the district and focuses on four main axes: regenerate outdated skyscrapers, allow new buildings, improve the balance between offices and residential housing, and make the transport of local employees from their homes to La Défense easier. There are three aims: building 150,000 square metres (1,600,000 sq ft) of offices within demolition/rebuilding projects, building 300,000 square metres (3,200,000 sq ft) of offices within new projects, and building 100,000 square metres (1,100,000 sq ft) of housing.
In July 2006, the government confirmed this plan, which has to be carried out around 2015. It is justified by the strong estate pressure, which plays in favour of building new skyscrapers near Paris. Those constructions have the advantage of being more economical than small buildings. But it will have to overcome some difficulties: the French economy faces a short-term slowdown; the government is trying to balance tertiary sector employment in the whole region again, because today La Défense concentrates a major part of those jobs; and traffic is already saturated in the district, while it would need huge investments to extend transport infrastructures.
It launched high-profile international competitions and/or construction approval of several key 300-to-320-metre (980 to 1,050 ft) tall sustainable development-style skyscrapers such as Tour Signal, Tour Phare, Hermitage Plaza, and Tour Generali. During said December 2005 Press Conference, EPAD released to the public an elaborate 3D animation film titled La Défense 2016.
Paris La Défense brings together the cluster of Leonardo da Vinci University Center and 5 business schools: EDC Paris Business School, ESSEC Business School, ICN Graduate Business School, IESEG School of Management and SKEMA Business School. It is also home to the European School of Paris-La Défense, an international primary and secondary school that was accredited as a European School in 2020.
- Divided into 4 major sectors
- 1,400 acres (5.7 km2)
- 3,500,000 square metres (38,000,000 sq ft) of offices
- 310,000 square metres (3,300,000 sq ft) of flagstone and sidewalk
- 245,000 square metres (2,640,000 sq ft) of shops (including the 140,000 square metres (1,500,000 sq ft) Westfield Les Quatre Temps Shopping Mall)
- 110,000 square metres (1,200,000 sq ft) of greenery
- 180,000 employees
- 70,000 students
- 50,000 residents
- 2,600 hotel rooms
- 1,500 businesses
- 500+ companies
- 150 restaurants
- 61 skyscrapers, 76m (250 ft) average building height
View from Arc de Triomphe at night.
View from Eiffel Tower.
Western part of La Défense as seen from the Grande Arche.
La Défense from the top of the Grande Arche.
- César, Thumb (1965)
- Joan Miró, Two fantastic characters (1976)
- Alexander Calder, Red Spider (1976)
- Yaacov Agam, Fountain (1977)
- Richard Serra, Slat (1982)
- Shelomo Selinger, The Dance (1983)
- Bernar Venet, Two Indeterminate Lines (1988)
- Takis, Bright Trees (1990)
- Igor Mitoraj, Tindaro (1997)
- Emily Young, Four Heads (2002)
- Patrick Blanc, Green wall (2006)
- Louis-Ernest Barrias, La Défense de Paris (1883)
- François Morellet, La Défonce (1990)
- Guillaume Bottazzi, Peinture de 216 m² (2014)
Guillaume Bottazzi, Untitled, c. 2014
Completed highrise buildings above 50 m (164 ft) (1967–2023)
|Tour First (formerly tour AXA)||1974/2011||office||231||758||50||Courbevoie|
|Tour Total (Coupole)||1985||office||187||614||48||Courbevoie|
|Tour Engie (T1)||2008||office||185||607||37||Courbevoie|
|Tour Granite (Société Générale)||2008||office||184||600||37||Nanterre|
|Tour CB21 (formerly tour Gan)||1974||office||179||587||42||Courbevoie|
|Tour Alicante (Société Générale)||1995||office||167||548||37||Nanterre|
|Tour Chassagne (Société Générale)||1995||office||167||548||37||Nanterre|
|Tour Carpe Diem||2013||office||162||531||38||Courbevoie|
|Tour Adria (Technip)||2002||office||155||509||40||Courbevoie|
|Tour Égée (Ernst&Young)||1999||office||155||509||40||Courbevoie|
|Tour Dexia (CBX)||2005||office||142||466||36||Courbevoie|
|Tour Défense 2000||1974||residential||134||440||47||Puteaux|
|Tour Eqho (formerly tour Descartes)||1988||office||130||427||40||Courbevoie|
|Tour Les Poissons||1970||mixed||129.5||425||42||Courbevoie|
|Tour Sequoia (Bull, Cegetel, SFR)||1990||office||119||390||33||Puteaux|
|Tour CGI (CB16)||2003||office||117||384||32||Courbevoie|
|Préfecture des Hauts-de-Seine||1974||office||113||371||25||Nanterre|
|Grande Arche||1989||monument, office||110||361||37||Puteaux|
|Tour Nuage 1, Tours Aillaud||1976||residential||105||344||39||Nanterre|
|Tour Nuage 2, Tours Aillaud||1976||residential||105||344||39||Nanterre|
|Tour Opus 12||1973||office||100||328||27||Puteaux|
|Tour Prisma (Tour Kvaerner)||1998||office||97||318||25||Courbevoie|
|Rose de Cherbourg residence||2018||housing||75||246||20||Puteaux|
Upcoming highrise buildings (2023–2027)
|Name||Use||Height||Levels||Municipality||Status||Estimated Year of Completion|
|The Link||office||244||801||52||Puteaux||under construction||2025|
|Tour Sister 1||office||229||718||55||Courbevoie||approved||2027|
|Tour des Jardins de l'Arche||office & hotel||210||656||54||Nanterre||approved||2027|
|Tour C/ (Odyssey)||office||187||613||42||Courbevoie||approved||2026|
|Tour O/ (Odyssey)||mix||174||570||33||Courbevoie||approved||2026|
|Tours Sister 2||office||131||396||26||Courbevoie||approved||2027|
|Tour D/ (Odyssey)||mix||101||331||?||Courbevoie||approved||2026|
- Tour Sans Fins (1989): 425 m (1,394 ft)
- Hermitage Plaza (2022): 323 m (1,060 ft)
- Tour Generali (2011): 319 m (1,047 ft)
- Tour Signal (2009): 301 m (988 ft)
- Tour Phare (2018): 296 m (971 ft)
- Paris La Défense Arena
- List of tallest buildings and structures in the Paris region
- List of tourist attractions in Paris
- "Key figures". ParisLaDefense.com. Retrieved 17 November 2023.
- "La Défense, Tout sur ce quartier d'exception". Ville de Courbevoie. Retrieved 19 October 2021.
- "La Défense near Paris. Shopping. Map". Paris Digest. 2018. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
- "Paris La Défense Arena, Europe's largest indoor arena". 2 March 2019. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
- Fallon, Steve; Annabel Hart (2006). Paris. Footscray, Victoria: Lonely Planet. p. 155. ISBN 1-74059-849-0.
- La Défense > Artworks: Guide 2013. Leaflet published by Defacto, Établissement public de gestion du quartier d'affaires de la Défense.
- "Portrait of the RER A". RATP. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
- "La Défense : 50 ans d'histoire" Archived 19 January 2017 at the Wayback Machine 9 November 2008, Danielle Birck (in French)
- "La Défonce | Defacto – Quartier d'affaires de la Defense". Ladefense.fr. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
- "Une oeuvre géante de Guillaume Bottazzi à La Défense | Defacto – Quartier d'affaires de la Defense". Ladefense.fr. 30 September 2014. Archived from the original on 11 March 2016. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
- Satellite image from Google Maps
- La Défense de Paris
- Site officiel de l'EPAD (Établissement Public pour l'Aménagement de la Défense) (in French)
- Connecting-Paris, web site created by the Chamber of commerce and industry of Paris to help companies setting up in La Defense (in English)
- Expatriates Magazine, A printed publication distributed within various corporations situated in La Defense helping international employees integrate within the workplace and city (in English)
- Les bâtiments de la Défense (in French)
- Structurae: Structural engineering and architecture guide to Paris-La Défense (in English)