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Walking in La Défense in Winter? What a weird idea you may think. That’s exactly what we thought too. That was until we decided to go for a Winter Walk in La Défense on a bright sunny morning in February. It proved to be such an interesting exploration with a few offbeat places that made great photos!


What and where is La Défense?

The district of La Défense is centred along the Historical Axis that slopes gently from Pont de Neuilly up the Grande Arche. Called the ‘Dalle’, the artificial platform is made up of a concrete slab which ingenuously hides all the transport links (motorway A14, the roads, métro and train railway lines) to create a huge pedestrian area. Most photos of La Défense taken by tourists show views of the great perspective from the Grande Arche to the Arc de Triomphe… but there are fewer people (outside workers and locals) who dare or think to venture elsewhere in the district. But the district has many other other views, such as this one we discovered this morning with the First Tower, the Eiffel Tower and Tour Montparnasse in the distance:

Winter Walk in La Défense © French Moments
The Eiffel Tower and Montparnasse Tower seen from La Défense © French Moments

It is on the sides of the district that we focused our attention, where we found squares and statues, footbridges linking La Défense to the other suburbs down the ‘Dalle’, and futurist vistas that definitely do not have the typical image we have of Paris.

Let’s start our photo journey!


Our Winter Walk in La Défense

The GDF-Suez Tower (former T1) is one of La Défense’s tallest towers, overlooking Courbevoie. The tower rises 185 m above the street level.

Winter Walk in La Défense © French Moments
GDF-Suez Tower, Winter Walk in La Défense © French Moments
Winter Walk in La Défense © French Moments
GDF-Suez Tower, Winter Walk in La Défense © French Moments

The Total and Areva Towers

The Total Tower (187m) built in 1985 used to be the tallest building in La Défense. Its structure is still stunning today.

Total Tower, La Défense © French Moments
Total Tower © La Défense

Next to the Total Tower stands the Areva Tower (184 m) formerly known as Tour Framatome and Tour Fiat. The office skyscraper was built in 1974 and is 184 m tall. Entirely black, its square prism shape is said to have been inspired by the black monolith in Stanley Kubrick’s movie “2001: A Space Odyssey“.

Winter Walk in La Défense © French Moments
Areva and Total Towers © French Moments
Areva Tower © French Moments
Areva Tower © French Moments
Winter Walk in La Défense © French Moments
Winter Walk in La Défense © French Moments
Total Tower © French Moments
Total Tower © French Moments

 The Total Tower from bottom to top!

Total Tower, La Défense © French Moments
Total Tower from bottom to top! © French Moments
Total Tower from bottom to top! © French Moments
Total Tower from bottom to top! © French Moments
Areva Tower in La Défense © French Moments
Areva Tower in La Défense © French Moments
Winter Walk in La Défense © French Moments
Areva and Total towers © French Moments

The Cœur Défense Tower

The Coeur Défense Tower With its edges rounded, the Cœur Défense Tower (161 m tall) is the building with the most floor space in Europe along with the Palace of Parliament in Bucharest. Until 2009, it belonged to the global financial services firm Lehman Brothers. The first Starbucks café outside Paris was opened on the ground floor of Coeur Défense in the mid-2000.

Coeur-Défense tower © French Moments
Coeur-Défense tower © French Moments
Coeur-Défense tower © French Moments
Coeur-Défense tower © French Moments

The Carpe Diem Tower

The glass and concrete Carpe Diem Tower was completed in 2013. It is 166 metre tall and can welcome 3,000 workers.

Carpe Diem Tower © French Moments
Carpe Diem Tower © French Moments
Carpe Diem Tower © French Moments
Carpe Diem Tower © French Moments

The top of a Wallace fountain in La Défense:

A Wallace fountain, La Défense © French Moments
A Wallace fountain, La Défense © French Moments

Between the Grande Arche and Pont de Neuilly

Halfway through between the Grande Arche and the Pont de Neuilly:

Winter Walk in La Défense © French Moments
Winter Walk in La Défense © French Moments
Winter Walk in La Défense © French Moments
Winter Walk in La Défense © French Moments

The Aurore Tower (110 m) dating back to 1970 is being dismantled to give way to the future Air2 Tower (202 m) by 2018-2020. Behind it stands the new D2 Tower 171 m, inaugurated in January 2015.

Winter Walk in La Défense © French Moments
Aurore Tower © French Moments
Winter Walk in La Défense © French Moments
Winter Walk in La Défense © French Moments
Winter Walk in La Défense © French Moments
Winter Walk in La Défense © French Moments

The Majunga Tower

The Majunga Tower (195 m) by architect Jean-Paul Viguier was inaugurated in 2014. Today the Majunga Tower is the third tallest skypscraper in France, after the First Tower (231m) and Montparnasse Tower (210m). The work of art in the front is Le Moretti, a cylindrical sculpture made out of many different colourful pipes masking an ventilation shaft.

The "Moretti cheminée" in La Défense © French Moments
The “Moretti cheminée” in La Défense © French Moments
The "Moretti cheminée" in La Défense © French Moments
The “Moretti cheminée” in La Défense © French Moments

The summit of Tour First, France’s tallest skyscraper (231 m), is quite singular:

The top of the First Tower in La Défense © French Moments
The top of the First Tower in La Défense © French Moments

The Statue of La Défense de Paris

With the Total Tower in the background, here is the statue of La Défense de Paris from which the CBD takes its name:

The statue of La Défense de Paris © French Moments
The statue of La Défense de Paris © French Moments
The statue of La Défense de Paris © French Moments
The statue of La Défense de Paris © French Moments

The EDF Tower

The elliptical ground shape of EDF Tower (165 m tall) was completed in 2001. The length of the tower is slightly less at its base than at its top due to the extrusion of a conic section of the tower.

The EDF tower © French Moments
The EDF tower © French Moments
The EDF tower © French Moments
The EDF tower © French Moments

The Grande Arche

In mid-February, there was a call to summer in La Défense…  The Grande Arche is located at the end of the line of monuments that forms the Historical Axis running through Paris.

The esplanade of La Défense in Winter © French Moments
The esplanade of La Défense in Winter © French Moments

One of the two sides of the Grande Arche which house offices:

Grande Arche de la Défense © French Moments
The side of La Grande Arche © French Moments

The twin towers of Société Générale

The Société Générale Towers consist of two twin towers (167 m tall) were completed in 1995. The northern tower is named tour Alicante and the southern one tour Chassagne. Behind them was built by the same bank the even taller Granite Tower (184 m) in 2008.

La The towers of Société Générale in La Défense © French Moments February 2015 33 copyright French Moments
The towers of Société Générale in La Défense © French Moments

 


Find out more!


 

About the author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. He has a background teaching French, Economics and Current Affairs, and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations, and a degree of Economics and Management. Pierre is the author of the Discovery Course on the Secrets of the Eiffel Tower and the Christmas book "Voyage au Pays de Noël".

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