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.
Bois de Boulogne
While visiting La Defense, make sure to stop by Bois de Boulogne. Bois de Boulogne is a park located less than two miles from La Defense. It is larger than both Central Park in New York, and Hyde Park in London. This picturesque park is ideal to enjoy a beautiful day in France. Make sure to go to the northern part of the park, as it is occupied by Jardin d'Acclimation. Jardin d'Acclimation is an amusement park that hosts several different attractions including a menagerie.
Stop by Musee Marmottan for great works of Impressionist painting. Located in a 19th century townhouse only 2.5 miles from the center of La Defense, Musee Marmottan is a must see attraction. Inside are approximately 65 paintings including the famous Soleil Levant. It hosts other great paintings from the period as well including, Rouen Cathedral, Gare St. Lazare, the London Houses of Parliament, and water lilies.
Palais de Chaillot
The Palais de Chaillot is a must see attraction while visiting La Defense, located only a little more than 2.5 miles. Built for the Exposition Internationale of 1937, Palais de Chaillot now hosts several museums. The museums include the Musee national de la Marine and the Musee de l'Homme. The Palais de Chaillot is shaped by two wings on each side that form a wide arc. The wings are independent, leaving no center building. However, the center place is a great place to get a breathtaking view of the Eiffel tower.
Make sure to take in show at the Lido less than three miles from La Defense. With over 50 years of experience, this cabaret is much more than a simple show. The 1150 seat theater has been designed without columns to provide an unobstructed panoramic view to every member of the audience. The orchestra section sinks into the floor in order to provide even visibility for everyone. The unobstructed view is perfect to enjoy a uniquely Parisian show.
While in La Defense, make sure to take in Paris' most known attraction, the Eiffel Tower less than 3.5 miles away. Built as an entrance to the 1889 World's Fair this tower is the tallest building in France. Ride all the way up to the top for an outstanding view of the city. Since the Eiffel Tower is the most paid to see monument throughout the world, do not forget to enjoy this gem of France.
Paris Sewer Museum
Another great attraction to visit while staying in La Defense, Paris is the Paris Sewer Museum located only 3.5 miles away. This exhibit focuses on the intricate system of the Paris sewers. This museum is great for understanding the underground waterways of the city. Make sure to schedule a visit soon.
Below is a chart of the current pricing seasonality of hotels and motels in La Defense, France:
Averate Rates by Star Rating
Below we've posted 3 graphs displaying average nightly cost patterns by star rating class in La Defense, France. Analyze these charts to calculate the most cost effective dates to make a reservation in La Defense during the year.
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4 Star Average Prices: $107.00
This guide is a great tool to use when planning a leisure vacation or a business trip. La Defense Hotels provides reservation services on local hotels, apartments, and resorts in the nearby area. La Defense Hotels offers great hotel rates, as well as discounts on published rates that are only available through these services. At La Defense Hotels, guests are provided with all the information that they might need to plan their trip and make it enjoyable. This helpful information includes things such as maps of the area, transportation information, and information about local attractions. The headquarters for La Defense Hotels is conveniently located in La Defense, and has had many satisfied customers since 1998.
3 Star Average Prices: $63.00
The principle airport that is used by travelers going to La Defense is the Charles de Gaulle Airport. This is one of the largest airports in the world, and it provides airlines for international and domestic flights. Air France is one of the most popular airlines that visitors choose for domestic and international flights.
There are plenty of private cab services that can be found in La Defense for travelers. La Defense is a major business district, and travelers will be able to flag down a cab by using a simple waving motion outside of most major buildings. Aside from this way of obtaining a taxi, a traveler may also call a private cab company and make a reservation ahead of time. City Airport Taxis is a very popular cab service that travelers tend to use in La Defense. Through City Airport Taxis, travelers can obtain a private bus to transfer as many as 12 or 16 passengers. Luxury vehicles can also be obtained from City Airport Taxis for travel purposes. City Cab Paris, Planet Car Limousine Paris, Lama Taxis, and Taxis Appel Taxi are other popular private taxi providers in the city. Visitors may also want to try renting a motorcab from the company Motocab. It is not uncommon for travelers to choose a motorcab rental for its affordability and for the fun experience of being able to drive one throughout the city.
Visitors should also inquire about shuttle services that may be offered by their hotel or hostel. Some hotels will provide a free shuttle service for visitors who are arriving at a Paris airport. Other hotels will charge a small fee for providing their own form of private shuttle service to travelers.
In La Defense, the specific metro stations that can be found are the Esplanade de la Défense and La Défense. The stations are considered to be in Zone 3 of the Paris transit system. To access these lines, a traveler will need to have a T+ ticket or a zone 1 only pass.
There are several major railway stations that can be found throughout Paris. The major railway stations include Gare d'Austerlitz, Gare de Bercy, Gare de l'Est, Gare de Lyon, Gare Montparnasse, Gare du Nord, and Gare Saint-Lazare. The railway services are color-coded in La Defense, and many civilians are willing to offer help to travelers who need help distinguishing the different lines. Maps to the railway stations can be found by the shopping center in La Defense.