La Défense: A History


La Défense: The Financial District of Paris

La Défense is an area outside the main part of Paris. It is known for its skyscrapers, businessmen, and lots and lots of stores. And while it's a little outside of Paris, it still gets millions of tourists each year. So I was intrigued by this area, I wanted to know more. So here is what I found out about la Défense.

Largest Business District

It seems that each city has their own business district. In Europe, the largest planned business district is la Défense. Home to 72 skyscrapers and countless headquarters of major French businesses, la Défense beats out the competition for the title of largest planned business district in Europe. It is also home to the majority of Paris' tallest buildings.

Named after La Defense

In the area, a statue called La Défense de Paris honors those who died to protect Paris in the Franco-Prussian war. The statue was built before the construction of the financial district. So when the district was built, they continued to honor those who died for Paris by calling the district la Défense.

La Defense Seen from the Eiffel Tower

Over 50 Years of Existence

The construction of la Défense began in the late 1950s. But because of tough economic times, the construction of the area went in waves. Finally in the 1970s, la Défense started to look like what it is today. The skyscrapers took a more modern feel and the RER was built to bring people to the area.

The Famous Arch

The Grand Arc de la Défense was intended to look like a 20th Century Arc de Triomphe. But instead of honoring the military accomplishments, it honors humanitarian ideals, trying to make the 20th Century a century of peace instead of war. This arch is probably the most iconic building in the district.

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