The Grande Arche de Défense became the main attraction of Paris, erected in the twentieth century. In the capital of France, which is already one of the main tourist centers of Europe, another cultural center was created, receiving thousands of visitors every year.
What is the Arc de Défense in Paris: a description of the construction
The Arc de Défense is built as a three-dimensional projection of a four-dimensional hypercube with sides 110 meters long. The building has 35 floors and is equipped with an observation terrace, a helipad and glass elevators. The latter are installed in the recess of the structure and allow tourists to admire the panorama of the entire Ile-de-France region during the ascent.
History of the Monument: Construction and Symbolism
The idea of building a monumental structure in the business district of the Défense is related to the principle of planning the city along the “historical axis”. As the territory of Paris grew, the main attractions of the city were built along it.
In 1983, the Danish architect Johan Otto von Spreckelsen’s design for a hypercube won the special competition “The Face of the Défense”. After his death in 1987, the work was continued by Paul André, who had previously worked as an assistant to the author of the arch.
The grand opening of the building took place on July 14, 1989, and was timed to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution.
According to von Spreckelsen’s idea, the building in the Defence area was to become a new Arc de Triomphe of the 20th century. The main difference from the latter was the glorification of the ideas of humanism instead of military exploits. Because of this, the site is often referred to as the Arch of the Brotherhood.
Most of the structure is occupied by office space. In particular, the offices of the Ministry of Transport and Construction, the Human Rights Foundation, and a number of international organizations are located here.
An exhibition hall and an exposition of photographs by famous French photojournalists
The exhibition hall of the Arc de Défense occupies an area of 1.2 thousand square meters. It hosts a permanent exhibition of the masters of photography of France. The works of journalists raise pressing issues of social life of the country. The photo exhibition program changes every three months.
Lovers of gastronomic delights can do a tasting of French cuisine in the restaurant La City. Located on the roof of the building the institution is so popular with tourists and residents of the city that a table there should be reserved in advance.
Most of the time the restaurant is open to the public from 12:00 to 14:30. In the evening most often the institution is booked for private events.
However, you can drink coffee and eat in the snack bar, also arranged on the roof of the structure.
The observation deck: what you can see, opening hours and ticket prices
The viewpoint of the Arc de la Défense is open from 10:00 to 19:00, and from April to August until 20:00. The cost of admission is 15 euros for adults and 7 euros for children.
From a height of 110 meters, visitors can explore the architectural features of the Défense business district, also called “Parisian Manhattan”. In addition, from it you can see the nearby attractions of the “historical axis” of the city. On Bastille Day, it is convenient to watch the French Air Force air parade from the observation deck of the arch.
What events are held on the roof of the Parisian Arch of the Defence
Entertainment shows and events are held on the roof of the Great Arch. On holidays, colorful fireworks are launched from it. In winter, close to Christmas and New Year’s Eve, an ice skating rink is set up on the terrace.
On the roof of the structure are often guided tours for children, workshops and exhibitions. In the warm season it set swings and sun loungers for recreation, conduct yoga classes.
Interesting facts about the Grande Arche de Défense
The winner of the “Face of the Défense” competition, architect von Spreckelsen, could not be notified of his success for some time. The master retired to a small house on an island with no means of communication with the rest of the world. The contest representative had to personally swim to von Spreckelsen in a boat to notify him of his victory.
One of the most conspicuous elements of the arch, the “Cloud” tent in the interior opening, was not included in the original design of the building.
It was the initiative of Paul André, who felt that such a component would make the object lighter visually and reduce the wind force affecting the entire structure. Many connoisseurs of architecture criticized this decision, saying that the tent looks “alien” in the ensemble of the arch.
Where is the Arc de la Défense and how to get there?
The building is located in the Défense quarter, which is in the western part on the map of Paris. The official address of the building is Parvis de la Défense, 1.
Location on the map
You can get to the arch by one of the modes of public transport:
- Take the M1 metro line to the Grande Arche La Defense stop;
- by suburban train RER A;
- T2 streetcar;
- bus routes № 73, 144, 159, 276, 278.
You can also get to the cultural center by car. Travelers who prefer to walk around the city can walk along the “historical axis” of the city, studying the main sights of Paris. The distance from the Louvre to the Arch is 9 km.