La Défense sits at the western edge of Paris at the end of the Historical Axis, a 6-mile-long (10-km) route that stretches from the Louvre, along the Champs-Elysées, past the Arc de Triomphe, and across the Seine to La Défense.
The main attraction is the Grande Arche Paris La Defense, a cube-style contemporary structure with a rooftop observation platform that provides a different view of the city. Book admission in advance to avoid waiting in the ticket line. A few city tours might include a stop or drive through La Défense but it’s not common; if you’re interested in visiting with a guide, consider booking a private tour.
Things to Know Before You Go
- La Défense is ideal for modern-art lovers and those who want to see a bit of local life in Paris away from the tourist sights.
- Parking can be difficult, so take public transport or a taxi.
- The open-air plaza around Parvis de La Défense is where you’ll find the Grand Arche, a shopping mall, and art pieces.
How to Get There
La Défense is accessible via Metro line 1 and the RER train A from La Défense station.
When to Get There
The area is at its most bustling during weekday working hours; this is the best time to visit if you’re looking to observe the everyday business vibe of Paris—much different from the historical center. The Grande Arche Promenade is open daily from late morning to mid-evening.
More than 60 pieces of public art are on display in La Défense. Standouts include Slat by Richard Serra, Red Spider by Alexander Calder, a sculpture by Joan Miró, Fountain by Yaacov Agam, and The Dance by Shelomo Selinger.
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