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La Defense district under storm

La Defense district under storm


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La Defense district under storm
La Defense district under storm
La Defense district under storm
La Defense district under storm
La Defense district under storm

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map : La Defense district under storm Webcam of TF1 (french tv)

Etablissement public pour aménagement de la Defense

Otto von Spreckelsen architect

Paris, official website
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District of "La Défense"

La Défense is named after the iconic statue, La Défense de Paris, which was built in 1884 to commemorate the soldiers who had defended Paris during the Franco-Prussian War. The name of the area sometimes causes confusion with visitors, who occasionally assume it is some kind of military zone or establishment.

In September 1958, The Public Establishment for Installation of La Défense (EPAD) buildings (of which the Esso Tower was the very first) were built and began to slowly replace the city's factories, shanties, and even a few farms. The Center of New Industries and Technologies (CNIT) was built and first used in 1958. These "first generation" skyscrapers were all very similar in appearance, limited to a height of 100 metres (330 ft). In 1966, the Nobel Tower was the first office building built in the area. In 1970 the RER line A railway was opened from La Défense to Étoile.

In the early 1970s, in response to great demand, a second generation of buildings began to appear, but the economic crisis in 1973 nearly halted all construction in the area. A third generation of towers began to appear in the early 1980s. The biggest commercial centre in Europe (at the time), the Quatre Temps, was created in 1981. In 1982, the EPAD launched the Tête Défense competition to find a monument to complete the Axe historique, which eventually led to the construction of Grande Arche at the west end of the quarter. During the same period, hotels were constructed, the CNIT was restructured, and in 1992 Line 1 of the Paris Métro was extended to La Défense, which made the area readily accessible to even more of the city.

On Bastille Day 1990, French electronic composer Jean Michel Jarre staged an ambitious concert at the site, using the Grande Arche and three of the area's towers as projection screens, and building a pyramidal stage above the road. The free concert, titled simply Paris la Defense attracted two million spectators, stretching all the way back to the Arc de Triomphe. This beat Jarre's own previous world record for the largest attendance for a musical concert.

After a stagnation in new development in the mid-1990s La Défense is once again expanding and is now the largest purpose-built business district in Europe.

Important corporations headquartered at La Défense include Cegetel, Société Générale, Total, Aventis, Areva and Arcelor. The tallest skyscraper belongs to Total, constructed in 1985. It is 187 metres (610 ft) high, has 48 floors, and is the second highest inhabited building in the Paris area (the first being the Tour Montparnasse; the tallest building in Paris is the Eiffel Tower).

On 9th September 2008, La Défense celebrated its 50th birthday with a huge fireworks display.

The Axe historique (historical Axis)

The Axe historique (historical axis) is a line of monuments, buildings and thoroughfares that run out from the centre of Paris, France, to the west. It is also known as the "Voie Triomphale" (triumphal way).

This began with the creation of the Champs Élysées, designed in the 17th century to create a vista to the west, linking the Louvre, at the time the royal palace, with the Palace of the Tuileries. In 1836 the completion of the Arc de Triomphe on the Place de l'Étoile at the western end of the avenue formed the far point of this line of perspective, which starts at the Sully wing of the Musée du Louvre -- passing the modern-day glass Pyramide du Louvre of I.M. Pei and the Arc du Carrousel, through the Jardins des Tuileries (Tuileries gardens), on the site of the Tuileries, and the Place de la Concorde.

The axis was extended again westwards along the Avenue de la Grande Armée, past the city boundary of Paris to La Défense. This was originally a large junction, named for a statue commemorating the defence of Paris in the Franco-Prussian War.

In the 1950s, the area around La Défense was marked out to become a new business district, and high-rise office buildings were built along the avenue. The axis found itself extended yet again, with ambitious projects for the western extremity of the modern plaza.

It was not until the 1980s, under president François Mitterrand, that a project was initiated, with a modern 20th century version of the Arc de Triomphe. This is the work of Danish architect Johann Otto von Spreckelsen, La Grande Arche de la Fraternité (usually known as simply La Grande Arche), a monument to humanity and humanitarian ideals rather than militaristic victories. It was inaugurated in 1990.

This adds a few twists to the axis:

• the network of railway lines and road tunnels beneath the elevated plaza of La Défense prevented the pillars supporting the arch from being exactly in line with the axis: it is slightly out of line, bending the axis should it be extended further to the west.
• from the roof of the Grande Arche, a second axis can be seen: the Tour Montparnasse stands exactly behind the Eiffel Tower.

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All photographs are copyright "Eric Rougier /". Please, do not to use without written authorization.
The pyramid of the Louvre museum: Leoh Ming Pei, architect. "La Geode": Adrien Fainsilber, architect.
The "Grande Arche": Otto van Spreckelsen, architect. Bibliotheque Nationale de France: Dominique Perrault, architect.
Lighting of the Eiffel Tower is copyright "Societe Nouvelle d'Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel".
Some history texts are licensed to the public under the Creative License and, or wikipedia sources
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