Paris/La Défense

La Défense is a collection of modern high-rise office and residential buildings built according to an evolving central plan on the western outskirts of Paris, beyond the last Parisian loop of the river Seine. La Défense is the site of the Grande Arche, one of Paris’ most modern and imposing landmarks, situated at the western end of the grand axis formed by the Champs-Elysées, the Place de la Concorde and the Arc de Triomphe.

La Défense makes up the western end of the Axe historique, a route of monumental buildings extending to the Louvre and the Bastille.

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La Défense is a purpose-built business district; in the 1960s, Charles de Gaulle led an effort to level the area and concentrate skyscrapers in a single business district, rather than altering the character of Paris with large commercial buildings. Despite being officially and popularly recognised, and invariably associated with Paris, La Défense is neither an official administrative unit nor is it within Paris’ city limits. The area of La Défense is actually on the borders of three communes of the Hauts-de-Seine department beyond the borders of Paris proper – Nanterre, Courbevoie and Puteaux.

  • La Défense (ligne 1, and RER line A)
  • Esplanade de la Défense (ligne 1)

Note: Both stations are in zone 3, but the line 1 stations can also be accessed using a T+ ticket or a zone 1-2 only pass.

La Défense can be reached on RER A, Transilien L, Transilien U, Tramway T2, which all stop at the eponymous La Défense station. The RER A and Transilien stations are in zone 3 and therefore cannot be accessed with a T+ ticket.

The station layout can be very confusing but Les Quatres Temps shopping centre is colour-coded.

Map of Paris/La Défense

La Défense seen from Arc de Triomphe

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