La Défense makes up the western end of the Axe historique, a route of monumental buildings extending to the Louvre and the Bastille.
- La Défense (ligne 1, and RER line A)
- Esplanade de la Défense (ligne 1)
By train and tram
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.
In La Défense
phone: +33 1 49 07 27 27address: 1 Le Parvis de La DéfenseA high-rise building that looks more like a hollow cube than an actual arch. The viewing platform on its top reopened in May 2017 after having been closed due to a 2010 elevator incident.
Centre des nouvelles industries et technologiesThe largest unsupported concrete span enclosed space in the world.
Musée de La Défensephone: +33 1 47 74 84 24address: 15, place de La DéfenseThe museum presents the history of the development of La Défense, with many plans and scale models
ArchitectureEach of the buildings of La Défense tells a story of architectural trends that were en vogue at the times of its construction and design. A tour of La Défense can be a quick overview through the most recent period in the history of architecture
Notre-Dame de PentecôteThis unusual church building was erected in 2001 and designed by Franck Hammoutène
ArtThere are over 60 works of art displayed in the open air throughout La Défense, interspersed within public spaces and freely accessible, and authored by some of the biggest names in modern art.
- Le pouce, a giant statue of a thumb by César Baldaccini, stands between the CNIT and the Grande Arche
- The abstract Spider by Alexander Calder simply cannot be missed on the Esplanade
- The Bright Trees by Vassilakis Takis visually enclose the Esplanade
Beyond La Défense
Tours AillaudSouth-west from the Grande Arche you can find these tall cylindrical concrete residential towers, painted in various colours. Representing a 1970s urbanistic experiment, the 18 towers remain controversial and unique, and continue to house thousands of inhabitants in over 1600 apartments.
Parc André MalrauxThe expansive, calm park around a lake extends westwards behind the Tours Aillaud, and is to La Défense what Central Park is to Downtown Manhattan. You can take spectacular pictures of the skyline juxtaposed against the park's greenery from there.
Nanterre Cathedraladdress: 28 Rue de l'ÉgliseBuilt in the 1920s, it is no match for the Notre Dame de Paris in either historical importance or architectural detailing, but it can be an interesting destination for those interested in sacral architecture.
address: 99 Jardin de l'ArcheA domed stadium near the Grande Arche. It opened in October 2017, and its main tenant is the rugby union club Racing 92. The facility can host everything from court sports to concerts, with configurations ranging from 10,000 for court sports, 32,000 for rugby, and 40,000 for concerts. It will host gymnastics events when Paris next hosts the Summer Olympics in 2024.
Pavillon des IndesThe wooden Indian pavilion was moved from Paris to Courbevoie following the Universal Exhibition of 1878, and remains a curiosity amidst the much more modern architecture of the commune.
Théâtre des Hauts-de-SeineA 19th-century theatre building
phone: +33 1 47 73 54 44address: 15 Le Parvis de La DéfenseThe "Quatre Temps" shopping mall, which when constructed was the largest shopping centre in Europe, has numerous big name as well as small stores, several cinemas (showing French and subtitled foreign movies) as well as a large supermarket and grocery store. It is accessible from an entrance to the left of the "Grande Arche" or via the metro station. 230 stores (Auchan, C&A, Darty, Virgin, Zara, Go Sport, H&M, Uniqlo, Toys’R’Us), 16 movie theater screens, 40 restaurants.
The La Coupole underground gallery, accessible through exit G of the metro station, is somewhat depressing but convenient for its restaurants and express cafés.
More fancy (and expensive) restaurants are located inside the hotels of La Défense:
phone: +33 1 46 92 10 10address: 2, pl de la Défense
Quinte & SensUnder the direction of chef Jean-Paul Corbillet, the Quinte & Sens offers modern cuisine, including two-course "power lunches" for €29
address: 21 esplanade du Général de GaulleApogé is a dynamic, all-in-one stop for French wine. Part bar, part merchant, part oenology school, its passionate, friendly founders are happy to share their expert advice. Not only are over 100 wines available by the glass, but every bottle for sale can be tasted before purchase. A beautiful terrace and frequent tastings with producers.
As this is a business district, most hotels are business-oriented, so do not expect any kind of Parisian flair, but perhaps a swifter service - and larger hotel rooms - than in central Paris. Unless you choose to locate yourself farther from La Défense proper, do not expect bargains, but you will probably get a higher standard for the same price as a much smaller and less comfortable hotel in downtown Paris.
You can also choose to stay farther from La Défense proper, within one of the three municipalities which share the La Défense area. This may significantly add to your transit times and complicate your transit, but then you may get really good rates there.
Unexpectedly for a business district, La Défense is neither close nor well connected to either of the airports serving Paris. Bear this in mind planning your travel.
Central La DéfenseUnless you are very familiar with La Défense's system of underground motorways and parkings, driving to hotels there is not recommended. Take the metro, RER or tram and walk the distance over the Esplanade enjoying the unique retrofuturistic atmosphere.
Do note that distances between your hotel and the entrance to the metro station can be significant, even when you are staying in a very central location, and the only way for you to get to the hotel is to walk through the uncovered Esplanade and walkways.
Ibis Paris La Défense Centre
Adagio La Défense EsplanadeAccor's mid-range aparthotel is right off the Esplanade, next door to Sofitel .
Citadines La DéfenseAparthotel within walking distance of Esplanade de la Défense metro station
Hotel Novotel Paris La Défensephone: +33 1 41 45 23 23address: 2 Boulevard de NeuillyA rather generic, modern Novotel, with "executive rooms" providing global standards, and the regular rooms the standard French Novotel fare with toothpaste-inspired bathroom fit-outs. Some rooms (available at a small extra) provide views over the river Seine.
Fraser Suites Harmonie Paris La DéfenseA higher-end apart-hotel close to the Esplanade de la Défense metro station
HiltonThe Hilton is part of the CNIT convention centre.
Hotel Pullman Paris La Défensephone: +33 1 47 17 50 00address: 11, av de l'ArcheRenovated in 2013 as a part of Accor's initiative to refurbish all five Pullmans in Paris. Less expensive rooms retain much of the 1990s-style furniture, while the more expensive ones conform better to the current Pullman corporate standards.
Renaissance Paris Hotel La Défensephone: +33 1 41 97 50 50address: 60 Jardin de Valmy
address: 33,voie des Sculpteurs, 92800 PuteauxThere is nothing truly exceptional about the Sofitel La Défense, and the views out of the windows are downright unspectacular compared to other La Défense hotels, but this hotel garners good reviews by providing solid standards and reliable service for a fraction of the prices of downtown Sofitels. The hotel was renovated after 2010, with all but the cheapest Classic rooms getting new furnishings and bathrooms (with showers rather than bathtubs, a Paris rarity).
CourbevoieThe area around Place Charras, in Courbevoie is a short bus ride or a 15-minute walk away from the metro.
Adagio Access La Défense - Leonard da VinciAccor's no frills aparthotel.
Adagio Access La Défense Place Charrasphone: +33 1 56 37 72 00address: 1, rue de BitcheIt hosts foreign students from the Alliance Française in Paris.
ibis La Défense Courbevoie
Adagio La Défense ParcClose to Adagio Access Leonard Da Vinci, an aparthotel of higher standard.
Adagio La Défense KleberA more upmarket neighbour of Adagio Access Place Charras
Kyriad Paris Ouest - La Défense Courbevoie
Hotel Mercure Paris La Défense 5address: 18-30 rue Baudin, Place Charras
Hotel Dauphin by Elegancia
Kyriad Paris Ouest - Puteaux La Défense
Campanile Paris Nanterre
ibis Paris Nanterre
Mercure Paris La Défense Parc
Quality Inn Nanterre
Premiere Classe Paris Ouest - Nanterre - La DéfenseDespite the name, this cheap hotel is actually very far away northeast from La Défense (and Paris as well), although still within the administrative boundaries of Nanterre
- Versailles can be conveniently reached by a Transilien line L from the La Défense station, the ride to Versailles - Rive Droite takes about 25 minutes.
- The easiest route to the Château de Malmaison at Rueil-Malmaison from central Paris is to take bus 258 from La Défense.