La Defense Situated in the western area of Paris, La Défense is the major business district in the city, as well as the largest business district in all of Europe.
Every day, 150,000 employees work here for 1,500 different businesses in the 37.7 million square feet of office space.
The area is named after a statue built in 1884 called La Défense de Paris; it commemorates the soldiers who defended Paris in the course of the Franco-Prussian War. La Défense is the home of most of Paris’ tall skyscrapers; the tallest was constructed in 1985 and is 610 feet high.
Future development for the area includes plans for several taller buildings, including some as tall as 980 to 1,000 feet.
One of the landmarks in La Défense is the Grande Arche de la Défense, which was completed in 1990 by Danish architect Johann Otto van Spreckelsen and his associate, French architect Paul Andreu.
It was commissioned by French president Mitterrand, who desired a 20th century version of the Arc de Triomphe; the resulting structure more closely resembles an open cube-like building than an arch. The two sides of the Grande Arche contain government offices.
French electronic composer Jean Michel Jarre conducted a concert on Bastille Day in 1990 using the Grande Arche de la Défense and three other towers as giant projection screens. The free concert attracted two million attendees, which set a world record for largest attendance ever at a musical concert.
In addition to the Grande Arche and the skyscraping office towers, there are a total of 2,600 hotel rooms in La Défense, as well as 60 modern art sculptures and monuments.