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La Defense | Paris region | Ile de France

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The Business District of the Paris region

Published by Kriya Vij — 3 years ago


A small part of La Defense as seen from near one of the Metro station exits

The business district of the Paris region is named La Défense. According to this article in Wikipedia, it is the biggest purpose-built business district in the entire Europe. 

Hundreds of companies and thousands of emplloyees work in this Business district which is crucial to French economy. La Defense plays a major role in concentrating French economy in the Ile de France region. Big International businesses and even tech-based startups that deal internationally are based in Ile de France. La defense not only hosts numerous companies in its various skyscrapers but also some major headquarters or big and medium sized companies are situated here.

Read on to know about this place.  

Open-air museum


The large empty space or the "open-air museum"

Let us start with some crude information.

Due to the large number of tall buildings in the district, la defense is an open air museum. The term "Open Air Museum" simply means that the large open space in front of the Grande arche can be used to look around at the area full of tall and modern structures and of course, you can click pictures. Esplanade de la defense runs from the station La defense to the metro line 1 station esplanade de La defense. The tallest building in the Paris region is also situated at La defense. It is the international headquarters of Total SA and is known as Tour Total. Probably it is based on the idea of the name "Tour Eiffel", given how tall the building is. Apart from this, there are several other skyscrapers in this business district. 

La Defense is still expanding its area and new buildings are being constructed. The metro station at La Defense is also undergoing changes to reduce the walking distance between the existing exits and some buildings. 


La Defense is located in the North-West of France. It is quite close to the borders of the city of Paris. It is located well within the Paris region (Ile de France). From the center of Paris, the distance is around 9 km.

Transportation to La defense

Reaching La defense is very convenient as metro, RER, buses and Transilien all have a station here. La defense lies in zone three of the Paris train system. So, the tickets for the Paris region can not be used to reach. The cost per ticket would depend on your starting station.

Metro Line 1, RER A have underground lines and so does Transilien L. Bus lines include line 174 which are more convinient if you prefer to walk less and your office is not close to the metro station.

Shopping and movies


The dome-like structure of la CNIT at La Defense

CNIT is a shopping center at La Defense. Banks, cosmetics shops, restaurants, pharmacies, fast food, coffee (yes, Starbucks is available, two cafets), multiplex, supermarket and so on exist in the connected underground space of the metro station and the shopping center.

The Grande Arche


The Grande Arche | An iconic structure at la Defense

One of the most iconic structures at La Defense is the Grande Arche. The shape of this monument-cum-building could be interpreted or explained in different ways.  In a layperson's terms, it resembles a cube-like giant gate. There are offices on all the 3 edges of the building.

Thousands of employees work in this district. Many international companies have their headquarters here and many more have rented offices in shared buildings. It is more common to find English-fluent people in this region than many other parts of the Paris region. For students looking forward to corporate jobs and internships, La defense is an important area to look for.

Other than Business

Many people who work at La Defense live in Courbevoie, which is adjacent to La Defense but practically right there at La Defense when you really see those houses are in the middle of a lot of buildings which are a part of La Defense, in a way. Due to these flourishing residences, La Defense has all the basic requirements for shopping, entertainment.
The mall at La defense has big brands conviniently located at the same place so you can take a look before you decide which one you prefer. During the sales it gets very crowded but you will manage to buy great stuff if you are on time.

The cinema, as discussed above, is one of the things to explore apart from the business life at La Defense. 
Therefore, if you are visiting Paris for a few weeks, you could give a couple of hours sometime to explore this part of the Paris region.

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