Grande Arche de la Défense

The huge Grand Arche de la Defense is designed as a modern version of the Arc de Triomphe

Floodlights bath the Grande Arche de la Défense as dusk settles over Paris
Floodlights bath the Grande Arche de la Défense as dusk settles over Paris cc licensed photo by alpha du centaure

La Grand Arche de la Defense is found in the business district of La Defense in the commune of Puteaux, just west of Paris. It is also called the Grand Arche de la Fraternite or simply as La Grand Arche.

The Grande Arche de la Défense or simply Grand Arch is designed as a modern version of the Arc de Triomphe, only dedicated to humanity and humanitarian ideals rather than the military victories the Arc de Triomphe represents. It was designed by a Danish architect, Johann Otto von Spreckelsen, and a Danish engineer, Erik Reitzel. All architectural responsibilities were awarded to Paul Andreu when Spreckelsen resigned in 1986.

The Grande Arche de la Défense does not stand on its own. It is the end of a line of monuments that runs through Paris known as the Axe historique. It also forms a secondary line with the Eiffel Tower and the Tour Montparnasse, the two highest buildings in Paris.

It is approximately a cube with a width of 108m, a height of 110m and a depth of 112m — a massive structure when seen up close. It is angled at 6.33 degrees, an angle that is similar to the angle of the Louvre which forms the other end of the Axe historique. This angle was made necessary as a result of the various public transport systems that run below it. It was the only way that an adequate foundation could be laid. The Grand Arche de la Defense is made from a pre-stressed concrete frame that has been covered in glass and Carrara marble.

The Grand Arche de la Defense is not only a tourist attraction. It additionally houses some government offices on two of its sides.

It is worth noting that it is possible to see the Arc de Triomphe from the Grand Arche de la Defense on a clear day. This is definitely a sight worth seeing if you have the time. You will not be able to access the roof however since access was closed to the public following an accident in the elevators to the roof in April 2010. Despite this, the Grand Arche de la Defense is definitely worth taking a look at.

Facts For Your Visit

Fee: Yes

Currently Closed

Hours This Week:
  • Monday: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Thursday: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Friday: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Saturday: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Sunday: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Address: 1 Parvis de la Défense, 92800 Puteaux, France


Metro / RER / Tram Line Nearest Station Walking Time
M1 or RER-A or T2La Défense‎0 minutes

How to get to Grande Arche de la Défense by Metro / RER / Tram

By Metro, RER-A or Tram: exit at La Défense Station and you are there.

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Rated 4.3 out of 5Grande Arche de la Defense Star Rating

4 Star Rating Great place, quite impressive especially when coming from the sub, on the opposite direction. The stairs are great for sun bath... depending on the weather is not too windy. The event centre at the basement is nice. However the entrance is not that easy to find. Also be careful to prepare your direction upfront as it's quite a challenge to get GPS signals. There are also some nice restaurants nearby but there may be long queues during lunchtime.

Boubacar Tamboura - 23 days ago

5 Star Rating So simple yet so powerful. It’s located in the modern district of Paris. It’s a complete different visit for tourists. Worth adding to the guide if you have time.

Tallitha Campos - 24 days ago

4 Star Rating Very impressed by this huge building. It was worth it to come all the way to La Defense. The only thing we thought was odd was that the building did not get any lights at night, making it slightly more difficult to observe it totally.

Kristof Van Tricht - 29 days ago

5 Star Rating Probably not a very popular tourist attraction, it was quite empty when we went. A lift takes you to the top of the arch, where there is an indoor photo gallery and a nice little cafe. You can go outdoors, where you can see whole Paris in front of you. There are chairs and a nice little bar , you can just chill there and admire the view. As I mentioned before it was very few people there and it was very cheap to go. Pay attention that the closest metro station is a different zone from the center. You will need to buy a different ticket or the gates won't let you out!

Sisi W. - 2 months ago

4 Star Rating Mind-blowingly beautiful place. Truly makes you feel small and incorporates the corporate world in such a fascinating grand way. A majestic place to look around and let the beauty take over you. Beautiful sky scrapers, an immense mall, a vast square and this Arc. All part of this financially-strong masterpiece.

Omar El Alami - 2 months ago


This video homework project by a young lad does a great job describing the Arche de la Défense

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