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: 9:30 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 9:30 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 9:30 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Thursday: 9:30 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Friday: 9:30 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Saturday: Closed
  • Sunday: Closed

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

Map of nearby accommodations:


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

5 Star Rating Really nice to see this very different side of Paris. You can see how the Grand Arche and Arc de Triomphe align. There is the possibility to take a lift to one of the upper stories of the building. There’s a shopping centre right next to it with lots of restaurants, but is was very crowded when we were there.

Teo Stoleru - 9 days ago

5 Star Rating The most modern attraction in Paris. Great view and superb atmosphere.

Elias Chebib - 15 days ago

5 Star Rating This is the very modern part of Paris at the very end of giant straight line that begins in the Louvre, crosses the Champs Elisée, the Arc de Triomphe and then finally gets to this beautiful place, with lots of shopping, dining places and impressive contemporary architecture. This place really gives Paris a new flavour and absolutely deserves a visit. Easy access by the subway.

Michael Rachid - 1 month ago

2 Star Rating The building is very nice. I gave it the low rating because in the winter they have ice skating rink on top which is a complete ripoff. First of all it is very small, second of all the surface is of so bad quality we left it after 5 minutes. Completely pointless. Short version: DON'T GO ON TOP FOR ICE SKATING!

Gregor Bolka - 1 month ago

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 - 3 months ago


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

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