The business district of La Défense is just over the bridge from my apartment. I like to cross the bridge (Pont de Neuilly) and stride along the Esplanade de la Défense because it’s a big, open space (with office towers on either side.) But more importantly, it’s car-free.
If you peer through the ornamental arch and squint your eyes you can see, way in the distance, the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs-Elysées. It’s all in a straight line. The French are obsessed with symmetry. For them, symmetry and proportion represent harmony and order.
It’s all an illusion, of course. There was a national rail strike yesterday and all hell broke loose. Postal workers were also on strike.
The above photo and this one looks in the opposite direction towards the Grande Arche. All in a straight line.
For those unfamiliar with La Défense, there’s a big shopping mall called Les Quatre Temps at the foot of the Grande Arche. I made my way along the Esplanade stopping every few minutes to admire the Christmas lights and take photos. I’ve always enjoyed walking in the dark on cold, crisp, clear evenings.
I don’t care what anyone says…I like La Défense. Probably because I’m North American and the “concrete jungle” aspect is familiar to me. Most people find it cold and dehumanizing. This fountain below rises and falls to the sound of classical music.