PARIS-LA DÉFENSE ARENA
Arena located in the commune of Nanterre, opened in October 2017.
Capacity: 30,680 in rugby configuration. 40,000 in show configuration.
Population: 96,277 in Nanterre (Nanterriens, Nanterriennes)
Personalities: Christian de Portzamparc (architect), Jacky Lorenzetti (president of Racing 92).
Sport: resident stadium of Racing 92 (rugby), Supercross events, will host the swimming events and the water polo final of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
Construction cost: €353 million.
Performances: inaugurated on 19 October 2017 with a Rolling Stones concert. Since then, it has hosted Roger Waters, Kendrick Lamar, IAM, Booba, Paul McCartney, Mylène Farmer, Soprano, Genesis, Elton John, Iron Maiden and Orelsan (Bruce Springsteen and Céline Dion are scheduled for 2023).
One of the largest arenas in the world
Paris La Défense Arena is designed as a modular and multi-purpose venue capable of accommodating 30,680 spectators in rugby stadium mode and from 10,000 to 40,000 spectators in concert mode. Initially planned to have a retractable roof, it is finally equipped with a permanent roof, with the rugby matches being played on an artificial turf. The choice of the roof is linked to acoustic reasons: "The opening and closing system would not have allowed sufficient watertightness, in terms of decibels, to respect the peace and quiet of the inhabitants during a Rolling Stones concert for example", according to architect Christian de Portzamparc.
Commercial premises within the stadium and 33,000 m2 of office space are also included. In concert configuration, the Paris La Défense Arena was, on the day of its inauguration, the largest venue in Europe, ahead of the Olimpiisky in Moscow and far ahead of the Accor Arena, which holds 20,300 people, and the Pierre-Mauroy stadium in Lille, which can hold 25,000 people in concert configuration. It is also the second largest arena in the world behind the Philippine Arena (55,000 seats, 20 km from Manila). It is equipped with 22 refreshment stands, 95 private boxes and 1,800 business seats. The arena has one of the largest projection walls in the world, with a surface area of 1,500 m2.
The facade is covered with 592 giant aluminium and glass scales illuminated by 3,000 LED strips that can vary in 16 million colours.
The project owner was Racing Arena, a subsidiary of the Ovalto Investissement holding company created by Jacky Lorenzetti, EPASA and the city of Nanterre. The arena is located on the Bouvets sports fields at the foot of the Grande Arche. Although it was expected that 80 pc of visitors would reach the site by public transport, the project included a car park with 500 spaces. In February 2011, French architect Christian de Portzamparc was chosen to design the Arena 92.
DEFENCE AND CYCLING
Thirty years later, the Tour de France returns to the La Défense district for its last stage. In 1992, it was Olaf Ludwig who won the second of his three stages in the Tour in a final stage starting from La Défense, after winning the green jersey two years earlier. Miguel Indurain won his second Tour de France on the Champs-Élysées. The municipalities in which the La Défense business district is located also have a cycling history.
Puteaux has a historic club, the CSM, which organised Paris-Auxerre for a long time and which included Yves Hézard in its ranks. It is also the birthplace of Henri Sannier, who commented on the Tour de France for France Télévisions.
Nanterre has also hosted two stages of the Tour de France: a start in 1986 and a finish in 1992 (victory by Peter de Clercq).
Finally, it was in Courbevoie that Frédéric de Civry, one of the most romantic characters of the early days of cycle racing, died of tuberculosis in 1893 at the age of 31. He is considered by some historians to be the first world road cycling champion in history after his victory in 1883 in a 50-mile race in Leicester, billed as a world championship.
On 160 hectares, the first European business district by its office park in high buildings. Created in the 1960s on the territories of Puteaux, Courbevoie and Nanterre, this district also hosts 600,000 m2 of housing and a shopping centre.
It is named after a bronze statue called La Défense de Paris, erected on the former Courbevoie roundabout in 1883, as a tribute to the defenders of the capital besieged by the Prussians during the 1870 war. The work of sculptor Louis-Ernest Barrias, moved in 1964, it was put back in place in 1983 almost at its initial place, on a pedestal.
Renouveau de La Défense was a project launched to modernise and develop this district between 2006 and 2019: to maintain the attractiveness of the site, notably through the construction of several towers.
Dalle de la Défense
It is a vast public space of 30 hectares, reserved for pedestrians (and emergency vehicles), where some sixty works of art are displayed. It is divided into several parts allowing access to the sectors and buildings of La Défense: Pont de Neuilly, the Pont de Neuilly crossroads, the Takis basin (since 2007, the Clos de Chantecoq, a tiny wine estate, has been installed on the edge of the slab), the Esplanade, Place de la Défense and finally the Parvis, framed by the shopping centre, the emblematic CNIT (Centre des nouvelles industries et technologies) with its triangular concrete vault, the first building built here, and the one that soon became the centre of interest: Grande Arche.
Grande Arche de la Défense
A 110-metre-high building, with 300,000 tons of pre-stressed concrete, covered in white and grey Carrara marble, with a grid of laminated glass openings. It houses, among other things, the central administration of the Ministry of Ecological Transition.
It was designed and inaugurated by President François Mitterrand in July 1989, the year of the bicentenary of the French Revolution and on the occasion of the G7 meeting. It was designed by Danish architect Johann Otto von Spreckelsen.
Centre for New Industries and Technologies (CNIT)
First building constructed in La Défense. Built in 1958, the CNIT has undergone two restructurings, completed in 1988 and 2009. Its characteristic shape is due to the triangular parcel of land it occupies, on the site of the former Zodiac1 factories, in the territory of Puteaux.
Opened in 2020, Table Square is a place dedicated to gastronomy and catering, including a high-end bistronomic restaurant, a quality takeaway lunch offer and a lounge/brasserie area. This original space, located in the middle of the Esplanade, offers a refreshing setting conducive to conviviality, a stone's throw from the Nouveaux Paysages and the Agam fountain. Over 4,500 m² of floor space and 800 m² of terraces, three buildings have emerged. They are entirely dedicated to gastronomy and good food. The bistronomic restaurant Eclipse offers a 360° panorama on the Esplanade and Grande Arche, and has a terrace on the top floor. The last restaurant to occupy the premises, 3 Brasseurs le Hub, benefits from a glass roof that gives a unique view of the towers of La Défense. All 7 restaurants offer take-away or on-the-go dining.
Table Square meets La Défense's desire to make the district a real place of life and leisure, beyond office hours. Great names in French cuisine have signed the restaurant menus, such as Anne-Sophie Pic, Olivier Bellin and Hugo Desnoyer.