La Defense – Not so Great a View


Is it really worth the 7.50 Euros for the view of the Arc de Triomphe – and the Eiffel Tower marred by the rectangular blurr behind it (Tour Montparnasse)? That’s the view you get from the top of La Defense’s Grand Arche, Mitterand’s triumphal entrance into this future world of concrete and more concrete.
La Defense is a fascinating place – but on a Sunday afternoon, it takes an eerie turn – newspapers and trash whoosh along the wind tunnel of the esplanade. You definitely don’t want to be here on a wet and windy day, but even on a sunny Sunday, I feel like the people sitting outside are working hard at having a good time. Actually the most relaxed setting is inside – either at the Dome – a huge theater and shopping complex and the surprisingly tasteful McDonalds located next to the Dome complex. Fascinating as the Grande Arche is, architecturally speaking, the actual ascent of the Grande Arche was a big disappointment for our group of five. On a Sunday the upper level is deserted. The restaurant is closed – the art exhibit – uninspiring.
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MacDonalds with techno music piped in. Paintings of apples on the wall? Think “healthy food” even if you’re still eating fries. And why were we in a McDonalds? To use the bathrooms, of course, but this time they were temporarily out of order. Which is why we headed for the Dome. Right next door at the top of the escalator and down the main corridor, you can find extremely tidy public WCs.
Here’s the interior of the ‘Dome’. Welcome to the future.
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