Rethinking La Defense

la defense parisI am not a big fan of modern French architecture, and most of it in Paris is mediocre at best. A few years ago I ventured to La Defense when the first Uniqlo store opened. I didn’t think much of it at the time, just a set of mostly nondescript modern glass towers, which could have been in any city in the world.

For some reason I wanted to give La Defense a second try, as I thought it could be photographically interesting. I hadn’t taken my camera out in ages, as I have been so busy with my photo show and tours in the past weeks, so it felt good to have my camera around my neck and ready to shoot.

cross in la defenseOn an Indian summer day last week, it was sunny and clear with the temperature hovering about 72 degrees. As I exited up the escalator I got a great shot of La Grande Arche, a modern day arch on the same axis as the Arche de Triomphe. The shapes and juxtaposition of the buildings clustered near each other against the crystal blue sky were a feast for my camera eye. The more I shot, the more appreciative and aware I was of the architecture, not dismissing it like I did the first time I visited. Another surprising feature I didn’t notice before were the striking sculptures in the complex. I learned there are 60 monuments and sculptures by such noted artists such as Cesar, Miro, Calder, and Francois Morellet. 

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