Archive for May 21st, 2018

May 21, 2018

The outer Paris for business and pleasure!

As you might know Paris is a small city, and only about 2,2M(2014 INSEE)  folks; the reason it looks so big is that normally they include all the metropolitan area that grows to more than 7M (2014 INSEE) folks. The metro area is small too only about 105 square km or about 41 square miles. However, outside the boulevard périphérique or beltway road of Paris there is another world and it is great too.

The grand Hauts-de-Seine dept 92 is full of beautiful town and chic neighborhoods. I have been lucky to have been able to see the outer Paris. Once worked in Suresnes a wonderful town, and have my World HQ company in La Défense on a new tower Carpe Diem where I make my regular runs all year around. So let me tell you a bit about these two 92émes cities! Suresnes and La Défense (not a city per se as it is an agglomeration of several cities).

Let me tell you that Suresnes is in the department Hauts de Seine 92 in the Ile de France region sitting on the left bank of the Seine river and part of the overall Metropole of Grand Paris and the territory west of La Défense. It is surrounded by Puteaux and Nanterre on the north, Saint Cloud on the south, Rueil Malmaison on the west and Paris on the east.

The transportation here is dense but fluid and never a traffic jam. The current bridge dates from 1950 and has 30 meters long; there are levies first ones appeared in 1864-1869, and others followed in 1880 and 1885 to improve river traffic between Paris and Rouen in Normandy. Next to the levies ,there was the basin of Saint Cloud-Suresnes on the limits of two bridges by same name and was used to test hydroplanes before today gives way to the practice of nautical sports such as motonautic, ski nautique and wakeboard.

There is a good train station here on Gare de Suresnes-Mont Valérien on the line L of the Transilien coming out of Paris Saint Lazare train station ,very familiar to me. There is also a line 2 of the tramway that I ,also, got to test on the station Suresnes-Longchamp , and Belvédère both very crowded nowdays; there are ,also several bus lines passing by here such as the no 93, 141, 144, 157, 160, 175, 241, 244, 360, 544, and 563 of RATP and the night line N53 of Noctilien. Driving from Porte Maillot take the N185 road (allée de longchamp) thru the Bois de Boulogne and cross the Seine river at the D1/D785 pont de Suresnes into blvd Henri Sellier. When I came from Versailles by car, I took several options depending on the traffic news.

A bit of history on Suresnes.

The name of the town comes from the Latin Surisnce.  By 918AD Charles the  Simple gave the domain to count of Paris, Robert I and the abbot of Saint Germain des Prés. By 1593, king Henri IV of France had his conferences here in from of the Catholic from the Royal army and the League. In 1844, the ruins of the abbey of the congregation of priest of the calvary were been rebuilt to have the Fort of Mont Valerien (today still a military compound)  and making it as well a place of religious place. In 1914, the WWI starts and Suresnes becomes one of the places to produce ammonition and rockets. During WWII, the fort of Mont Valerien was occupied by the nazis and was the theater of many executions ,more than 1000. From 1941 to 1944, the Catholic priest Franz Stock accompany the prisioners to their last wish and on 1942 the writer and resistant fighter Jacques Decour (Daniel Decourdemanche) died for France on the firing wall executed by the nazis The Mémorial de la France Combattant du Mont Valerien is today  a place of pilgrimage; each year on June 18  the President of France comes here for the commemoration. In 1974 it was held here the 26th Congress of the Spanish workers socialists party (PSOE) then in exile from dictator General Franco in Spain.

Webpage on the memorial of Mont Valerien. Memorial of Mont Valerien

Things to see in Suresnes:

The Notre Dame de la Paix Chuch, Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, Notre Dame  de la Salette Chapel, Saint Leufroy Chapel, Saint Louis Chapel, and Fort du Mont Valerien Chapel. Here at the Mont Valérien you see the fortress, mémorial of France Combattant, and the American cemetery of Suresnes; You ,also see the Terrace of Fécheray with a view of Paris and La Défense, best view of Paris from here in my opinion.  There is recenlty as 2013 a new Museum of Urban and social history of Suresnes in the old train station of Suresnes-Longchamp   Showing the evolution of the city from the 1920-1930.  IT has 7 sequences that the visitor cand discover on its past from religious to military, as wel as the agriculture history of the city with its many factories. On the first floor, you have the story on the person of Henri Sellier, mayor of Suresnes from 1919 to 1941 showing his devotion to the city and the urban projects such as the cité jardins etc. More here on the museum: Museum of Urban Social History

American Cemetery of Suresnes: American Cemetery of Suresnes

Not to mention,and along an anecdote to come here are the wines of Suresnes and its festival of the grape on each October as well as the Confrérie du vin or wine brotherhood. The vineyards here were cultivated on the lands of Couvaloux,  Bons Raisins, and Pas Saint Maurice. You can buy the wines at the tourist office always. Tourist office on the wine in French: The vineyards of Suresnes

Now I go not far to La Défense

La Défense  is a business district located in the metropole of the Grand Paris in the region of Île de France, the first in Europe by its inventory of offices buildings.  It is located in the north west  of Paris  in the department of Hauts de Seine no 92 and the territory of the cities of Puteaux, Courbevoie, Nantes and La Garenne-Colombes . It is on the historical axis that starts at the Louvre palace and continues avenue des Champs-Elysées  Arc de Triomphe and onwards to the Pont de Neuilly and the Grande Arche de la Défense.  The opening in 1981 of the shopping mall Les Quatre Temps made a strong impact on the area and we enjoyed always there; more here: Les 4 temps shopping Mall

The neighborhoods of the La Défense has connection from the boulevard circulaire or beltway to the interior and exterior on a one way basis. It is large of 160 hectares and divided into four sectors such as Arche Nord, Arche Sud, Esplanade Nord , and Esplanade Sud.  The neighborhood is surrounded around a huge pedestrian square of 31 hectares, surrounded by works of arts. The circulation is around the autoroute A14 reaching La Défense by two exits one at Courbevoie and the other at La Garenne-Colombes (road D992) and another onwards to Puteaux and Nanterre (913). There is an underground city and on transports it has even a bus terminal reaching all parkings  with many transports choices including metro line 1 ,RER A Tramway 2 ,the express lane bus Express A14, many bus lines, night bus N24. Here I have come by train tramway and car. Trains from Rive Droite in Versailles or Saint Lazare in Paris, and tramway line 2 from Suresnes or by car along the Seine river D7 road.

A bit of history I like

The idea took thought in 1766 when Jean Rodolphe Perronet gives a road from his tower to mark the continuation of the Champs-Elysées with a prospective from the hill of Roule (future Place Charles de Gaulle /Arc de Triomphe) ,and the first houses of Neuilly  this road had the name of Chemin des Cours, and going to the hill of Chantecoq. At this location, it was designed a round square modeled after the Place de l’Etoile that was name Place de l’Etoile Chantecoq on whch an obelisk was placed of 40 meters  high. When the siege of Paris in 1870-71, the round square of Courbevoie was fortified and here was defended by the marching 19th regiment in 1870 after the Prussian show up in Malmaison. The round point became an obligatory passage of the French troops when preparing for the battle of Buzenval in 1870 and later in 1871. After the battle of Courbevoie in 1871, and during the uprisings of Paris, the troops from Versailles came to hold here than fired upon the pont de Neuilly held by the volunteers of the French National Guard.

The urban revival of the area was and is huge.  The first generation towers all identical with a base of 42 by 24 meters and a height of 100 meters was done in 1966 by the Tour Nobel ; early in the 1970’s the second generation towers came into being with towers of more than 100K square meters such as the Tour Fiat (today call Areva) at 184 meters high and 44 floors. IN 1970, the gare de la Défense was opened with the RER A. Later the third generation towers came to be on a more economical model.  Narrower and lower such as the Tour Pascal, tour Voltaire, and on the neighborhoo of MIchelet. On a contest started in 1982, the Grande Arche de la Défense see its day as well as hotels, CNIT renovated, and the extension of line  1 of the metro opened in 1992 making Paris closer.

Today, La Défense is the first Business district of Europe! New towers are going up such as the T1 at 185 meters and Tour Granite at 184 meters,and also the biggest Tour First at 231 meters is the highest skyrise in France. Many government services are moved here such as the environment ministry, and territorial ministry house in the Grande Arche, Tour Seguoia and Tour Pascal. At the side of the city of Courbevoie, you have  the tour D2 opened in 2015, Carpe Diem opened in 2103 and since early 2017 our world headquarters for my company.  Tour Majunga done in 2014

By this year, there will be two towers of more than 200 meters such as the tour First ,Sisters, and Air, 20 towers of more than 150 meters and 46 towers of more than 100 meters. Taken a look from the bridge or Pont de Neuilly you have the crossroads of the pont de Neuilly a busy road  to make for the exits from the autoroute A14 the boulevard Circulaire (beltway) and the quays on the Seine river  crossed by an open air ride on the metro line 1. The Basin Takis on the extreme east of the parvis with a great view of Neuilly-sur-Seine and Paris (historical axis and tour Eiffel). There is even a small vineyard there the Clos de Chantecoq on the border of the parvis. The Esplanade on the historical axis with trees and benches on a narrow passage way; then you come to the Place de la Défense on the circle and surrounded by the towers Ariane, Opus 12, Coeur Défense, etc) a very busy intersection by on foot folks and you find the information bureau and the museum of La Défense. The parvis itself is a huge space surrounded by the Grande Arche de la Défense , CNIT ,the shopping center Les 4 temps and underneath the exchange knot for public transports, huge underneath with tramway bus ,metro and RER ; and on top the place for the Christmas market ; all surrounded by nice streets such as the Place des Saisons, place Jean Millier (where the towers Total and Areva are), and the cours Valmy.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here,and ask me if doubts.

News on La Défense :

Non official but better La Défense in French :

The Grande Arche de la Défense in English :

Hauts de Seine tourist office on La Défense :

This is the tourist office for the region of ïle de France covering both places as well

Ile de France tourist office

There you go an alternative to Paris proper is to go shopping at Les 4 Temps huge mall, then eat at one of the many restaurants in the parvis and esplanade and walk with an eye view from the Grande Arche de la nse ito the Arc de Triomphe and all the way tot he Arc du Carrousel. You can then climb above the Grande Arche for spectacular views of Paris. A good day with the family indeed.

Hope it helps your planning; like I said, happy travels, good health ,and many cheers to all! Tomorrow back to work lol!!!

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