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La Défense - Parisian Manhattan


01.jpg„La Défense“ fascinates because of people. Their concentration and the fact that the face and atmosphere of this quarter radically change depending on the moment of the day or the year season.
If you want to see Parisians in their everyday hectic and at the same time life enjoying existance, go to „La Défense“.Because it is interesting. Full of contrasts, it lives in a fast rythm during the work days and on the weekends it is almost dead, the space between the skyscrapers is empty, there is nobody except the groups of tourists, that the bus tours unload here. And on the winter weekends it is literally empty. Dozens of floors of many skyscrapers and tall buildings are filled with big international companies.

Come here in the morning, stand in front of the huge white staircase under th02.jpge arc „Arche de la Défense“, face the constant flow of regularly marching people, giving the impression like if they were programmed to direct themselves to the skyscrapers entrances. While walking automatically, they are on the phone, type textos or emails, read newspapers, are lost in their thoughts, are on that fragile border, when our mind passes from the private world to the professional one. Those moments when we finish to tell what remained untold at home in the morning, and we start the most urgent professional issues of the day.

Observe the crowds, all those elegant classically dressed bisnissmen, in 03.jpgwhite, or sky blue shirts, dark costumes and bright ties, perfectly dressed charming Parisian women walking on their high heels, diffusing to their close environment delicious perfume smells, slight make-up, classical non-extravagant style of clothes, modern, but discrete. Some time ago I read an interesting interview with the artist Edmond Kiriaz, who was awarded by the mayor Betrand Delanoë a medal „la Grande médaille de Vermeil“. This nice older man is an author of pictures, paintings, posters with long-legged, slim „Parisiennes“ – „Parisian women“. In the interview he admitted that he likes to observe women and girls in Paris sitting in the café terasses, he enjoys to grab pieces of their discussions and inspire04.jpgs himself with unexhaustible source of women beauty. He said that a woman who wants to please, is not attractive for him. He does not like the models, but he enjoys admiring the natural beauty and charm of women involved in discussions, walking, talking, shopping. And La Défense is certainly a place where you will notice the charm of Parisian women, although they care about their look, in their mind they are somewhere else, they are focused on their work day, professional problems, they do not walk with the aim of seduction, their looks are foggy, ignoring the surrounding world. And as you observe the crowds of people walking to work, you realize that none of them is looking at you, you have the feeling you are invisible, people walk towards you without seeing you.

At lunch time the atmosphere radically changes. Again everybody is outstide, but the foggy dreaming looks and regular sounds of the steps on the ground are replaced by thousands of relaxing people, sitting in the restaurants, or with a sandwich or salad on the stairs under the Arc of la Défense, on the benches, on the boards of the big flower pots, fountains, or lyi05.jpgng on the grass. Everybody takes the energy in his or her own way. Hundreds of restaurants in La Défense are full of people, sendwiches are a big business, especially in summer months, when everybody wants to avoid the work canteen. People sitting on the stairs under the Arc resemble to the birds on electric wires, on the wide and high staircase there is almost not a free square meter. Two hour lunches are a proof of the French „savoir-vivre“, lunches with colleagues, professional meetings with clients or partners, you can notice couples in an intimate pose or discussion. We are in France and the infidelity in the married couples can be identified on many work places, the meeting possibilities of these secret lovers06.jpg are reduced to „professional lunches“, „unexpected businness travels“ and „long evenings spent at work“.

On weekends, and especially in winter months La Défense is empty, without life, and it is often said that this quarter can get dangerous at night. However, even if it does not look so on the first sight, in la Défense people not only work but also live. When you are attentive, among thousands of businessmen you can see a mother with a stroller or a jogger.

Maria Dopjerova-Danthine, Paristep


Preview of picture in folder Paris La Défense | Jan Schinko jr.