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Another grand arch for Paris.

Simple shapes mark the designs of some of Paris' colossal new architectural works. Joining the list of Paris landmarks, along with I.M. Pei's glass pyramid at the Louvre, is the hollowed cube of La Grande Arche de la Defense. When its glass-walled elevators first rose within their open-air steel shafts last September, visitors gained a new overlook for Paris sight-seeing. Designed by late Danish architect Otto von Spreckelsen, the arch is the signature building of a high-rise business, academic, and residential center started some 25 years ago; it is to Paris what Century City is to Los Angeles--a planned city within a city. With its 30-story cutout, the 35-story arch glistens with white marble and glass, forming the western end of 5-mile axis that includes the Louvre, Place de la Concorde, and Arc de Triomphe. For views of these and other landmarks--from Montmartre's Sacre-Coeur to the Eiffel Tower and beyond--visitors ascend 54 marble steps to the canopied outdoor lobby called Le Nuage (cloud). The elevator ride--which feels like a rocket launch--to the 2 1/2-acre roof terrace is 30 francs ($4.50), 20 francs ages under 12. Roof galleries host cultural exhibitions. To reach the arch, take the Metro to the Charles de Gaulle Etoile stop. Change to the RER's A line west to La Defense (6 francs or $1 each way). The stop for La Grande Arche opened last fall; look for Exit E "Sortie La Grande Arche." Ascend escalators to the plaza. As at all the city overlooks, smog can sometimes obscure panoramic views.
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Title Annotation:La Grande Arche de la Defense
Publication:Sunset
Date:May 1, 1990
Words:257
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