Welcome to the Hauts de Seine region
Crossed by the Seine river and situated to the west of Paris, the Hauts-de-Seine department is well known for its european business district. It features a large number of green spaces, multiple hiking trails, walks along the Seine, in the woods, in wonderful parks and gardens and also traces of our historical Gallic past.
What to discover in the Hauts de Seine ?
01 - The business district of La Défense
This is what first comes to mind, in general, it is located on a historical axis, in the extension of the Champs Élysées, straddling the communes of Puteaux, Courbevoie and Nanterre. It is not only Europe's leading business district, but also a worldwide unique laboratory of art and architecture which we are going make you discover. Guests can take advantage of the countless activities that have developed in the area, along with the many hotels, restaurants and shops that are located in this pedestrian area.
02 - The unknown treasures in the Hauts de Seine
To the west of Paris, the region has a fascinating history which links it quite closely to the capital, the museums and castles of the region are unknown treasures. The area is also very appreciated by artists because of the green and flowery landscapes along the Seine, enriched by the passing of illustrious people. In the Seine's meanders and islands, the industrial revolution, with the installation of important factories and mechanical industries, has deeply marked the history of the region.
03 - Get inspired by famous painters
Impressionism is one of the most fascinating artistic periods of modern art. It reflects the radical changes that occurred simultaneously in art and society in the second half of the 19th century. Many impressionist works highlight the river, especially the part of the department adjacent to western Paris. A number of paintings evoke the villages of the Ile-de-France, or the banks of the Seine with canoeists and bathers.
04 - Military and civil heritage
Visit unusual, often unknown places, such as the animal cemetery in Asnières or places steeped in history and charged with emotion that commemorate events or people. Such places serve to remind the existence of important events in the life of inhabitants, like the loss of companions or cherished persons who died in tragic circumstances. These memorial locations are also worth a visit on your way to the Hauts-de-Seine.
05 - Land of art and architecture
The Hauts-de-Seine can be considered as a land of daring, where avant-garde pioneers set down their suitcases and try out new trends. The department features many remarkable and surprising works of art or buildings, treasures of architecture and innovation awaiting you to discover them and to learn about the artists who designed and built them. The west of Paris has frequently been the subject matter of architectural experiments, much less fixed in its decor than the Haussmannian structures of the capital.
Discover the district of La Défense
Above all, La Défense is a famous business district with a succession of modern buildings, but there are also contemporary sculptures, shops and large pedestrian areas. The impressive Grande Arche is the emblem of the district, work of the Danish architect Otto von Spreckelsen, it appears as a huge hollowed 3D cube, covered with white marble.
A living place
The district has about 25,000 residents, rather than being a simple office district, La Défense is a place where every day hundred thousand people come across. In addition, La Défense is a district where up to 8 million tourists come every year, whether for business or pleasure, and where many activities are available in this lively pedestrian area.
A laboratory of architecture
From 1958, the construction of the National Centre for International Trade sets the tone with the largest self-supporting concrete vault in the world ! Many towers have followed since then, offering an incredible panorama of modern architecture. Like the Grande Arche, the Arena, each structure pushes the limits of this district further, which is in perpetual motion. New architectural projects are studied to prepare for the future with daring.
A look at the rooftops of Paris
A total of 4 panoramic elevators will take you 110 meters high, to access the rooftop of the 35th floor of the Grande Arche. A visual shock from the very first seconds that continues on the bridge, a promenade that opens onto the largest avenue in the world. The historic axis and its buildings are lined up in front of us amazed by the greatest Parisian monuments, and by turning the head, the surrounding cities are unfolding in front of our eyes.
An open-air museum
La Défense is also the largest French open-air museum of modern art, a collection of more than 70 eclectic artworks, which we discover throughout our walk on the esplanade of General De Gaulle, or at the bend of a street, a square, in the shopping malls, in the R.E.R station, etc. Since 2007, La Défense has been exhibiting and preserving the works of world-renowned artists (Miró, Calder, César...) but also exposes the creations of new artists.
Vive les Groues
An initiative that aims to protect a 70,000-hectare wasteland in Nanterre from the ferocious appetite of investors, by involving the local population in the development plan of the ZAC des Groues. The initiators of "Vive les Groues" are confident that events taking place there today will contribute to invent the future district. Sharing local stories, organizing meetings and workshops, all become means to create a specific identity for the Groues region.
First post-carbon business district
When nature settles in the future environmental perspective, with the conversion of the esplanade of La Défense into a 50,000 m² urban park, it means that the La Défense district will become the first post-carbon business district in the world. The park's project is to amplify the role of vegetation by transforming the ground, while enhancing its heritage. It will transform the esplanade into an exceptional public space, destined to become a place for relaxation and meetings while promoting biodiversity.
Discover the unknown treasures of the Hauts de Seine
Castles, charming properties and private mansions ponctuate the department of Hauts-de-Seine. Take the time to explore the architectural patrimony of the region. Some museums and regional gardens are also close to more intimist and unusual settings. If you are fascinated by art, urban planning, automobiles, history or nature, you will find in the Hauts-de-Seine a panoply of fascinating things to do.
The Domaine de Sceaux is a traditional park of 180 hectares, dating from the 17th century, a nice sample of what we call today "a French garden".
Today, it is a large urban leisure space, with playgrounds, sport fields and many festivities. It is located 5 km southwest of Paris, in the communes of Sceaux and Antony, on a slope of the Bièvre valley, which André Le Nôtre skillfully exploited.
The Second Empire castle, built in the heart of the domain, houses the departmental museum, devoted to French taste. The collections stem from a fund coming, in part, from the Carnavalet Museum, which have been enriched by other acquisitions and donations. The tour dedicates to each successive owner, one of the large rooms of the castle.
In 1799, when Bonaparte and Josephine became the owners of the Château de Malmaison, they decided to carry out major renovations. They called upon the architects Percier and Fontaine, who transformed the old residence into a unique example of consular style, elegant and refined. The linear and graceful style that characterizes the interior decoration of the Château de Malmaison is directly inspired by 18th century art, but it also bears the innovative and inspired imprint of the two architects. Their style is a synthesis of Antiquity and the Renaissance. Besides the Bois-Préau and another residence acquired later, the domain includes a vast English garden with curves, gentle slopes, rivers and ponds, a genuine green setting of 17 hectares. The museum offers free tours to the apartments of Napoleon and Josephine, while the gardens, superbly laid out by Josephine, are an integral part of the visit.
The marquis de Voyer acquired, in 1750, a large country house with its outbuildings and gardens. From 1750 to 1752, he had his castle built on the foundations of the house by Jacques Hardouin-Mansart de Sagonne, an architect of the King. The château d'Asnières is an important work of art, characteristic of the 18th century. The marquis's bedroom still preserves its features and the two main staircases are equipped with fine iron railings from that period. The Marquis de Voyer, Director General of the Haras de France, in 1752, had the duty to house the best elements of the horse breed and for this purpose, the property includes various gardens, large stables located at the end of the estate, with a capacity of 120 horses, an open-air riding arena and a splendid riding arena with ashlar vaults, which housed up to 250 horses.
Other sights in the Haut de Seine region
A monumental sculpture of 24 m that you can visit from the inside. It was created after a model conceived in 1967 by Jean Dubuffet. Its framework in reinforced concrete is recovered by a shell consisting of 90 molded panels in epoxy resin.
In November 1807, the author and his wife Céleste moved into a gardener's house, adding his own personal touch to it. He arranged the house and the park himself, like a traveler surrounded by the memories of the visited countries.
The banker Albert Kahn had a dream of a peaceful world. Perceiving that his time would witness great changes, he created an iconographic memory of the world's societies from 1909 to 1931, through the images of some sixty countries.
The famous Christ of Corcovado, which protects the bay of Rio de Janeiro, was created by Paul Landowski. Firmly based on a classical style, it presents a diversity of monumental artworks illustrated by no less than 60 sculptures, paintings and drawings.
The city of ceramics by the diversity of events on this theme that are organized there. Since the 18th century, the Sèvres manufactory has continuously produced the famous porcelain of a unique world quality, a treasure trove of know-how to discover.
Rodin and his wife acquired the Villa des Brillants in 1895. For the last 20 years of his life, he used this green setting as his secret garden. The museum plunges us into the heart of his creative spirit, while his grave, with the "Thinker", is a call to meditation.
On display in the museum are works from the 19th century, including those of painters Consuelo Fould and Ferdinand Roybet, and sculptures by J.B. Carpeaux. Housed in the Sweden-Norway pavilion, built for the 1878 World's Fair, it has been reassembled in the Parc Bécon.
Since 2010, the 18th century Château Buchillot houses the Paul Belmondo Museum. It displays an exceptional collection of artworks donated by his children to the city of Boulogne-Billancourt. The artist was one of the last classical sculptors of the 20th century.
Constructed for the Universal Exhibition of 1878 in Paris, it was ordered by the Prince of Wales to exhibit the gifts from his journey in India. It was acquired by the owners of the Château de Bécon and converted into a villa-workshop.
Inaugurated in 2014, this building with rounded shapes is alone worth the detour. It offers both a complex vision and a feeling of fluidity, by playing with the light. It displays a permanent collection of masterpieces by several artists.
A journey through the time with the great chronological fresco, going back in time, from the middle-age to 2018. You can stroll through the 11th century and detour through the Renault factory, a major historical period of the Seguin Island.
Named after its initiator, the workshop was opened in Puteaux in February 2013, just as those of the De Dion-Bouton factory were once opened. A souvenir of the world's major car manufacturer's industrial past at the time.
Discover the places that inspired the famous painters
At the end of the 19th century, the islands of the Seine were transformed into places of leisure and festivity, where the Parisians came to canoe, to relax and have fun in the many guinguettes that were set up over there. One of the most fascinating artistic eras in modern art, the Impressionist period demonstrates the important changes that occurred in art and society in the second part of the 19th century. Many of the artists of that time took their inspiration from the landscapes along the Seine, and many of the Impressionist works bear witness to this.
From the Maison Fournaise to the Grenouillère
Since 1857, a restaurant and the Fournaise couple's boat workshop have been located on the island of Chatou, while the island of La Chaussée in Croissy-sur-Seine is home to the Grenouillère. The two establishments became very popular places and developed what is now called "the crazy atmosphere of the guinguettes". Impressionist painters such as Monet, Sisley, Berthe Morisot, Renoir and Pissarro were attracted by the scenes that took place there and were quick to immortalize them on their canvases. As early as 1864, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Claude Monet regularly set up their easels and captured the scenes with their paintings: "La Grenouillère" and "Bain à la Grenouillère", in 1869, or "le déjeuner des canotiers", in 1881, one of the last great works of Renoir. But these places also attracted illustrious writers like Guillaume Apollinaire or Guy de Maupassant who came to seek inspiration in the light of the quivering waters of the Seine.
More and more people visited the islands of the Seine, especially writers and artists who immortalized the frivolous atmosphere of the era. On the island of the Grande Jatte, in particular, many painters passed through, Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh and Alfred Sisley and Georges Seurat who left interesting marks on a new impressionist trend. On his canvas, "Un dimanche après-midi à l'île de la Grande Jatte", he develops a special dot work technique. At the 8th and last Impressionist exhibition in 1886, it was judged severely, despite a well-ordered composition, and critics cried scandal. However, Seurat takes up the fundamentals of Impressionism, but the brushstroke is very different. The fragmented brushstrokes, observed in others, have become dots, the breakup of the Impressionist movement is underway. In 1890, we witness the birth of Divisionism, of which Seurat and Signac are the worthy representatives.
Some remembrance places in Hauts de Seine
Pour mieux comprendre le riche passé historique des Hauts-de-Seine, découvrez des lieux empreints d'histoire et chargés d'émotion qui peuvent être visités en souvenir des événements qui ont marqué la population ou les êtres qu'ils commémorent.
The origins of Mont Valérien go right back to its spiritual origins, probably linked to the water springs that used to flow there.
The fort of Mont Valérien has become today an important memorial site of the 20th century's two great wars, although it was, before that, a strategic point of military defense the century before.
Regrettably, it was the scene of a tragic episode during the Second World War, where the Nazi regime executed about a thousand victims. Nowadays, guided tours, full of emotion, let you discover the context of that difficult period of history and to follow the path of the people condemned to death.
Unclassifiable and unknown, the animal cemetery of Asnières hosts the remains of cherished animals, heroes, celebrities or simply anonymous. Featuring beautiful graves, sometimes adorned with sculptures, it's an original place for a walk. Situated on the island of Ravageurs in the commune of Asnières-sur-Seine, taking advantage of the new law authorizing the burial of animals, Georges Harmois and Marguerite Durand created on May 2, 1899 the Société Française Anonyme du Cimetière pour Chiens et autres Animaux Domestiques (French Anonymous Company of the Cemetery for Dogs and Other Domestic Animals) and, on June 15, 1899, the company bought half of the island of Ravageurs from the Baron de Bosmolet, upstream from the Pont de Clichy.
Located in Marnes-la-Coquette, the Escadrille La Fayette Memorial was built from 1926 to 1928 in the Domaine de Villeneuve, following the First World War, in order to commemorate the sacrifice of the American aviators of the Escadrille La Fayette, who served in the French Army since 1914. Inaugurated on July 4, 1928, the American national holiday, in the presence of Marshal Foch and Paul Doumer, each year the anniversary of the war is celebrated at the memorial, which is also used for the November 11 ceremonies, bringing together soldiers and civilians from both countries. The central median is crowned by a superb triumphal arch and flanked by porticoes giving access to the underground crypt.
Located on the eastern slope of Mont Valérien, the Suresnes American cemetery is the only memorial site in Europe to associate the two world wars. It is a solemn place created in 1917, on a site of just over 3 hectares, and was inaugurated in 1919. In total, it hosts some 1,541 American soldiers fallen during the First World War and 24 unknown soldiers from the Second World War. An imposing chapel was built as well as 2 richly decorated rooms are entirely dedicated to the memory of these 2 conflicts. Granted by France to the United States of America, the military cemetery is part of a peaceful setting, steeped in history, and classified by the Ministry of Defense as a high place of memory.
To the discovery of an art and architecture land
As a land of daring, the Hauts de Seines department is like a big exhibition laboratory to present innovative and revolutionary architectures, like works of art. Many pioneers have settled in the area, from the avant-gardists of the Dada movement to Frank Gehry's building all in curves and ruptures, the area keeps the memories of over a century of arts and architectures.
His real name is Charles-Édouard Jeannneret, more commonly known as "Le Corbusier". He lived on the last two floors of the Molitor building, classified as an historical monument, at N°24 rue Nungesser-et-Coli, just on the border of Paris and Boulogne-Billancourt. He is an innovative architect, the first to have built a residence with a completely glazed façade. Light-filled, his apartment also houses his painting studio, that can be visited by contacting the Boulogne-Billencourt tourist office.
La Seine musicale is implanted at the downstream tip of the Île Seguin, on a 2,35 ha land that used to house the Renault factories. The building was inaugurated on April 21 and 22, 2017, following a week of free open days and concerts. It is a 1,150-seat auditorium and the main stage room can hold up to 6,000 seats, with a 7, 200 m² roof garden. Conceived like a boat in the river, the figurehead of the Seguin Island, the building is designed by Shigeru Ban and Jean de Gastines, with curved lines following the contour of the downstream tip of the Seguin Island.
On the esplanade of La Defense, the fountain was designed like a spectacular work of art, with 86 different shades of Venetian enamel, and is the work of the Israeli artist Yaacov Agam, a former student of the Bauhaus school in Germany. This is a superb example of kinetic art, its system propels the 66 water jets to 15 m, thanks to a unique propulsion system with a variable frequency allows for effects of water balls in suspension in the air. A digital system controls the rythm of the jets, with the sound of 4 loudspeakers placed on the esplanade, orchestrating musical ballets, at the hours of office exits.
Exclusively visible from the outside, this villa is the precursor of the reinforced concrete constructions of our time. Built between 1901 and 1903, it was designed to house 3 to 4 family members. More than a simple dwelling, it was thought to promote the technique of reinforced concrete whose engineer Hennebique, had filed the patent. The construction shows the company's know-how, with volumes arranged in a complex and original way, integrating a garden on all levels and a tower with a water tank, for the watering of the suspended roof garden.