Grande Arche de la Defense

Wednesday - March 6, 2002
The conference began on Thursday, so I spent most of the day working, but I did get a chance to get out a bit. Heidi had to get some prizes for the evening event, so in the morning we went to a shopping center in La Defense, the business area of Paris. The centerpiece of the area is the Grande Arche de la Defense, an arch-shaped 28 story office building with offices for 30,000 workers. It is the northern end of monuments that line up long the path of the Champs-Elysees - the Arc de Triomphe, the Place de la Concorde, and the Louvre.

After setting up for the conference, I went over the L'Opera neighborhood to check out the opulent Galleries Lafayette department store. Under a huge golden dome, shoppers browsed among the best of everything. From the top-floor cafe, L'Opera Garnier across the street was a jewel tucked a among the charming old buildings. On the stationary floor, I purchased a few watercolors from the resident artist, Jean-Luc Le Gall.

That evening Heidi and I had dinner with some customers from Germany. The food wasn't that great, but we had a good time. We returned to the hotel before midnight, an early night by Parisian standards.

My room at the Hotel Concorde La Fayette was much bigger and had more amenities, but I preferred the charm and location of the Hotel de la Tulipe. Still, the view from the 23rd floor was nice. Even though Heidi's southern-facing room had the best view, my view included a very cool soccer field with an expressway running under it. The hotel had it's quirks for a business hotel, like really bad 70s music piped into the lobby and elevators, the creepy Big-Brother TV, and the occasional prostitute in the lobby bar. next>>

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