On the outskirts of Paris, at the last stop in the #1 Metro line, lies La Défense, the largest special-purpose business district in Europe. Fifteen of the world’s fifty largest companies are headquartered here. New skyscraper construction is ongoing. Anyone who thinks that France is a cute, cuddly and archaic country should check out La Défense—where the architectural homage to aggrandizement, capitalism and perhaps crypto-fascism is unabashed.
In the direct line of sight of the distant Arc de Triomphe, the giant cubist arch at La Défense not so much complements the Arc de Triomphe as attempts to trivialize it. The white marble steps climb abruptly upwards towards the government offices within the vast space enclosed by the hollow cube. They are slippery when wet, as it was when I visited in a light, cold rain.
To make the image shown above, I exposed for the very white stairs, intentionally selected an aperture for shallow depth-of-field (f/5.6), and focused closely on the stairs in the extreme foreground, allowing the businessman climbing the stairs in the background to appear out of focus and silhouetted.