La Défense is a major business district of the Paris Metropolitan Area and of the Île-de-France region, located in the commune of Courbevoie, and parts of Puteaux and Nanterre, just west of the city of Paris.
La Défense is Europe's largest purpose-built business district with 560 hectares (5.6 million square metres) area, 72 glass and steel buildings and skyscrapers, 180,000 daily workers, and 3.5 million square metres (37.7 million sq ft) of office space. Around its Grande Arche and esplanade ("le Parvis"), La Défense contains many of the Paris urban area's tallest high-rises, and is home to no fewer than 1,500 corporate head offices, including those of 15 of the top 50 companies in the world.
The district is located at the westernmost extremity of the ten-kilometre-long Historical Axis of Paris, which starts at the Louvre in Central Paris, and continues along the Champs-Élysées, well beyond the Arc de Triomphe along the Avenue de la Grande Armée before culminating at La Défense. The district is centred in an orbital motorway straddling the Hauts-de-Seine département municipalities of Courbevoie, Nanterre and Puteaux. La Défense is primarily a business district, and hosts only a population of 25,000 permanent residents and 45,000 students. La Défense is also visited by 8,000,000 tourists each year, and houses an open-air museum.