The Axe Majeur is a monumental, immensely grand, work of art. At 3.2km long it is extraordinary despite not being complete according to the original plans. And somehow, despite it’s size, the Axe Majeur on the edge of Paris is hardly known outside of France…
Cergy village on the outskirts of Paris is quiet, peaceful and almost feels removed from the rest of the working planet. On the northern edge of the town though, visitors will find an immense, enigmatic feature of Gallic cultural evolution. It is a vast, contemporary and architectural symbol called the Axe Majeur.
There are twelve components to this sprawling ‘Major Axis’. The construction extends from the top of the town centre all the way down to an astronomical island feature in the river Oise well below in the valley. It starts high up with a great, bright white architectural crescent of contemporary buildings surrounding a tall viewing tower or belvedere which you can climb. At 36m high it offers fabulous, panoramic views over the Ile de France.
It moves on through gardens commemorating the impressionist artists and the establishment of the principal of human rights. As the terrain falls downwards towards the river, there are 12 arching columns to accentuate the view of the Oise river and Paris beyond. Steps down to an amphitheatre and a bright red elongated footbridge extending to the river basin complete the magnificent effect.
This architectural symbol represents a modern and natural urban landscape. The twelve features and the twelve columns symbolise time, the pace of human life and the very planet itself. It is a very modern monument, a shrine almost, to a contemporary 21st. Century France. It is an enormous and impressive feature built to last for all time. The linear positioning of the symbols have been aligned with the Champs de Mars that radiates outwards from the Eiffel tower in the centre of Paris.
In daily life it is a vibrant place for a promenade, a great place to relax and enjoy the views and a place where concerts and entertainment has the most amazing backdrop.
The Axe Majeur is served directly by St. Christophe station in Cergy. You can’t miss it – at the station entrance you will find the biggest clock face in Europe.
You may not understand the Axe Majeur but, it’s unlikely you won’t be impressed…
Website for Axe Majeur
Bob Lyons is a pilot turned travel writer who adores France.