Axe Majeur, in Cergy-Pontoise a suburb northwest of Paris, is a sort of urban monument inspired by the great urban avenues of the Renaissance period. It extends for more than three kilometers and opens up on a remarkable panoramic view towards the city of Paris. This urban work was created by the Israeli artist Dani Karavan and the Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill. It’s a huge complex and the construction of the Axe Majeur took nearly thirty years starting from 1980. The promenade is composed of 12 thematic stations that can have different symbolical meanings alluding to the 12 tribes of Israel, the 12 Apostles, 12 signs of the zodiac or the 12 months of the year.
The starting point of the Axe is Place des Colonnes Hubert-Renaud with the Belvedere Tower right in the middle. The square is surrounded by two semi-circular Neoclassical residential buildings with the recognisable architectural style that characterises many of the realisations of the Catalan architect Ricardo Bofill. Stepping out from the square there’s the Esplanade de Paris, a terrace with a panoramic view of Paris and La Défense. On its edge there are les douze colonnes, 12 white concrete columns – they are 12 meters tall. The vibrant red pedestrian bridge designed by the artist Dani Karavan takes from the amphitheater Gérard Philipe to the so-called astrological island.