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Porte Maillot is one of the gateways in the former Bois de Boulogne wall built in the 16th century during the reign of Henri II, and is also on the line formed by the Thiers ramparts designed to defend Paris in the 19th century. These lines were used as a basis for the route of the Paris beltway. Porte Maillot is located at the corner of the Avenue de la Grande-Armée and the Boulevard de l'Amiral-Bruix, on the west side of the city, between the 16th and 17 districts. Two steps away from Porte Maillot is the Paris conference center, "Palais des Congrès.
With its creative architecture and imposing slanted façade, designed by Christian de Portzamparc, the Palais des Congrès is a venue for trade shows, a business center and a concert hall. Inaugurated in 1974, it is now a landmark of the city. Many French and international artists have given concerts there: Léo Ferré and Serge Lama, just one year after it opened to the public, Michel Sardou and more recently, Bob Dylan, Laurent Gerra and Elton John. The Palais des Congrès also offers grandiose spaces for holding professional meetings.
In a quite symbolic manner, Porte Maillot and its Palais de Congrès also form a gateway into the business district of La Défense.