Cœur de quartier

Cœur de quartier 2020 © Bouygues ACBarbier

The Cœur de Quartier development project will be completed in 2021. Ten years earlier, in 2011, the developer signed the first sales of land for the first phase of the Cœur de Quartier project. Formerly a railway wasteland, Cœur de Quartier is now more than 128,000 sq.m. of housing, offices, shops, green spaces, new public spaces and cycle paths.

Its exceptional location, enhanced by its excellent public transport links within the multimodal station, provides a link between La Défense and the University of Paris Ouest, encouraging exchanges and meetings between residents, students and employees. Focused on quality of life for all generations, the district offers a variety of facilities to meet everyone's needs: a dynamic economic centre, contemporary housing and a full range of shops.

Directly linked to the 32 hectares of the Paris Nanterre university campus, the district offers a real opportunity to create a dynamic centre of shops and services. This living space offers 14,000 sq.m. of service and convenience stores at the foot of the buildings on Rue des Terrasses and along Boulevard des Provinces Françaises. The allée de Corse, a pedestrian axis that criss-crosses the entire district, offers commercial continuity and dynamism throughout the site, leading to the Terrasses, which is rich in green spaces and shared gardens.


  1. A former railway site transformed
  2. Cœur de Quartier or how to recreate a centrality and reweave the city
  3. A programme in 2 stages
  4. Public spaces, a real "urban seam"

    1. A transformed former railway site

Prior to redevelopment, the Coeur de Quartier site was mainly occupied by heavy transport infrastructures that constituted real urban cuts between the various districts of Nanterre, in particular:

  1. the RATP technical installations
  2. the RER A, Cergy branch (overhead route on a bridge over the Boulevard des Provinces Françaises, then on a raised embankment)
  3. RER A, St Germain branch (overhead alignment at TN level)
  4. the Transilien L (overhead route at the TN, then on a viaduct joining the RER A Cergy branch)
  5. the A14 motorway, buried, the roof of the buried structures being in a state of wasteland. There were two crossing points for the railways:
  6. between the University and the Boulevard des Provinces Françaises: pedestrian crossing by the Nanterre University station
  7. between rue Anatole France, boulevard Mansart and the Rathelot barracks: a pedestrian walkway with metal footbridges. Finally, the site also included
  8. a "Logitransports" housing building (RATP social housing company)
  9. a shopping centre (co-ownership)

Perimeter of the Cœur de Quartier project – 2005 © Philippe Guignard Air Image

2. Cœur de Quartier or how to recreate a centrality and reweave the link in the city

The Cœur de Quartier operation is based on the creation of a new centrality, based on a mixed construction programme.

Its objective is twofold:

  • To create a place of life and animation at the interface between the University of Nanterre Paris Ouest La Défense, the Cité des Provinces Françaises, and the other surrounding districts
  • To erase the breaks generated by the infrastructures by creating a new mixed urban fabric and quality public spaces

The operation was based on the following elements:

  • The relocation of the RATP's technical facilities (PST de La Folie) to another site in Nanterre
  • The construction of a new Nanterre University station, which is more accessible and facilitates connections between the RER, Transilien and buses.
  • Emphasis on the importance of pedestrians and public transport, with a major new network of public spaces based on engineering structures, to absorb the breaks generated by the infrastructures.

    3. A 2-stage programme

Cœur de quartier Figure 1 Overview image

The East lots (2013-2015)

The first phase, entrusted to the architect Jean-Paul Viguier, saw the construction of offices (City Life), as well as family housing, two student residences, shops and new public spaces, notably the reconfiguration of the Boulevard des Provinces Françaises. Creating a place of life and urban activity around the Nanterre-Université multimodal station, which was completely rebuilt in 2015, on a site that was until now only a transit hub between inhabited areas, and installing a facility that both intersects the urban fabric and has a regional influence, was the planning decision for this sector of the University district.

The development of this project was complex due to the nature of the land, crossed by railway infrastructures belonging to the RATP, and its topography. Through its urban and architectural quality and its programmatic diversity, this first phase gave the impetus for the renewal of the district.

On 19 April 2013, the foundation stone for this huge property programme was laid. Construction was completed in 2015.

Cœur de Quartier in 2015, completion of the eastern lots (phase 1) © Philippe Guignard Air Image

The Western lots (2015-2021)

The second phase of the Cœur de quartier operation will be completed in the summer of 2021. It takes place in the immediate vicinity of the station and extends to the new Terrasses 6, 7 and 8, which will be delivered in May 2019.

The western lots were designed by Bouygues Immobilier, through its UrbanEra® approach, and by the François Leclerc Associés architectural firm, on behalf of the city of Nanterre and Paris La Défense. Named Nanterre Cœur Université, this complex of property lots (housing, offices and shops) is part of the process initiated by the City of Nanterre and Paris La Défense to develop a real living area and to offer something complementary to the historic business district.

The Nanterre Coeur Université programme in figures
Total surface area: 76,600 sq.m. (floor area)
Housing: 35,000 sq.m. or 500 homes
Shops: 14,000 sq.m. - i.e. approximately 40 shops including a 10-screen cinema, a fitness room and a climbing gym
Offices: 27,600 sq.m. - 2 office buildings with a capacity of approximately 2,000 employees
Shared gardens: 2,500 sq.m.
. Parking: 750 spaces

Cœur de Quartier in 2020, completion of the Western lots (phase 2) © Bouygues ACBarbier

4. Public spaces, a true "urban seam"

The development of public spaces is an essential element of the project. These new roads and spaces create a link with the rest of the city. This work carried out by Paris La Défense now allows the Coeur de quartier to be perfectly integrated into its urban environment, in the heart of the City of Nanterre.

The public spaces under the control of Paris La Défense include

  • the redevelopment of the Boulevard des Provinces Françaises, with the creation of the allée d'Aquitaine
  • the creation of public spaces serving the Nanterre University station, part of which is based on engineering structures (Anatole France viaduct, forecourt, Provinces Françaises square slab, extended Blaise Pascal street)
  • the creation of public spaces to connect to the university: Cours Nicole Dreyfus
  • the creation of a pedestrian way, a commercial artery of the district called allée de Corse;
  • the creation of Terrasses 6, 7 and 8;
  • the extension of boulevard Pesaro.
  • the creation of Abdendi Guémiah Boulevard
  • In addition, the project required the developer to build engineering structures to isolate the buildings of the West Lots from the railway tracks (covering the RER A branch to Cergy).

These public spaces, which have now been delivered in both the eastern and western parts, create a real network and connections with the adjacent neighbourhoods. The RER infrastructures are partly covered by engineering structures to isolate them, the A14 motorway is covered by green spaces (terraces 6, 7 and 8).

The university, which used to be enclosed by the railway infrastructure, is now linked to the east by the extension of the Boulevard des Provinces Françaises and to the west by the Esplanade Patrice Chéreau. The loop is complete!

The new Boulevard des Provinces Françaises - 2021 © Paris La Défense leblueduck-Florence Delaby

Vegetated terraces on the motorway cover - 2019 © Carlos Ayesta

Click to enlarge and see all images

  • Cœur de quartier view 1 2005 © Philippe Guignard Air Image
  • Cœur de quartier view 2 2005© Philippe Guignard Air Image
  • Cœur de quartier 2013 © Philippe Guignard Air Image

Did you know ?

Paris La Défense has covered the A14 with green spaces, in the Axe de la Grande Arche. To backfill the land without weighing down the motorway cover, a lightweight backfill composed of light and resistant polystyrene blocks was chosen. The use of this material on such a large surface is a first in France !