Les Olympiades is a district of residential towers containing shops, restaurants, apartments, and recreational facilities. The main entrances to the towers are on the esplanade which has a shopping mall, known as the Pagode, standing at its centre. Below the towers are streets dedicated to serving for the deliveries for the shops.
The northern part of the neighbourhood is typical of the 13th arrondissement, with the Parc de Choisy and Lycée Claude Monet at the northern edge of the Olympiades and the Place d’Italie three blocks north.
From 1975 the site’s southern end began to attract Vietnamese and then Chinese residents, who also populated the main Chinatown in Paris around the southern end of the complex.
Built from 1969 to 1974, the district consists of twelve towers placed along a huge esplanade devoted to pedestrians and elevated 8 metres from the ground. Though the proportions are more modest, it’s designed similarly to the esplanade of La Défense. The eight tallest, 104-metre towers are named after cities that have hosted the Olympic Games.
The names of the towers are: Anvers (Antwerp), Athènes (Athens), Cortina, Helsinki, Londres (London), Mexico, Sapporo, and Tokyo. Other residential buildings, which are wider than they are tall, complete the district.
Les Olympiades was built with the aspiration that a population of young professionals would be attracted to this very modern complex offering multiple services, a plan known and later criticized as Italie 13. Since the end of Project Italie 13 and the return to a more traditional conception of the city, the huge Paris Rive Gauche project, starting a few hundred metres from the Olympiades, is the second large-scale urbanism project inside the city of Paris to be conducted since Italie 13.