Arc de Triomphe
Visit Arc de Triomphe (Paris, France)
The Arc de Triomphe (Arch of Triumph), in the center of Place Charles de Gaulle in Paris, is France’s most famous monument. As the world’s second largest triumphal arch, it stands 165 feet (50 meters) in height, and is a prime example of 18th century neo-classicism. The arch was designed by the architect Jean François Thérèse Chalgrin, upon commission by Napoleon Bonaparte to commemorate his victory at Austerlitz and honor his army.
Chalgrin’s neoclassical design drew heavily from ancient Roman architecture. Construction took an extremely long time to finish; the foundation alone took 2 years, and even by 1810, Napoleon had to have a wooden mock-up built in its place to greet him upon his return to Paris with his bride. Chagrin died in 1811, and the construction had to be taken over by other architects – after Napoleon’s defeat in 1812 and during the Restoration, they stopped construction altogether – hence it’s final completion in 1836.
The Arch is now the climactic piece in a row of monuments that extends from the center of Paris to the west (this vista is known as the Axe historique). Dead center between The Louvre and La Defense, the arch is visible more than three miles away in either direction. Although the arch is visible and accessible by foot, the roundabout that surrounds the arch is notoriously difficult to navigate and cross because of the consistently heavy traffic.
The base pillars of the arch are adorned with four massive sculptures: The Triumph of Napoleon by Cortot; The Departure of the Volunteers in 1792 by Rude; and Peace and Resistance, both by Etex. Engraved on shields adorning the top of the arch are names of the major victories from the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars, and the inside of the arch has the names of 558 generals engraved within. Visitors can access the top of the arch by foot, or by elevator.
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Since 1920, the Arch has been home to the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, commemorating the casualties from World War I and World War II. An eternal flame, the first of its kind, lies at the head of the tomb and is rekindled at 6:30pm every evening. On Bastille Day, the Arch is also the starting point for the parade that goes down the Champs Elysées. The arch also houses a small museum documenting its long history.
Note: the Arc de Triomphe is a listed French National Monument.
Photos taken within 10 km
Address: Paris, Paris, Paris, 75000 || GPS: latitude 48.873689, longitude 2.295028
Map of Arc de Triomphe & places nearby
Highlights close by
Eiffel Tower 2km
Paris Opera 3km
The Louvre 3km
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