Arc de Triomphe

Paris, France

The Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile is one of the most famous monuments in Paris. It stands in the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle (originally named Place de l'Étoile), at the western end of the Champs-Élysées. It should not be confused with a smaller arch, the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, which stands west of the Louvre. The Arc de Triomphe honours those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars, with the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces. Beneath its vault lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I.

The triumphal arch was commissioned in 1806 after the victory at Austerlitz by Emperor Napoleon at the peak of his fortunes. Laying the foundations alone took two years and, in 1810, when Napoleon entered Paris from the west with his bride Archduchess Marie-Louise of Austria, he had a wooden mock-up of the completed arch constructed. The architect, Jean Chalgrin, died in 1811 and the work was taken over by Jean-Nicolas Huyot. During the Bourbon Restoration, construction was halted and it would not be completed until the reign of King Louis-Philippe, between 1833 and 1836, by the architects Goust, then Huyot, under the direction of Héricart de Thury. On 15 December 1840, brought back to France from Saint Helena, Napoleon's remains passed under it on their way to the Emperor's final resting place at the Invalides. Prior to burial in the Panthéon, the body of Victor Hugo was exposed under the Arc during the night of 22 May 1885.

The monument stands 50 metres in height, 45m wide and 22m deep. Its design was inspired by the Roman Arch of Titus. The Arc de Triomphe is built on such a large scale that, three weeks after the Paris victory parade in 1919 (marking the end of hostilities in World War I), Charles Godefroy flew his Nieuport biplane through it, with the event captured on newsreel.

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Founded: 1806
Category: Statues in France

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4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Zahid Ali (2 years ago)
Many would say that this is the best place to view the Eiffel Tower. After climbing 284 steps, you not only get a great panoramic view of the city, but also the Eiffel Tower from an ideal height of around 50 meters above ground level. The best time to climb the tower is an hour before sunset as you get to see the Eiffel Tower glow in the dark blue sky.
Chris Sanders (3 years ago)
I came to see this beautiful monument with my beautiful visually impaired girlfriend, the security and staff were incredibly hospitable and friendly towards us both as soon as they saw her cane and gave us free entry to the top and let us completely pass the line we both felt so loved and had a great time. If any of the staff see this thank you so much for making our day feel so special
Stephen Philps (3 years ago)
A beautiful memorial to French history. Placed right in the centre of Paris, it's worth the trip for anyone visiting. Spend the money to go up to the top and enjoy an unhindered view of all of the sites of Paris. Bonus: Buy the Visitor's day pass for the metro, show it when you're buying a ticket and receive 25% off.
Stephen Philps (3 years ago)
A beautiful memorial to French history. Placed right in the centre of Paris, it's worth the trip for anyone visiting. Spend the money to go up to the top and enjoy an unhindered view of all of the sites of Paris. Bonus: Buy the Visitor's day pass for the metro, show it when you're buying a ticket and receive 25% off.
Melissa Story (3 years ago)
This is one of my favorite places in Paris and one that surprised me the most. The exterior is beautiful but the real pay off is the terrace on top. It's about 300 steps up a spiral staircase to the top but the climb is doable for most. The views from the top are spectacular and a great place to get photos of the city with the Eiffel Tower in them.
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