The Arc de Triomphe Paris, the most monumental of all triumphal arches, was built between 1806 and 1836.
Like many countries do, France also has a Tomb of the Unknown Solider, and this tomb happens to be under the Arc de Triomphe. The unknown solider represents the perished French soldiers of World War One. The Unknown Soldier has been there since November 10, 1920, and lies under the inscription, “Here lies a French soldier who died for his fatherland 1914-1918.” At that time, an eternal flame was lit to honor those who had fallen during the war. The arch is in honour of those who fought for France, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars. Engraved on the inside and the top of the arch are all the names of the wars and generals that fought.
The Arc de Triomphe stands at the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle, located at the western end of the Champs-Élysées. You can also climb the arch, and will be greeted with a 360 degree panorama of Paris. The most interesting part, though we chose to not climb the arch, would be to be able to watch the road below and see all the crazy driving unfold below you. Cars have unlimited rights to careen around the circle that surrounds the arch, where twelve major streets impressively come together. There is no crossing that kind of traffic, so those who want to visit the arch can only reach it by going through an underground tunnel.
The monument itself will leave you in awe from seeing the carvings and learning the history behind it. The carvings are absolutely stunning. We did not realize how large and majestic the arch would be when it was in front of our eyes.
The arches decorative style reflects the tradition of sculpture from the first half of the nineteenth century. The monument stands 165 ft high, 148 ft wide and 72 ft deep. It is the second largest triumphal arch and was inspired by the Roman Arch of Titus.
Facts about Arc de Triomphe (Source)
- The construction of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris was ordered in 1806 by Napoleon, the French Emperor.
- Napoleon wanted to honor the Grande Armee, the name of the French army at that time.
- The Grande Armee had conquered most of Europe and was then considered invicible. After his Austerlitz victory in 1805, Napoleon said to his soldiers : “You will return home through archs of triumph”.
- The construction had been stopped between 1814 (abdication of Napoleon) and 1826.
- The Arc de Triomphe costed 9.3 millions French francs, a gigantic amount of money at that time.
- The names of 128 battles of the first French Republic and Napoleon’s Empire are written on the white walls under the vault together with the names of the generals who took part in them.
- The construction of Arc de Triomphe was completed in 1836, long after Napoleon’s death in 1821.
What were your impressions of the Arc de Triomphe?