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Arc de Triomphe
Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrThe Arc de Triomphe de l’Etoile (in English: Arc of Triumph of the Star) is probably the most monumental of all victory arches in the world. The Arc de Triomphe is located in the heart of Paris, France and stands at the center of Place Charles de Gaulle , which is a gigantic roundabout that connects no less than twelve roads. These roads, by the way, are named after historic military leaders of France. The arch stands at the end of the Champs-Elysées, an iconic boulevard in Paris and forms the end of the so-called Axe Historique (Historic Axis), a series of monuments and boulevards running from the Louvre to the Grande Arche de la Défense.
This magnificent triumphal arch honors the people who fought for France, more specifically, those who fought in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. The inner and outer surfaces of the monument are inscribed with the names of all French victories, such as the battle of Aboukir and Austerlitz, and generals. Underneath the Arc de Triomphe lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from the First World War. The style of the arch is completely conform to the architectural styles and tradition of sculpture from the first half of the 19th century. The best-known relief on the arch is the ‘Departure of the Volunteers in 1792’, better known as ‘La Marseillaise’, representing the August 10 Uprising and the cause of the French First Republic .
The Arc de Triomphe is 50 meters high, 45 meters wide, and 22 meters deep, and was designed after the Arch of Titus in Rome.
HistoryConstruction of the Arc de Triomphe was ordered by Napoleon in 1806, after his victory at Austerlitz. He was at the peak of his might and power and could easily afford such a building. The foundations alone took two years to complete. The arch was designed by the architect Jean Chalgrin, who was inspired by the Arch of Titus which he used as a model. The Arc de Triomphe has the exact same proportions. Chalgrin died in 1811 and he was succeeded by Jean-Nicholas Huyot.
Construction was paused during the Bourbon Restoration, the period of time between the fall of Napoleon in 1814, and the July Revolution of 1830. The entire building wouldn't be completed until 1836 under the reign of King Louis-Philippe. After Napoleon had died on the island of Saint Helena in 1840, his remains were brought back to France and passed underneath the arch on their way to the Place des Invalides, his final resting place.
Victor Hugo’s body was shown under the arch on the night of May 22, 1885, before being moved to the Panthéon. On August 7, 1919, Charles Godefroy flew his biplane through the arch, an event that was shown on TV.
After completion, the Arc de Triomphe soon became a place of patriotism and the end point of military parades. After successful military campaigns, this would be where the French troops were cheered on and celebrated. It is now also the focal point of the annual Bastille Day Military Parade. Victory marches weren't only done by French troop though. The Germans were there in 1871 and in 1940. The French (and Allies) celebrated in 1919, 1944, and 1945.
Ever since the inclusion of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, parades don’t pass underneath the arch anymore, but go around it.
Visiting the Arc de TriompheThe arch is situated at the end of the Champs-Elysées and is visible from most of that grand boulevard. Visitors can admire the enormous structure from the roundabout or the surrounding streets, but it is also possible to go inside. To get there, there is an underground tunnel on the Avenue de la Grande Armee. It is strongly discouraged to attempt crossing the roundabout. The tunnel is a much, much safer alternative. After climbing forty stairs, visitors can enjoyed amazing views of the Champs-Elysées, La Défense, and the Sacre Coeur.
Tickets cost €8 ($9.20) for adults, €5 ($5.75) for students, and nothing for children younger than 17 years old. The Arc de Triomphe is opened every day of the year, except on January 1, May 1; the mornings of May 8, July 14; November 11, and December 25. One of best days to visit is Bastille Day (July 14), which is the French national holiday.
Similar LandmarksTriumphal arches can be found all over the world. Other fine examples are the Triumphal Arch of Orange, also in France, the Gateway of India in Mumbai; Patuxai in Laos, the Arch of Septimius Severus; the Arch of Constantine and the Arch of Titus in Rome, and the Arch of Hadrian in Jordan.
Additionally, visitors will find plenty more monumental buildings in Paris, such as Notre Dame de Paris, the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, and the Panthéon.
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Author: bramreusen. Last updated: Apr 05, 2016