The Arc de Triomphe up close in Paris.
The famous Arc de Triomphe is another example of beautiful French architecture. This landmark is even more impressive in real life than in photos. It dominates the center and there is no way that you can miss it. I definitely recommend climbing the 300 steps to the top from where you have a breathtaking view of Paris.
History of the Arc de Triomphe that was commissioned by Napoleon.
Napoleon ordered the construction of the Arc de Triomphe to honor the Grande Armée, which won the battle of Austerlitz in 1806. The monument was designed by French architect Jean Chalgrin in 1806. Napoleon must have been very impressed with the Arch of Titus (a triumphal marble arch in Rome) and he wanted something similar. They do look very alike. Unfortunately for Napoleon, the Arc turned out to be an embarrassment, because he wanted it completed in time for an 1810 parade in honor of his new bride, Marie-Louise. The arch was only a few feet high and a dummy arch of painted canvas was strung up to save the day.
The Arc de Triomphe was finally finished, in 1836 – 20 years after Napoleon died. Each four large beautiful relief sculptures on the Arc tell a story: Marseillaise or the departure of the volunteers, Peace, Resistance, and the Triumph of 1810. All around and inside Arc-de-Triomphe you can read the names of the Napoleon’s victorious wars, as well as the name of some Generals.
Nevertheless, the Arc de Triomph is very impressive and I cannot imagine Paris without it! It is really beautiful at night. You can also climb to the top of the Arc and have a beautiful view of the city – couples will love it!
Interesting facts about the Arc de Triomphe.
- Napoleon’s body was taken through the arch on December 15, 1840, when it was taken to Les Invalides in Paris, its final resting place.
- The cost of building this monument was 9.3 million francs, a large sum of money at that time.
- The Arc de Triomphe is 51 meters tall, 45 meters wide and 22 meters deep.
- The names of the 558 French generals are engraved on the inner face of the arch.
- There are 30 shields at the top of the arch bearing the name of each of Napoleon’s glorious victories.
- The four supporting columns of the arch sport the names of major battles of the Napoleonic Wars.
- At the base of the four pillars of the arch lie four relief sculptures named Triumph of 1810, Resistance, Peace and La Marseillaise.
- This tomb represents 1,500,000 French soldiers who lost their lives in the world war.
- An observatory located on the top of the arch offers a panoramic view of La Défense and Sacré-Coeur.
- The Arc de Triomphe is so stupendous that aviator Charles Godefroy was able to fly his Nieuport biplane through it at the 1919 Paris Victory Parade to mark the end of the First World War.
Where to find The Arc de Triomphe?
Pl. Charles-de-Gaulle, Champs-Élysées, Paris.
Telephone Number: 01-55-37-73-77
From here you can visit the Tomb of the Unknown soldier, buried beneath the Arch.