The Arc du Triumph is, along with the Eiffel Tower, one of the most iconic monuments of Paris. Located on the right bank of the Seine, is situated at the centre of Place Charles de Gaule (formerly named Place de l'Etoile due to the twelve avenues that radiate from its center). Commissioned in 1806 by Emperor Napoleon to celebrate his victory at Austerlitz, this was for many years the biggest arch in the world.
At the base of the arch there are four sculptural groups. The Triumph (1810), Resistance (1814), Peace (1815) and the most renowned the Departure of the Volunteers (1792), commonly called La Marseillaise. Inside the arch, on the top floor, is a stunning replica of the head of the winged figure (Genius of Liberty). The drama and strength in the expression are impressive.
Beneath the arch is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where an eternal flame was lit on Armistice Day in 1920, burning in memory of those who died in the War and were never identified.
Nevertheless all the interesting features displayed in the outside, and the museum inside the structure, a visit is not complete without a visit to the terrace on the top of the monument. Must warn you, that climbing what seemed to me like a thousand steps of a spiral staircase, left me breathless and with my legs muscles burning. But the panoramic view that one can reach from the top of the arch is really worth it.
The city lies at our feet stretching to the horizon. The Eiffel tower on the left bank, the Sacrée Coer to the right. In front, Les Champs-Elysées go down to the Louvre and in the other side are prolonged to reach a new arch built in 1982, the Grand Arch de La Défense, that rises in the new part of the city. This line that connects the Grande Arch, to L'Arc du Triomphe de l'Étoile and than to the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel (next to the Louvre) form Paris's historic axis or royal route. Closer to the arch, the grey rooftops of the buildings in the boulevards are a charming view.
Arc de Triomphe
Phone : 33 / (0)1 55 37 73 77
Opening Hours and Ticket Prices:
January to March - Daily, 10:00 to 22:30 (closes January 1st)
April to Septembre - Daily, 10:00 to 23:00
October to December - 10:00 to 22:30
Adults - 12€ | Students, teachers 9€ | Children under 18 / People with disabilities - free
Get there taking the subway and exiting at station Charles de gauge - Etoile (Lines 1, 2 and 6).