The Arc de Triomphe is the second most popular monument in Paris, France after the Eiffel Tower. This structure in Paris is shorter and older but is more symbolic. This is because the island where the Arc de Triomphe stands is in the traffic junction of l’Etoile–the nearest sacred ground to the secular Paris. Specifically, the Arc in Paris is located in Place Charles de Gaulle, in the western end of Champs-Elysees and it is open in October to March from 10am to 10.30pm and April to September from 10am to 11pm, every day. For tourists aged 18 and below, entrance is free and for adults, the admission fee is 9.50 euros and 6 euros when there is a reduction.
The Arc de Triomphe in Paris was ordered to be built by Napoleon in 1809 as a monument to commemorate the achievements of his army. However, death came to Napoleon even before the arc was finished. It was completed in 1836 and still bore the details about Napoleon’s victories as well as the key military subordinates.
The flanks of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris are decorated with frieze of battle scenes and sculptures involving Napoleon and his army. One of these is the Le Depart des Volontaires (also known as La Marseillaise) which was done by Rude. Additional martial associations of the arc in Paris was at the end of World War I, the French troops paraded through it, in the streets of Paris, and under its centre, the tomb of the Unknown Soldier was laid.
The Arc de Triomphe Paris’ Memorial Flame
Every evening, a solemn ceremony of lighting an eternal flame is done under the arc in Paris. The eternal flame was done in Paris to remember the dead who were never identified and every November 11, a ceremony is done in Paris for the anniversary of the armistice signed between France and Germany.
In August 26, 1944, the man who relit the eternal flame was Charles de Gaulle. After the ceremony, the iconic triumphal march was done through Paris and the text of Charles de Gaulle’s 1940 radio broadcase fom London was carved on a bronze plaque in the ground.
Inside of Arc de Triomphe
The interior of the arc in Paris is unchanged and still looks pretty much the same with how it was in 1930s. After a few years, architect Christophe Girault and artist Maurice Banyouna worked together to improve the Arc de Triomphe with interactive screens and multimedia displays. These screens enable tourists to see other historical and monumental arches all over the world and displays the history of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris that spans for over 200 years. After being acquainted with the French history, head up into the roof where tourists can enjoy the view of Paris from the Arc de Triomphe.
Design and Sculptures
The Arc de Triomphe in Paris is 50 meters or 164 feet in height; 45 meters or 148 feet in width; and is 22 meters or 72 feet in depth. The design was inspired by the Roman Arch of Titus and the walls inside was filled with 660 people that participated in the war.
In addition, there are four main sculptures in the Arc de Triomphe in Paris namely :
- the Le Depart de 1792 (or La Marseillaise) by Francois Rude,
- Le Triomphe de 1810 by Jean-Pierre Cortot,
- La Resistance de 1814 by Antoine Etex,
- and La Paix de 1815 by Antoine Etex.
Other reliefs on the facade of the arch are :
- Les funerailles de genreal Marceau by P.H. Lamaire,
- La bataille d’Aboukir by Bernard Seurre,
- La bataille de Jemappes by Carlo Marochetti,
- Le passage du pont d’Arcole by J.J. Feuchere,
- La prise d’Alexandrie by J.E. Champonniere,
- and La bataille d’Austerlitz by J.F.T. Gechter.
All these and more are engraved in the surfaces of the Arc de Triomphe commemorating the war battles, victory, and history of Paris.