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The Arc de Triomphe

The Arc de Triomphe  - An Emblematic Monument!

Origins of the Triumphal Arch in Ancient History

Triumphal arches are monumental structures that date back to antiquity, erected to celebrate significant military victories. Notable examples include the Arch of Titus and the Arch of Constantine in Rome, which served as models with their sculpted reliefs depicting the feats of emperors. These monuments symbolized grandeur and power, often marking major city entrances.

The Founding of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris

Commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1806 following his victory at Austerlitz, the Arc de Triomphe was designed to glorify the French armies. The architect Jean Chalgrin began construction in 1808, which was finally completed in 1836 under Louis-Philippe. The monument celebrates the armies of the Revolution and the Empire, embodying the continuity of military and patriotic values through the ages.

The features of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris

Decorated Reliefs

The Arc's facades are adorned with dynamic reliefs depicting key scenes from the revolutions and Napoleonic battles, capturing the combative spirit and grandeur of French historical periods.

Engraved Names

The inner walls of the Arc bear the names of 660 military figures, immortalizing the heroes of France's wars. Among them is the father of the great writer Alexandre Dumas (author of The Three Musketeers). And Victor Hugo lamented not seeing his father's name there, an officer in Napoleon's Grande Armée.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Beneath the Arc lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with its eternal flame, a poignant tribute to the unidentified combatants of World War I. The flame is rekindled every evening at 6:30 PM during a ceremony. In 1958, US President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline visited the grave. After Kennedy's assassination, Jacqueline decided to install a similar eternal flame at his grave in Arlington, inspired by the one at the Arc de Triomphe.

The Summit Terrace

Offering a panoramic view of Paris, the summit terrace allows for a sweeping view of the twelve radiating avenues from the Place de l'Étoile, as well as other iconic Parisian landmarks.

Visiting Tips

For the best possible experience, France Tourisme, your travel consultant, recommends visiting the Arc early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid the crowds. Purchasing tickets online in advance will facilitate access and allow for a more peaceful visit. Be sure not to miss ascending to the summit to enjoy the breathtaking views of Paris, and take the time to explore the indoor exhibitions that enrich the understanding of the monument's history and significance.

Take a bus tour of Paris for a complete visit

Discover the Arc de Triomphe and much more! By crossing the city in a Paris double-decker bus at your own pace thanks to France Tourisme and our different offers available. During your Paris bus tour, enjoy a complete 2-hour tour of the most beautiful monuments in Paris or opt for a formula with unlimited hop on and off for 1 or 2 days at a competitive price. In addition to our Paris city tour by bus, we provide other transport options for your Paris city tours such as in a 2 CV, in a comfortable minivan or even in virtual reality!