Arc de Triomphe DescriptionSituated in the 8th arrondissement on the right bank of the Seine, this monument commemorates people who died all through both the Napoleonic Wars and the French Revolution. Within the vault below will be found the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, remembering those that died while fighting in World War I. At the middle is the Eternal Flame, a circle of fire that acts as a symbolic connection to the ancient Greek Olympic Games. Positioned right on the Champs-Élysées, the Arc de Triomphe lies at the center of a dozen avenues collectively referred to as the Place Charles de Gaulle. It was previously the world's greatest arc, until the building of the Arch of Triumph in Pyongyang, North Korea in 1982. It was so broad of an area between the two principal arches that Charles Godefroy in 1919 was able to fly his biplane through it. The basic appearance of the Arc de Triomphe makes it appear like a gigantic a dining table supported by four huge legs, with the larger arches lying beneath the longer part, while the narrower ends are supported by the smaller ones. Developed within the Neoclassical architectural style, its model was Arch of Titus in Rome. Etched on its walls would be the those of the generals who led them, together with names and dates of French victories}. Above the arches are statues of naked French children battling bearded Germanic fighters wearing chain mail, symbolizing the country's capacity to over come all obstacles before it. The face at the main entrance represents mother France calling her people to its defense, and the Peace of 1815 (which commemorates the Treaty of Paris) adorns the northwest pillar while facing the Avenue de la Grand-Armeé. The six sculptures that flank the Place Charles de Gaulle's lower facades include the following:
- The Battle of Arcole and the Fall of Alexandria (on the north)
- The Funeral of General Marceau and the Battle of Aboukir (on the south)
- The Battle of Jemappes (on the east)
- The Battle of Austerlitz (on the west)
Tourist Information for Visiting the Arc de Triomphe
- You could climb the 284 steps to the top deck, or simply take an elevator just up to the middle platform section of the Arc. From there, you can climb the rest of the 64 steps if you're in relatively good shape.
- The view from the top is magnificent, even for locals. Its site is named the star - etoile in French - because it may be the epicenter of a dozen different avenues. From here, it's possible to look down all of the avenues and fully take in Paris' contemporary architectural style.
- Don't try cross the Place Charles de Gaul to make the journey to the Arc de Triomphe monument since French drivers are famous for their aggressive driving. Also note the circular nature of the Place Charles de Gaul's road and the fact that it isn't regulated by modern traffic calming techniques, so there's neither a speed limit nor painted lines to slow down the cars.
- To get into the Arc de Triomphe, walk across the Champs-Elysée. There's an underpass near the McDonald's restaurant, that'll take you straight to the monument. You'll have to pay a price at the ticket booth on the ground-floor to access the top, although visiting the monument itself is free. Please keep in mind that the price for entrance varies with respect to the time of year.
- December 23, 25 and 31
- January 1 and 17
- May 1 and 8
- July 14
- November 11