Arc de triomphe de l'Étoile

Referred to as The Triumphal Arc in English, the Arc de triomphe de l'Étoile is widely associated with Paris the world over. It was commissioned by Napoleon as a tribute to his armies that dedicated their lives to achieving victories in battle. Construction started back in 1811, but was halted after Napoleon’s death. It was however completed during the reign of King Louis Philippe I. Marches around it were carried out by French troops when they achieved victories. A colossal monument in size, le Arc de Triomphe stands 50m high. Given the height, it provides a perfect observatory location when looking for a panoramic view of the city. The Arc has sculptural groups engraved into the design, all symbolic.

The Triumphal Arc was built in honour of the French soldiers, and true to this, the names of the men who died in battle during the French Revolution and under Napoleon’s reign are inscribed. In the monument, there is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It is an honorary place for all those who died during the First and the Second World War. An eternal flame is used for commemoration and it is lit every evening for that very reason. There is also a small museum inside the Arc that documents everything about it. It has received some technical advancement, with touch screens being available for easier information access.

The Triumphal Arc serves as a focal point, as different avenues radiate from it. It’s a popular site in Paris, and its long standing history makes it one of the most commonly visited monuments in the whole of Paris. It underwent bleaching in mid 1900s, as the soot had tainted it with a dull color. Its architectural style is reminiscent of the century it was built, as there is design consistency with other buildings that were erected in the same era.

Access to the top of the arc is granted through an elevator that takes the visitors to the top. This is the location of the museum which provides every detail about the history of the Arc, the inspiration behind it, its dedication, and its architectural design. One has to go further up to get access to the terasse. It is from this point where the view of Paris becomes clearest. Though the altitude it has is lesser than that of the Eiffel tower, the kind of view it gives is just as breathtaking. Its central location enables an all rounded view of Paris, and you can even see the Eiffel Tower from one side.

The Arc de Triomphe is the largest of its kind in the world, so one would understand why it is considered one of the most important monuments in Paris. It has given inspiration to the more recent Grande Arche that is located in the same city, in La Défense district. It takes on a new architectural approach based on modernity instead of traditional French architecture. The Triumphal Arc provides a refreshing sight in a late afternoon, and it is one of the definite places to visit when in Paris.