Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel

Napoleon’s reign was marked with several victories, and he wanted something to show for it. So with the inspiration of conquering other armies in battle, he commissioned the construction of triumphal archs. Two were built- Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile and Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel. There is a third arc, but it is a more recent establishment, and this is evident from its modern architecture, unlike the two which were commissioned back in 1806. Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile is the famous owing to its colossal size and great architectural detail, but the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel in its lesser dimensions is still a monumental site in the city of Paris.

The Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, like the other arc, was inspired by Napoleons victories in diplomacy and in war. The construction started in 1806 year, and was completed in 1808. The Arc is a monumental structure adorned in impressive sculptural detail. Geographically, is located east of the grand historic axis. It was modeled after a similar arc located in Rome called the Arc of Constantine. The Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel has eight Corinthian columns made of granite, and atop each is a soldier. There are two side archs, each 4.3m high and a central arch which is the bigger at 6.4m high. The overall structure is 19m high and 23m wide. There are shallow sculptures, or bas reliefs, inscribed into the structure and they are depictive of Napoleon’s victories.

The top of the arc initially had a statue of four bronze horses. They were the famous Horses of Saint Mark, and they had been obtained by Napoleon from Venice and surmounted on the monument. However, after Napoleon’s downfall, they were recovered and finally taken back to their original home in Venice. Since the arc felt incomplete without the statue, a replica was built and erected, and it is what stands on top of the arc today. It represents Peace in a chariot, drawn by four horses. On either side are statues of gilded Victories.

Initially, the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel served as an entrance to the Tuileries Palace. A fire consumed the palace and the fate of the Arc was left hanging. It was however later decided that the Arc was a monumental figure on its own, and that it would be left standing. The Tuileries Palace was never rebuilt, and as a consequence, an unobstructed view was created from the arc towards the west to the Place de la Concorde and even the Champs-Élysées.

The Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel is one of the three arcs in Paris, and also the oldest considering the Arc de Triomphe took decades before it was finally completed. The sculptural detail on the arc is impressive. It is covered in history and is reminiscent of Roman architecture, more so with the bas-reliefs which were synonymous with Rome at the time. The arc is a great attraction especially for those looking to see the Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile after.