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Arc de Triomphe Monument In Paris

When you are thinking about your holiday you are no doubt going to try and find out what is within the local area, but when it comes to the capital city of France, there are so many monuments and landmarks in Paris that it is sometimes a hard job deciding on exactly what places to visit.

Well in this article we thought we would provide you with a bit of information about just one of these incredible monuments called the Arc de Triomphe that honours those who fought for France.

You have no doubt heard of the famous Avenue des Champs-Elysees, which is known for its fantastic shops, restaurants, hotels plus much more and the Arc de Triomphe is positioned at the western end of the Champs-Elysees, standing in the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle.

Designed in 1806 and standing at over 51 metres high, this is the second largest triumphal arch in existence and to give you an idea on how large this monument really is, only a few weeks after the victory parade in Paris that celebrated the end of World War I, a pilot called Charles Godefroy flew his biplane right through the centre of it!

Arc de Triomphe Monument In Paris
Arc de Triomphe In Paris

However, even though this landmark arch was commissioned in 1806 by Napoleon, it was not actually completed until the 1830's during the reign of King Louis-Philippe and was built to signify peace.

The Arc de Triomphe is also home to the Tomb of the Unkown Soldier, which was taken from the idea of the unknown warrior at Westminster Abbey in the United Kingdom, and has an eternal flame, which by the way, has only ever been put out once when a drunken man decided to urinate on it and yes he was quickly arrested!!

It has the first eternal flame lit in Western Europe since the year 391 and it burns in memory of the dead who were never identified, now in both World War I and World War II.  Even President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline paid their respects at the tomb and when President Kennedy was assassinated, Jacqueline decided to do a similar tribute with an eternal flame.  The French President went to Washington to attend the funeral and witnessed the lighting of the flame that had always been in Jacqueline Kennedy's mind since her visit to France.

There are richly sculptured friezes of soldiers depicted upon the masonary of the Arc de Triomphe, but in the attic above, there are 30 shields which are engraved with the names of major revolutionary and Napoleonic military victories, plus the inside walls of this historical monument list the names of hundreds of French generals.

On 11th November on the anniversary of the armistice between France and Germany that was signed in 1918, there is now a ceremony held there every year, plus there have also been numerous parades and other major events, for which the Arc de Triomphe is a focal point.

But it is probably without a doubt one of the main reasons that most people know about the Arc de Triomphe is through the famous cycle race, The Tour de France as this plays an important role for the participants.

The minute that this fabulous monumental arch comes into view, the cyclists know that the race is almost finished, which is probably why you see a few smiles on their faces at this point! as the Tour de France ends with vast crowds and cheering on the Champs-Elysees Avenue, with some very exhausted participants.

Yet you can reach the Arc de Triomphe at a little more leisurely pace, either utilising some of the bus tours in Paris or hiring a bike.  Although most people get to this famous site by taking a stroll along the Champs-Elysees and utilising the tunnel on the north side, which is a darn site safer than trying to dodge the traffic!

It is open to the public for visits up until gone 10pm, which is a great place to get to see the shimmering lights along the Avenue as the night draws in and for those of you who like a bit of history, there is a small museum inside the Arc de Triomphe, which provides a lot of information about its construction and major points in history.

Plus the views from the top, where you can see the Eiffel Tower in one direction, obviously with the Avenue des Champs-Elysees, and the Grande Arche within the business district in another direction plus the Sacre Coeur Basillica in the distance, makes a tremendous spot to experience the wonders of Paris and its phenomenal landmarks.  However, there is no lift, so to get to the viewing platform at the top, there are a lot of steps to climb!

The Arc de Triomphe

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