L’Arc de Triomphe in Paris it stands majestically at the center of what has long been place de l’Etoileright at the beginning of the Champs Elysees. In other words: if you are looking for a symbol of Paris (remove maybe the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre) this is exactly where you have to come. The history of this monument is linked to the name of two of the greatest men of France. And indeed the Arc de Triomphe evokes epic memories. In some cases very big, in others more painful.
Arc de Triomphe in Paris: a dream of greatness
The first great man we mentioned is Napoleon which he ordered in 1809 the construction of the Arch to celebrate his military successes. An exaggerated gesture? Perhaps, but on the other hand the emperor liked to think of himself as the heir of the Roman emperors. And so, with great modesty, he thought of having an arch inspired by that of Titus in the Forum of Rome.
Unfortunately the model was wrong: Tito did not see his monument finished. And Napoleon he discovered in spite of himself that he was not unbeatable. And from being an eternal homage he became an embarrassing symbol of decline. The idea was that the monument should be completed in time for the parade in honor of Napoleon’s new bridebut in reality in 1810 the arch had grown from the ground only a few meters and a canvas painted arch was raised to hide the shame.
When finally theArc de Triomphe in Paris was finally finished, in 1836, Napoleon’s empire was long gone. And he died at St. Helena for 15 years. But it can be said that if he has ever seen it he would certainly have been proud to see it and see the friezes with the battles, the most famous of which is the Departure of the volunteers by Rude. He went down in history as La Marseillaise.
We talked about two great men in the history of the Arc de Triomphe Paris: the second is of course Charles de Gaulle to whom they named the square at the bottom of the Champs Elysées also because here the August 26, 1944 occurred one of the most famous moments of the liberation of Paris from the Nazis. De Gaulle’s words are remembered in a bronze plaque: “Whatever happens, the flame of French resistance must not be extinguished and will not go out.”
Honor the Unknown Soldier
Given its pivotal role in the city ‘s history , it is no surprise that theArc de Triomphe in Paris you attract many visitors every year. There Tomb of the Unknown Soldierlit by an eternal flame found here, represents all French people, plus one million and a half, who died during the First World War. Every evening, at 18.30members of fighters’ associations rekindle the flame to honor the Fallen.
This happens everydaywithout exclusion, since 1923. Just think that even the June 14, 1940, when the German soldiers paraded on the Champs Elysées this homage was respected. The visit to the monument also includes the possibility of climbing to the top – after 284 steps, but there is also an elevator – to admire a splendid panorama of the city from the avenues to the place de la Concorde. The visit lasts about an hour. Then you can go to one brasseries.
Something you didn’t know about the Arc de Triomphe in Paris
Napoleon has a double reason to regret the fate of his Arch. Which is curiously not the largest in the world. In 1982, in a bout of boyish competition the Koreans they built an arch right at the foot of Moran Hill in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang.
That challenge was to honor the president Kim Il-sung, hero of the resistance against the Japanese and was inspired by the Parisian model. But deliberately built to be slightly larger. L’korean bow in fact it is tall 60 meters high and 50 meters wide surpassing the model of 10 meters high and 5 meters wide.
How to reach the Arc de Triomphe
One suggestion: do not try to enter theArc de Triomphe in Paris crossing the avenues that surround it: they are perennially invaded by deadly traffic. There is quite a underground passage which comes out on the side of the even numbers of Avenue des Champs Elysees. Visit tickets by the way are sold in this pedestrian underpass before going up to ground level. For get there the best way it is of course there meter: you can use the 1, 2 and 6 getting off at the station Charles-de-Gaulle-Etoile. And Paris will be at your feet.