The Arc de Triomphe stands majestically at the center of the Etoile, a substantial roundabout produced by Baron Haussmann, where 12 avenues, for example the Champs-Elysees, emanate. It is celebrated as one from the greatest – in any other case the greatest – triumphal arches on earth.
The arch was commissioned by Napoleon to commemorate his victorious battles. He had already built an arch in the place du Carrousel, but was disappointed featuring its final size and proceeded to supercede it while using much larger and grander Arc de Triomphe. Work on the 50m (164-foot) tall structure began in 1806, but had not been completed until 3 decades later under Louis-Phillippe, largely because of Napoleon’s defeat and fall from power. Fittingly, his funeral procession passed beneath the arch returning to its final resting place at Les Invalides.
Today, the arch remains symbolic of pride and regularly hosts national commemorations. On May 8 on a yearly basis it plays a central role within the VE Day celebrations; on July 14 it hosts a meeting to mark Bastille Day; and Napoleon’s victory with the Battle of Austerliltz in 1805 is marked on the foot in the arch on December 2. Beneath the arch will be the Tomb in the Unknown Soldier, a victim of World War I, who had previously been buried on November 11 1920, and where Remembrance Day events are held each year. A Memorial Flame across the tomb is lit at 6:30pm each day.
The arch is lavishly adorned with sculptures by Jean-Pierre Cortot, Antoine Etex and Francois Rude. Among them is Rude’s famous liberty sculpture, La Marseillaise. Above the sculptures can be a frieze depicting Napoleon’s troops leaving for battle in addition to their victorious return, as well as 30 shields, because both versions bears the category of a revolutionary or Imperial victory. Cortot’s relief depicts the Treaty of Vienna peace agreement of 1810, while some portray Battle of Aboukir by Seurre the Elder and also the Battle of Austerlitz by Gechter. General Marceau’s funeral is shown on top of the entrance for the arch’s museum.
Crowning the Arc de Triomphe is really a viewing platform from which you can see Haussmann’s form of 12 avenues as well as the world-renowned axis, or type of vision, called the Axe Historique. This runs from your Grande Arche at La Defense towards the Arc de Triomphe, on the Champs-Elysees towards the obelisk at the center of the place de la Concorde, and on for the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel along with the Musee du Louvre. Placed in the perfect straight line, they constitute a wonderful panorama.
Inside the arch is usually a museum that tells the fascinating history from the structure, and specifics of Napoleon’s victories. If you feel energetic enough, you are able to walk within the 184 steps to your viewing platform.