Arc de Triomphe
The Arc de
Triomphe de l'Etoile (to give it its full name) is located at the western end of the Champs Elysées, in a direct
line with the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel in the Tuileries Gardens, the Obélisque de Luxor in the Place de la
Concorde, and the Grande Arche at La Défense. It lies in the middle of 12 radiating avenues, some of which are
named after victories (for example, Friedland and Wagram) and some after generals of the Empire (for example,
Carnot, Hoche, Kleber and Marceau).
Construction began in 1806, during the time of Napoleon I, and the Arc de Triomphe was dedicated to the honour
of his Grand Armee. It was completed in 1833 and inaugurated in 1836 by King Louis Philippe.
The tomb of the Unknown Soldier has lain beneath the Arc de Triomphe since 1921. An eternal flame of
remembrance is rekindled every day at 6.30pm in commemoration of the dead of the two World Wars. And it is here
that the President lays a ceremonial wreath on Armistice Day (November 11th) each year. On Bastille Day (July 14th,
the French National Day), a military parade starts at the Arc and continues down the Champs Elysées, and there
is also a fly past. The Tour de France also ends here in July.
There are four sculptures at the base of the Arc's pillars, which commemorate The Triumph of 1810, Resistance,
Peace and La Marseillaise (the Departure of the Volunteers). The names of major victories of the Revolution and
Napoleonic Wars are engraved around the top of the Arc. Inside, there is a small museum, devoted to its history,
design and construction. You can also visit the roof, where there are spectacular views over Paris.
If you do visit the Arc, you should know that the safest way is to use the pedestrian tunnel on the north side
of the Champs Elysées.
Place du General de Gaulle
Lines 1, 2 and 6, station Charles de Gaulle Etoile
Open every day. April 1 to September 30, 10am to 11pm. October 1 to March 31,
10am to 10.30pm.
Last admission 30 minutes before closing.
Closed January 1, May 1, morning of May 8, morning of July 14, morning of November 11 and on December
1806 - 1833
Jean François Thérèse Chalgrin