The magnificent Arc de Triomphe

Now let me bring you to the history of a wonderful symbol of France and especially Paris. I go by here often, walking underneath and especially with my car love it! I come from ave Foch into the circle and it is always a thrill;not for the small town drivers ok lol!

I like to tell you a bit more about the Arc de Triomphe, and start with a bit of a post I did in my blog couple years back. Arc de Triomphe and al

Of course, the area is in the 8éme arrondissement or district of Paris in the quartier or neighborhood Champs-Elysées. A map will help me think:

plan quartier Champs-Elysees

The Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile is the official name but popularly known as simply the Arc de Triomphe. The construction of it was decided by emperor Napoléon Ier, and started early in 1806  finishing it in 1836 under  Louis-Philippe,king of the French. It is raise in the center of the Place Charles-de-Gaulle square (formerly the Place de l’Étoile), at  2,2 km from the Place de la Concorde. Its height is at 49,54 meters, wide of  44,82 meters, and deep of  22,21 meters, under the arch the height is at 29,19 meter and its width at 14,62 meters.  The small arch has 18,68 meters high by 8,44 meters wide.  The monument weights in at 50 000 tons and 100 000 tons, if taking into account the foundations that are reinforced 8,37 meters deep.

The former Place de l’Étoile created a huge traffic circle of 12 avenues in the 19C under the direction of the city planning of Baron Haussmann, these avenues came in as a star around the square especially Avenue Kléber, Avenue de la Grande-Armée, Avenue de Wagram , and the best known Avenue des Champs-Élysées (on this one later). The station metro line 1 Charles de Gaulle – Étoile as well as RER A is there.

Paris PAris Paris Paris

Emperor Napoléon Ier, after the battle of Austerlitz made a declaration to his soldiers that will only return to Paris under an triumphant arch ,and with an imperial decree ordered the building of the Arc de Triomphe to perpetuate the souvenirs of the French army victories.  The first stone was placed with an inscription on August 15 1806 and covered with a bronze plaque.

King Louis XVIII restarted construction in 1824 after a period of neglect on previous regimes. By 1830, Louis-Philippe king of the French (not King of France) took over the construction with now a spirit of reconciliation  putting together the armies that fought between 1792 and1815.  It was then Louis-Philippe and Adolphe Thiers (president of the III republic) that decided the themes choices and the sculptors such as the Le départ des Volontaires, or commonly called the  La Marseillaise, of François Rude , and the Le Triomphe de Napoléon by  Jean-Pierre Cortot.  More spectacular is the frise on top of the summit divided into two parts ; on one,  Le départ des Armées (departure of the armies) and the  Le Retour des Armées (return of the armies) with a large central scene on the glory of the nation. The Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile opened on July 29 1836 on the 6th anniversary of the event known as the  Trois Glorieuses. The revolution of July after that of 1789 bringing on a new king Louis-Philippe Ier,king of the French or the monarchy of July succeeding that of the Second Restauration. This revolution took place in three days so therefore known as the Trois Glorieuses or Three Glorious days.

At the bottom level you find the tomb of the unknown soldier of WWI  with an eternal flame that houses the flag of the fatherland like at Rome the first since the one in Vestales in 391AD.  It commemorates the memory of the soliders dead in combat for never  off; it is replenish each evening at 18h30  by the Association of Veterans or victims of war. There is a renewal of an exposition from the 1930’s in a museographic style museum in a multimedia showing entitled Between wars and peace, with a history lesson of the monument and its evolution to present day.

A bit on the configuration of it.  It has four high walls put in sockets filled with stones and 18 meters high on each side,these are: Le Départ des volontaires  of 1792 ( La Marseillaise). Representing the union of all French to defend the Nation and leaving in combat with a diversity of soldiers such as revolutionaries, Bonapartists, and Royals , young and older. Below ,there is Victory guiding them in its wings. The architecture is mix such as Antique, and Romanesque. The victory or Le Triomphe de 1810; the Resistance or La Résistance of 1814, by Antoine Étex, and the Peace or La Paix of 1815, by Antoine Étex as well.

There are six lower level sockets with more significances such as retracing the scenes of the Revolution and Empire. They are below the arch and on the sides. These are: Les funérailles du général Marceau  September 20 1796, by H. Lamaire (facing right south view), La bataille d’Aboukir July 25 juillet 1799, by Seurre aîné (facing left south view),La bataille de Jemappes November 6  1792, by Carlo Marochetti (facing east), Le passage du pont d’Arcole November 15 1796,by Jean-Jacques Feuchère (facing right north view), La prise d’Alexandrie July 3  1798, by John-Étienne Chaponnière (facing left north view), La bataille d’Austerlitz  December 2 1805, by Jean-François-Théodore Gechter (facing west view), and the Mariage de Napoléon and Marie-Louise (1810).

Some of the events happening here that I like are

The occasion of the marriage of archduchess  Marie-Louise and the entering to Paris by Emperor Napoléon Ier with a model to give it a more artistic smaller size  by which the emperatrice will past under it. During the transfer of ashes of Napoléon, December 15 1840 with the funeral procession under the Arc de Triomphe. The body of Victor Hugo in funeral watch over the night of May 22 1885, before burrial at the Panthéon. In August 7 1919 an airplane of Charles Godefroy, passed in between the arches with a Nieuport 17 biplane.

There are curiosities such as two time per year the Sun is hidden in the axe of the Champs-Elysées, a person on the avenue des Champs Elysées the solar ring is also visible for a few minutes  under the Arc de Triomphe.  And on the opposite way from the Porte Maillot, the Sun is rising two times per year as well . The timings changes with the year but you can catch up in the tourist office for the dates;next usually around November.

So, therefore, this is a unique visit, you can walk underneath the Arc and visit the museographic, and also go to the top level for wonderful views of Paris especially that towards the Place de la Concorde and beyond.

A special treat visiting Paris, for me the thrill of getting around that circle yeah!! in a car!!!

Some web pages to help you plan your visit to the Arc de Triomphe are here:

Web page official Arc de Triomphe : http://www.paris-arc-de-triomphe.fr/en/

Tourist office of Paris on the Arc : https://en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/71396/Arc-de-Triomphe

Good unofficial site on the Arc de Triomphe in English: http://www.arcdetriompheparis.com/

Official site of the Eternal Flame under the Arc de Triomphe in French: https://www.laflammesouslarcdetriomphe.org/

Another merry go around tour of a vastly popular monument of the most beautiful city in the world, Paris. No more words are needed just come over.

And remember, happy travels, good health ,and many cheers to all!!!

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