The Arc de Triomphe, like the Eiffel Tower, is a must in Paris. We, like so many other tourists, have moved there too.
But is it really worth the visit, or is it just a check on the list of attractions in Paris?
The Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile stands on Place Charles-de-Gaulle in Paris. If you want to visit the triumphal arch, you should definitely use the pedestrian underpass to the square. The traffic on the course is confusing, dangerous and who wants to cross the square on foot, does not particularly depend on his life.
Arc de Triomphe
After the battle of Austerlitz Emperor Napoleon I commissioned the Arc de Triomphe in 1808. He wanted it to be a demonstration of his power and a glorification of his victory.
The construction process was quite delayed. The foundation was completed in 1808 but in 1810 the four columns on it were still only one meter in height. When Napoleon married the Habsburg Princess Marie-Louise, he had a wooden mock-up built to temporarily decorate the square.
Napoleon abdicated in 1814 and work on the still unfinished building stopped. Only in 1836, during the reign of the People’s King Louis-Philippe and his government, the building was finished and inaugurated.
The Arc de Triomphe is almost 50 meters high. The almost 30 meter high arch of the monument is outstandingly impressive. The famous reliefs at the bottom of the arch were contributed by different sculptors.
Beneath the arch, the tomb of an unknown soldier from the First World War is located. Commemorate Flames are constantly burning in memory of the fallen. Wreath-laying ceremonies and ceremonies of honour take place here.
A visit to the Arc de Triomphe
The Arc de Triomphe is in the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle (formerly the Place l’Étoile). 12 roads lead towards the square in a star-shaped structure and it is one of Paris’s traffic hot spots. Watching the crazy traffic alone is reason enough for a visit to this spot. I hardly came across something so chaotic, yet functional before. Seemingly without any rules, cars speed across the roundabout on the square. A brief flickering of an indicator and another car zooms across the inner lanes all the way to the outside. Brave drivers zig zag their way through the traffic and sometimes even a fearless person on a bike can be spotted in the midst of traffic. I got weak knees only from watching it, but it seems to work for the most part. We did not see any accidents happen.
A tunnel leads pedestrians safely to the square in the centre of the roundabout. It is here that you can purchase your tickets for the viewing platform and the museum. At the time of our visit, waiting times for the museum were about 30 minutes.
Without a ticket, another staircase has to be taken to the square. We decided to take this way and to skip the viewing platform. The Triumph Arch is unarguably impressive. Huge slabs with long lists of fallen soldiers can be seen standing underneath the arch. The height of the construction impressed me as well as the design of the dome.
Taking the time to truly take in the reliefs, many astoundingly delicate details can be found.
I liked our trip to the Arc de Triomphe and I think it’s sensible to include a visit in your itinerary.
I found a video on the building on the official website of the monument. Watch it here to join a virtual tour.
Place Charles de Gaulle,
2nd January - 31st March: 10am - 10.30pm
1st April - 30th September: 10am -23pm
1st October - 31st December: 10 - 22.30
closed: 1.1., 1.5., 8.5. (morning), 14.7., 11.11. (in the morning), 25.12.
Entrance fees (2017):
Adults: 12, - €
Discounts are offered.