The Arc de Triomphe towering at the end of the Champs Elysees fought for my attention as we strolled along Paris’s famous street. As we approached, it was evident to me that Napoleon accomplished his objective of demonstrating his power. At the same time, it seemed unreachable, guarded by a crocodile-like moat, a roundabout of several layers of cars dodging, weaving, and encircling in an endless stream. Fortunately, there is an underpass to bring pedestrians to the Arc de Triomphe.
Commissioned by French Emperor Napoleon in 1806, the Arc de Triomphe was designed to honour his Grande Armee. After his 1805 victory in the Battle of Austerlitz Napoleon said to his soldiers, “You will return home through arches of triumph”. Napoleon never saw it finished as he died in 1821 and it was completed in 1836.
Take a Look at the Arc de Triomphe
A Closer Look at Some of the Arc de Triomphe Details
A Parade on the Day we Visited:
Practical Information on Visiting the Arc de Triomphe
- Located at one end of the Champs Elysees, it is in the northwest sector of Paris.
- Pedestrian access to the underground tunnel is on the Avenue de la Grande Armee side of the circle. You can also access this tunnel from the Wagram exit of the Metro. You do not want to try to cross the roundabout traffic on foot.
- The Arc de Triomphe is 50m tall (164 ft). In comparison, the Eiffel Tower is 300m (984 ft).
- City views can be enjoyed only by climbing the stairs, which are open daily at 10 am. While there is an entry cost for adults, children up to age 17 are free. We opted not go up as we had been up to the top of the Eiffel Tower a few days earlier. Our other Paris highlights included a tour of the Palace of Versailles and Sacre Coeur at night.
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