Triumphal Arch Paris

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Episode 2
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The Arc de Triomphe is one of Paris' many sites that you should see if you're visiting the city of love! Watch this About.com video to learn how to get there, what to look for, and why it's so unique.

Paris Basics

Paris is possibly the city with the most recognizable architectural icons in the world. And next to the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe is possibly Paris' most famous.

Facts About the Arc de Triomphe

It sits on the western end of the Champs-Elysees which stretches from the Louvre complex to the Place Charles de Gaulle or Place de I'Etoile. Built between 1806 to 1836, the original plans underwent various adaptations due to changes in the government of France. Initially it was commissioned by Napoleon, but he eventually was overthrown. It has come to honor those who have fought for France. It even now houses the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War One.

What Are the Sculptures Around the Arc de Triomphe?

The bas-reliefs and sculptures around the structure are by James Pradier, Jean-Pierre Cortot, Antonine Etex, and Francois Rude. Their works tell stories from France's history and also Napoleon's exploits, such as The Triumph of Napoleon, and The departure of the Volunteers of 1792, or La Marseillaise. Inside the arch are carved the names of battles during the revolutionary and Napoleonic periods as well as the generals of those battles.

Visiting the Arc

For a small fee you can climb the 284 steps to the top for a view of the area. Do not try to cross the roundabout to get to the arch as the traffic is intense, instead you will find entrances on either side of the arch on the Champs-Elysees and on the Avenue de la Grande Armee. The underground tunnel houses a museum and the ticket booth to pay for the viewing platform. In addition to the City of Love, Paris is also rightly called the City of Light, and a visit to this monument as the sun sets will show you why it deserves such a nickname. You can see that The Arc is more than simply a monument to battles but to human achievement as well. Perhaps you can think of your own personal triumphs as you wander under and around this impressive icon.

Location of the Arc de Triomphe

After the Arc, along the same line of the Champs-Elysees, the Avenue de la Grande Armee stretches on to the new financial district of France. So in a way The Arc stands on the crossroads between a glorious past and future, straddling centuries and philosophies of global conquest. For more excellent and helpful information on Paris and travel in general, check us out, at About.com.

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