The Arc de Triomphe is a famous monument in Paris, standing in the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle, at the western end of the Champs-Elysées. It is a national symbol of France, commemorating the honors, military victories and the sacrifice of the nation’s soldiers. Its precise location makes it one of the city’s most popular and recognisable sights.
Brief History of the Monument
First conceptualised in 1806 by Napoleon as a tribute to France’s military power, the monument was commissioned by his despotic successor Louis Philippe I and designed by the award-winning French architect Jean Chalgrin. Construction on the Arc de Triomphe began in 1806, however, due to the chaos of the Revolution and Napoleon’s exile in 1815, the monument wasn’t completed until 1836 when Louis Philippe I was in power. This national treasure was celebrated by the people and admired by generations of tourists who came to marvel at its opulence and grandeur.
What is the Arc de Triomphe’s Significance?
The significance of the Arc de Triomphe is twofold. Firstly, as a tribute to the bravery of the French military forces, the monument was erected to honour the memory of those who sacrificed their lives for the nation’s liberty and security. At the same time, the structure serves as a visible register of the nation’s victory in battle, symbolising the unity of the French people. The main attraction of the Arc de Triomphe is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, who stands in honour of the fading memory of war heroes and as a reminder that freedom comes at a price.
Legacy and Influence of the Monument
The Arc de Triomphe has had a major impact on Paris’ infrastructure and architecture. It is featured in several period films, including Abel Gance’s ‘Napoleon’ and Stephen Spielberg’s ‘Empire Of The Sun’. The monument has also been used in many artworks, photographs and postcards depicting the ‘City of Lights’. Its resemblance to key motifs in the painting of French Impressionist Claude Monet, in particular, has inspired a myriad of interpretations for the art of photography.
Important Attractions Related to the Monument
The Arc de Triomphe is surrounded by other important sights such as the Champs-Elysees, Place de la Concorde, the Louvre, Musée D’Orsay, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Eiffel Tower. All these monuments draw crowds from across the world, and provide unique perspectives on France’s culture and history.
The Annual Military Parade at the Arc de Triomphe
The Arc de Triomphe is the setting for the annual military parade, known as the Bastille Day parade. This annual event is held each year on July 14 and is attended by representatives of the French government and top-ranking military and police officials, as well as foreign leaders and ambassadors. The parade is a much-anticipated and colourful celebration, featuring marching bands and traditional military choreography, which serves to commemorate the sacrifices and bravery of those who served their country so honourably.
How to Get to the Arc de Triomphe?
The Arc de Triomphe is located in the 16th arrondissement of Paris, on the western end of the Champs-Elysées. You can get to the monument by taking the Metro Line 1, which is the nearest stop, or by taking the RER A to Champs-Elysées — Clemenceau Station. Alternatively, there are numerous buses running to and from the area, so getting to the monument should be fairly easy.
What is the Best Time of Year to Visit the Monument?
The best time of year to visit the Arc de Triomphe is during the summer months, as the temperatures are generally more comfortable, although the winter months can be quite pleasant too. It’s also important to keep in mind that the monument is usually quite busy during the summer holidays, so you may want to plan your visits accordingly.
Opening Hours and Entrance Fees
The museum is open daily from 10am to 6pm, and admission is free. However, visitors must reserve their tickets in advance if they plan to visit during peak periods. Additionally, visitors must bring a valid form of identification for admission.
The Arc de Triomphe stands at the centre of the Champs-Elysées and is a source of national pride and honor for the French people. Its legacy is seen in the vast array of artworks and films it has been featured in and its annual military parade attests to the importance of its role. Furthermore, the tomb of the unknown soldier pays homage to the ultimate price some paid for the kind of freedom it stands for. Regardless of the time of year, the Arc de Triomphe is a must-see for tourists and those looking for a glimpse of France’s rich past.