What Happened To Arc De Triomphe

Arc De Triomphe is an iconic monument and arch located in the centre of Paris, France. It stands at the western end of the Champs-Élysées and is one of the most visited historical monuments in the world. Originally built to honour Napoleon Bonaparte’s military victories, it has served to commemorate French soldiers fallen in battle for nearly two centuries.

The arch was built over a period of several years, beginning in 1806 and was completed in 1836. It was designed by the French engineer Jean-François Thérèse Chalgrin and stands 164 feet tall. The monument features intricately carved sculptures and reliefs, including Napoleon’s signature and numerous military symbols, such as the winged Victory figure at the apex of the arch.

In the years since, the arch has become an important symbol of French culture and history, as well as a popular tourist destination. Each year, thousands of visitors ascend the arch’s 297 steps to its crowning observation deck, where they can enjoy a stunning view of the city of Paris. The arch has also been the site of numerous parades and annual celebrations.

For years, the Arc De Triomphe has represented the French spirit of resilience and courage. However, in more recent years the monument has been the center of significant political and social upheaval. In the fall of 2018, the arch was the site of the “Gilets Jaunes”, a series of mass protests which erupted in opposition to Emmanuel Macron’s proposed gas tax increase.

The protests quickly grew into a larger movement which saw thousands take to the streets across France and put the government under immense pressure. That December, the government announced a partial repeal of the tax increase, but the movement continued to pick up steam and sparked a larger conversation about income inequality in France. The months-long occupation of the Arc de Triomphe became a beacon of protest, and the landmark was steadily vandalized each week.

Ultimately, in mid-March, the French government and protestors reached an agreement in which the government agreed to roll back additional taxes, increase the minimum wage and offer additional tax relief to low-income families. The protests officially ended a few days later, with the Arc de Triomphe restored to its original state.

However, the divisive and often chaotic events of the Gilets Jaunes movement still linger on in the collective memory. In a more general sense, the Arc de Triomphe has become a symbol of the citizens of France’s struggle for basic rights and the power of protest and democratic dissent.

Preservation and Conservation

Today, the Arc de Triomphe remains a significant and beloved monument in Paris. The monument is now tightly regulated and protected by a state monument protection law which designates it a site of national importance. In addition, the arch is overseen by the Commission des Monuments Historiques which works to ensure that any restoration or modifications are completed in keeping with its original design.

The Commission also works to maintain the arch’s unique historical value, ensuring that any alterations take into account the arc’s significance to French history. In addition to ongoing conservation efforts, the site has been added to the Tentative List of World Heritage Sites by the UNESCO.

Although the Arc de Triomphe is currently stable, the commission is working to guarantee that it remains well-preserved for generations to come. Ongoing restoration efforts are underway to replace some of the arch’s original stone blocks and fix cracks in the structure that have naturally occurred over the years. It is hoped that with proper maintenance, the Arc de Triomphe will live on as a cherished national monument for many years to come.

Modern Significance

Today, the Arc de Triomphe is a lasting memorial to those who have fought and died for France. Every year on July 14, a ceremony is held at the monument to celebrate Bastille Day, France’s national holiday. The festivities, known as La Fête Nationale, include a nighttime electric light show and military parade.

The arch is also a symbol of the enduring friendship between France and the United States, with the original plans calling for an engraving of the signing of the Franco-American Treaty of Alliance in 1778. However, the engraving was not included in the final design of the arch.

The Arc de Triomphe also holds a special place in the hearts of many Parisians. Often, couples will gather at the arch to take wedding photographs or simply take in the incredible views of the city. Moreover, the monument continues to be the centerpiece of many military parades and ceremonies, offering a reminder of the sacrifices of French soldiers past and present.

Political Impact

Today, the Arc de Triomphe plays an important role in French politics. Political leaders often use the arch as a backdrop for political rallies or press conferences. It is also used to commemorate certain events of national and military importance, such as the annual Bastille Day parade or the 70th-anniversary celebrations of Allied victory in World War II.

In addition, the government of France has taken steps to ensure that the Arc de Triomphe serves as a physical reminder of the importance of national unity and liberté, égalité, fraternité. The monument is surrounded by a 922-foot-long wall of remembrance, inscribed with the names of all who died in the World Wars.

The Arc de Triomphe also stands as a reminder to leaders of the power of the people who can come together to enact larger societal changes. It serves as a physical representation of the rights of all citizens to participate in the political process.

Interpretations and Meaning

For years, the Arc de Triomphe has inspired artists and art critics, who have sought to capture the monument’s iconic grandeur and symbolism. Some interpretations focus on the arch’s historical context of French victory and imperialism, while others highlight how the arch evolved to become a symbol of the nation’s long-standing struggle for freedom, equality and justice.

The arch has also captured the imagination of contemporary photographers and filmmakers. In films such as “Les Misérables” or the “Mission Impossible” series, the Arc de Triomphe is captured in all of its majestic glory and its powerful symbolism takes center stage. It is often used to create an emotional effect, whether through its grandeur in celebrating a victory or its heartrending reminder of the sacrifices of men and women in battle.

In many ways, the Arc de Triomphe has transcended its original purpose and become a symbol of resilience and the strength of the human spirit. It serves as a reminder of the courage it takes to forge a brighter future, both individually and collectively.

Impact on the City

The Arc de Triomphe also serves as a reminder of how the French capital has managed to progress through history and remains one of the most beloved cities in the world. It plays an integral part in the city’s identity, providing Parisians with a sense of pride and patriotism that transcends time and connectivity.

The arch is also an integral part of Paris’s history and culture, with a seemingly endless stream of people passing through its gates day after day. It stands as a testament to the power of tradition, but also as a reminder of the fragility of the modern world, where architecture can rise and fall in mere moments.

The Arc de Triomphe also stands as a reminder of the central role of the arts and culture in French society. Paris has long been known as the ‘City of Lights’ and is rich in large monuments, grand sites, award-winning restaurants and world-famous galleries and museums.

The arch is a physical embodiment of the city’s tradition and has served as a reminder that Paris is and always has been a city of multiplicity, both in its buildings and its people.


The Arc de Triomphe stands as an enduring symbol of French history and culture, and an ever-present reminder of the struggles and victories of the nation’s citizens throughout the years. Its iconic architecture and grand view of the cityscape are renowned, and it remains a beloved symbol of cultural pride not only to Parisians, but to all French citizens.

Herman Shaw is a passionate traveler and avid photographer who has seen many of the world's most awe-inspiring monuments. He has developed expertise in various aspects of world architecture and culture which he enjoys sharing with his readers. With deep historical knowledge and insight, Herman's writing brings life to these remarkable artifacts and highlights their importance in the grand scheme of human history.

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