Arc de Triomphe History
The Arc de Triomphe is one of Paris’s most iconic monuments. It was built from 1806 to 1836 to honor the Napoleonic victories of the French Army. Located in the 8th Arrondissement at the center of the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, the Arc is over 50 meters tall and 45 meters wide. Napoleon commissioned the construction of the grandiose structure for the first French Empire and the triumphant entrance of French soldiers upon their conqueror’s return from their victorious campaign up to the Dover strait in 1805.
Inscribed with the names of Napoleon’s generals and some of his most famous battles, the Arc also features the names of generals his opponents defeated. The Arc stands as an emblem of the victory of the Republic and its ideals of democracy and liberty, frequently visited by tourists and locals alike.
Opening Times and Entry Costs
The Arc de Triomphe is open every day and timings vary seasonally. From April to September, the monument opens at 10 am and closes at 11 pm. During the winter months, the monument opens at 10 am and closes at 10.30 pm. Before entering the Arc, visitors must pay an entrance fee of €12 for an adult ticket and €9 for a reduced-price ticket for children and seniors.
The terrace at the top of the Arc can be accessed from 11 am to 9 pm in summer and from 11 am to 9.30 pm in winter. Entry to the terrace is €8 for adults and €5 for reduced-price tickets for children and seniors. Those aged under 18 can access the terrace for free.
Explore the East and West Pillars
Visitors can also explore both the east and west pillars of the Arc, which feature reliefs and sculptures by renowned French artists, such as Jean-Gaspard Hesse, Alfred Lenoir, Frédéric Roussel, and Pierre Legrain. The east pillar features the Triumph of Napoleon, while the west pillar features the Departure of the Volunteers of 1792. The sculptures of these two pillars have been beautifully restored to their original glory. You can also view the details up close, and admire the craftsmanship of the French sculptors.
Laser Light Show and Special Events
The Arc de Triomphe also offers a unique laser show every evening from 11 pm. The show is made up of dazzling projected lights and images, set to haunting music. The show is highly acclaimed and has attracted many fans over the years. The Arc also organizes special events several times a year, such as the annual concert on Bastille Day, which feature music and fireworks in honor of the people of France.
Apart from the laser show and special events, the Arc de Triomphe often organizes educational activities and workshops for families as well as school visits. The monument also boasts a gift shop which sells a range of souvenirs, books, postcards and artworks.
Museum and Panoramic Views
Visitors can also explore the museum located at the base of the Arc de Triomphe. The museum features exhibits spanning from the archaeological treasures of the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations to the 21st-century monuments that shape Paris today. From the top of the Arc, visitors can take in the spectacular views of the city and the Eiffel Tower. On clear days, you can even spot the Mont Blanc in the distance.
Transport and Street Food
Public transport to and from the Arc de Triomphe is easily available, with Metro stops and bus stops located nearby. There are also various restaurants and cafés, in addition to street food stalls. Many of these offer an array of traditional French and local favorites, such as sausages, waffles and crêpes, for those looking for a quick snack or light meal.
Significance and Importance
The Arc de Triomphe is a symbol of French victory and of Paris’ long history. It has stood firmly at the center of the 8th Arrondissement for centuries, and is a testament to the triumph of democracy and freedom. It is widely known for being an essential landmark in the history of France, from the Revolutionary era to the present day.
The Arc de Triomphe is one of the most iconic monuments in Paris, steeped in history and significance. It is open daily and entry fees can be paid onsite. Even outside of opening hours, the monument is a great spot for visitors to appreciate the majestic architecture and grandeur of the Arc. With its breathtaking views and awe-inspiring sculptures, the Arc de Triomphe is a must-see attraction suitable for everyone.