The Arc de Triomphe is an iconic monument located on the western side of the Place Charles de Gaulle in Paris. It is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world and is seen as a symbol of French national pride. The Arc de Triomphe was built between 1806 and 1836 under the orders of Napoleon I. He intended for it to be a tribute to France’s military prowess and glory, which is why it is adorned with reliefs and inscriptions of French victories.
Napoleon I commissioned the structure as a way to commemorate his Grande Armée, the army he successfully led to victory in numerous battles during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. He also envisioned the Arc de Triomphe as a symbol of Napoleon’s own glory. As a result, his presence is inextricably linked with the monument, particularly since his ashes were scattered at its foot in 1840.
The Arc de Triomphe was designed by the renowned architect Jean Chalgrin, who drew up plans inspired by Rome’s Arch of Titus. It is built in a Neo-Classic style and stands 50 meters (166 feet) tall and 45 meters (150 feet) wide. The Arc de Triomphe is accessed by four monumental doors, each of which is decorated with the symbols of four French victories. On the sculptures, one can find the crown that symbolizes the coronation of Napoleon and a reclining figure that symbolizes his domination of the world.
Influence of the Arc de Triomphe
The Arc de Triomphe has been a source of national pride for French citizens for centuries and is often used for important ceremonies and national events. One of the most important events related to the monument is the annual French national holiday, Bastille Day, which is celebrated on July 14th.
Every year, during Bastille Day, French citizens and military personnel gather around the Arc de Triomphe to pay tribute to those who have fought and died for the nation. The monument is also a beacon of hope, symbolizing unity and peace among the French people.
Controversies Surrounding the Arc de Triomphe
Despite its importance to the French nation as a symbol of resilience and strength, the Arc de Triomphe also holds a controversial legacy. While many revere the structure as an iconic reminder of Napoleon’s legacy, others criticize it for glorifying a colonialistic ruler. Furthermore, during the Second World War, the Arc de Triomphe was used by Nazi forces as a platform for propaganda.
Legacy of The Arc de Triomphe
Today, the Arc de Triomphe continues to be a powerful symbol of French strength and resilience. Despite the controversies surrounding the monument, it still stands proud as a reminder of the importance of honoring one’s history while learning from it. So while Napoleon I may no longer be in power, his vision of a monument that celebrates French pride lives on.
Effects of Tourism
Since its completion in 1836, the Arc de Triomphe has attracted millions of visitors from all over the world. Today, it is one of the top tourist attractions in Paris and a major source of income for the city. Tourists can not only admire the structure but also take part in one of the many flag-raising ceremonies that take place at the monument throughout the year.
The Golden Lighting at the Arc de Triomphe
In addition to being a popular tourist destination, the Arc de Triomphe has also become an iconic symbol of Paris at night, thanks to its unique golden lighting. In 2003, the French government installed a sophisticated illumination system, which includes two projectors that create a golden halo around the monument. This lighting system is turned on every night to give visitors the impression that the Arc de Triomphe is aglow with the glory of French history and strength.
Restoration of the Monument
The Arc de Triomphe has stood firm for centuries, but due to years of exposure to both natural and man-made damage, the monument is in need of repairs. Since the 1990s, the French government has been working to restore the monument to its original condition. Over the years, the government has carried out several repairs, including cleaning and replacing the sculptures and stone carvings. In the future, more restorative work will be carried out to ensure the monument remains intact for generations to come.
Significance for French People
The iconic Arc de Triomphe stands as a lasting symbol of French history and culture. Not only does it honor those who have fought and died for the nation, but it also has become an iconic part of Paris that will be remembered for generations to come. For the French people, the monument is a reminder of their past and a beacon of hope for the future. It is a place they can go to remember their heritage and feel a sense of pride and unity.