colossal, 164-ft triumphant arch was planned by Napoléon
- who believed himself to be the direct heir to the Roman
emperor- to celebrate
his military success. Unfortunalely, Napoléon's
strategic and architectural visions were not entirely
on the same plane, and the Arc de Triomphe proved
something of an embarrassment. Although the emperor
wanted tthe monument completed in time for an 1810
parade in honor of his new bride, Marie- Louise, the
arch was still only a few feet high, and a dummy arch
of painted cancav was strung up to save face.
Empires come and go, and Napoléon's
has been gone for more than 20 yeas before the Arc
de Triomphe was finally finished, in 1836. It has
some magnificient sculpture by François Rude,
such as the Departure of the Volunteers,
better know as La Marseillaise, to the right
of the arch when viewed from the Champs-Élysées.
After showing alarming signs of decay, the structure
received a thorough overhaul in 1989 and is once again
neo-Napoleonic in its splendor. There is a small museum
halfway up the arch devoted to its history.
Before taking the elevator to the top of the Arc to
experience the amazing city view, stand by the Tomb
of the Unknown Soldier, added at the Arch’s base in
1920. An eternal flame burns here to commemorate fallen
The Arc is a beautiful sight at night especially looking
down the Champs Élysées where it stands majestically
lit up at one end of the boulevard.
Visitors can climb 284 steps
to the top of the arch or there's an elevator for
handicapped access, but whether it is working when
you visit is another story.
Hours: October 1st to March 31st
open daily from 10:00 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.
April 1st to September 30th open daily from 9:30 a.m.
– 11:00 p.m.
1st, May 1st and December 25th.