The history of the Arc de Triomphe Paris

Written by on July 27, 2016 in French Icons, Paris


The history of the Arc de Triomphe Paris: The Arch of Triumph, it’s English translation, was commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte. It is a symbol of Paris, its presence so strong that even Hitler walked round it not through it, and Jackie Kennedy was so inspired by her visit, she recreated an Eternal Flame to commemorate President Kennedy at Arlington National Cemetery.

The Historic Axis of Paris

The architectural thread of central Paris is the ‘Historic Axis’ is a monumental route of monuments that links many of the City’s iconic features. The precisly aligned route runs from the Louvre museum stretching far out to the most modern Grande Arch in La Defense, more than 10 kilometres away. It can be viewed as though looking through a telescopic sight. Along this line rest many prominent features. The Arc du Carrousel, the Tuileries gardens, the Obelisque in Place de la Concorde and the Avenue des Champs-Elysées all run as straight as a die with the view piercing the great Arc de Triomphe, one of its most poignant features.

Located at the Place Charles de Gaulle, the Arc de Triomphe is the focal point of 12 main routes splaying out to all corners of the City. It is at the hub of Parisian history, culture and influence.

The Arc de Triomphe

The Arc de Triomphe was commissioned in 1806 by Napoleon after his victory at Austerlitz the year before.  Just the foundations took more than two years to put down and the final construction was not finished until 30 years later, the result of the work of no less than 5 celebrated architects.  Napoleon died before it was completed.

Inside the Arc, a lift it goes almost to the top, to a permanent museum presenting the history of the Arc. There are just a further 43 steps to reach the external viewing platform. From here the view over Paris is a great spectacle on a clear day when you can see as far as the Louvre museum beyond the Champs-Elysées and to the Grand Arch in La Defense in the other direction.

A daily service takes place at 18.30 at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. A separate flame is reignited by one of  900 war veteran societies representing the association, La Flamme sous l’Arc de Triomphe.

Read the full article about the sculptures, carvings and legends of iconic arch in The Good Life France Magazine – free to read, download and subscribe.

Bob Lyons is an ex pilot turned travel writer.

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