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Arc de Triomphe Paris

January 29th, 2009 by paris

At the western end of of the Champs Elysees stands the imposing Arc de Triomphe, commissioned by Napoleon I in 1806, designed by Jean Chalgrin. and completed in 1836. It stands 50m high in the centre of the Place de l’Etoile where 12 broad avenues converge.

Beneath it lies the tomb of the unknown soldier, buried there in 1921 to honour all the unidentified dead from previous wars. Every evening at 6.30pm the eternal torch is symbolically relit, a poignant and moving sight.

At the base of the monument is a series of friezes, the frieze running round the arches shows on the Eastern side French troops marching to battle, and on the western side their victorious return. The morning sun displays the relief work of these friezes beautifully, but if you are not an early bird then there are

displays of all the friezes on the ground floor.

The view from the top of the Arc de Triomphe is an awe-inspiring sight, the whole of Paris is displayed beneath you. It is a good steep walk up the 264 steps to the top of the Arc de Triomphe Paris, but the vista is well worth the effort, and there are alcoves to duck into and rest.

For those who have mobility problems there is a lift, just ask at the ticket booth for the ascensur and they will point you towards the lift entrance.

The entrance is 9 euros but there is no limit as to how long you stay up there, until it closes of course. (Please remember that Arc de Triomphe entrance in included in the Museum Pass available from all Tourist Information centres, if you are visiting several attractions it is well worth purchasing one).

There is a small museum at the top displaying some relics of Napoleon I with some interactive displays, a short perusal will give you time enough to catch your breath before enjoying the superb views across the 19th century cityscape designed by Baron Haussmann.

How to get there

Take the Metro to the Champs Elysee and use the underground passage to get to the Arc de Triomphe Paris.

(Do not even think of trying to cross the Place Charles De Gaulle roundabout on foot. The police take a very dim view of anyone attempting to walk over.)

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