Do you want to catch the gorgeous sunset from a stunning location? Clamber to the viewing deck of the iconic Arc de Triomphe. This structure boasts not only the view of a beautiful sunset, but also the Tomb of Unknown Soldier underneath the arch and the eternal flame.
The Iconic Arch
The Arc de Triomphe or the Arch of Triumph in beautiful Paris is said to be the most iconic of all the triumphal arches. It pompously stands in the middle of a huge square with the shape of a circle called Place de l’Étoile or the Place Charles de Gaulle at the end of the Champs-Elysées. There are12 grand avenues named after French military leaders radiating from the square to form the star – Place de l’Étoile. This fine work of architecture gives its guests a glimpse of France’s military past as well as a fabulous view of Paris.
This arc is among the top 10 most popular tourist attractions in the city of Paris. It is 164 feet (50 meters) high and 148 feet (45 meters) wide. This monument built in 1806 in honor of the victorious battles led by Napoleon Bonaparte, but he didn’t witness its completion. It depicts the names of those who died for the emperor.
The decorative style of the arch is reminiscent of Neoclassical sculpture of ancient Roman architecture rampantly used during the earlier parts of the nineteenth century following the design by Jean Chalgrin. While it is older than the Eiffel Tower, it is a novelty in the tradition of victory arches. An earlier structure, the Arch of Titus in Rome, inspired Napoleon to construct this tribute to his “Grande Armee.”
Some Facts About Arc de Triomphe
If you were to go to Paris, what do you need to know about the Arc de Triomphe?
- How to get there: It is located in the 16th arrondissement (in the northwest sector of Paris) on Paris’s Right Bank, specifically on one end of the Champs Elysees, the city’s most prominent avenue. Take the RER’s line A, station Charles-de-Gaulle-Etoile or Metro’s lines 1, 2 and 6, station Charles-de-Gaulle-Etoile. If you want to access the underground tunnel located on the de la Grande Armee side of the circle, take the Wagram exit of the Metro.
- From outside Paris: If you are coming from outside Paris, there are two ways to reach the Arc; exit Porte Dauphine and avenue Foch or exit Porte Maillot and avenue de la Grande Armée or From the centre of Paris: drive up the Champs Elysées.
- It’s not for the faint-hearted: To get all the way to the top where the viewing deck is, first you need to get to the monument, which can be a feat (don’t try to get there by crossing the traffic circle) and then you scale the 40-step stairs.
- The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier: This addition was built in 1921 underneath the arch in honor of the WWI soldiers. If you want to witness the “eternal flame,” it is re-lighted every 6:30 pm. During the Armistice Day celebrated every November 11, a ceremonial wreath is offered by the President of the Republic to this monument.
- Real Deal: It’s a cheaper option when you are traveling with young ones. Children up to 17 years old can enter free. The entrance fee for adults is 8 €, and it is 5 € for students 18 years and older. For those traveling in groups of not less than six, the fee is 20 €.
- Catch it: The Arc de Triomphe is open every day from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. April 1 to September 30 and from 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. October 1 to March 31 except January 1, May 1, and May 8 (morning) July 14 (morning), November 11 (morning) and December 25.
- Best time to come: Bastille Day or the French National Day celebrated every 14th of July is among the best days of the year to pay the Arc de Triomphe a visit. There is a festive parade down the Champs Elysees with a huge flag billowing from the Arch’s pinnacle creating a wonderful backdrop for a selfie. A huge French flag is also unfurled and hung from the Arch’s vaulted ceiling during special occasions.
The Arc de Triomphe is one great reason to visit Paris. It lets you triumphantly bask in the beauty of the city as you gaze down from the viewing deck towards the end of the day. It is a perfect location to appreciate Paris’ taut geometry of the city’s urban plan with the rows of trees lining the avenues amplifying the effect. It also gives you a perfect view of another city landmark, the Eiffel Tower.