The Arc de Triomphe was designed in 1806 by the architect Jean
Chalgrin, and stands over 51m in height and is 45m wide. The monument is the second
largest triumphal arch in existence, and its design was originally inspired by the Roman
Arch of Titus.
It displays heroically nude French youths against bearded Germanic warriors in chain mail,
which set the tone for public monuments with triumphant nationalistic messages, right up
until World War I.
The Arc de Triomphe is so massive that after World War I had come to an end, and only
three weeks after the Paris victory parade in
1919, Charles Godefroy flew his Nieuport biplane through it!
The Arc de Triomphe is a major landmark during the Tour de France, where the cyclists
realise that they are nearing the finish of the race when it first comes into view, with
the race itself finishing on the Champs-Elysees,
which is probably why they look so happy at this point!
And beneath the arch is a tomb where President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline
Kennedy, of the United States of America, were accompanied by French President Charles de
Gaulle when they paid their respects in 1961, known as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Mrs Jaqueline Kennedy never forgot her trip to France and when her husband President John
F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, in 1963, she remembered about the eternal
flame at the Arc de Triomphe and requested that an eternal flame be placed next to her
husband's grave at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
President Charles de Gaulle went to Washington to attend the state funeral, and he was
able to witness Jacqueline Kennedy lighting the eternal flame that was inspired by her
visit to France.
Quite incredibly, the eternal flame has only ever been extinguished once, which was back
in the June of 1998 when a drunken fan of the Mexican national football team urinated on
the flame, and he was subsequently arrested and charged with public intoxication!
There are numerous parades and ceremonies held at the Arc de Triomphe and at one of these
President Charles de Gaulle managed to survive an attack upon him during a parade.
But unfortunately over the years the monument had grown very blackened from coal soot and
during 1965 and 1966 the Arc de Triomphe was thoroughly cleaned through
sandblasting. However, even today there is again some darkening that is
already apparent and yet it doesn't stop people from coming to visit and admire this
incredible monument in Paris that was designed to
This famous arch is open to the public where you can get an incredible view from the top
of the Champs Elysees, the Eiffel Tower and the Grande Arche in the business district of Paris and there are actually two floors open to the
Plus due to the fact that it is open until late in the evening, it is a great place to
view the shimmering city lights as the sun goes down because during the months of April
through to September it is open from 10am and does not close until 11pm and from the
months of October through to March it closes at 10.30pm, although last entry is at least
30 minutes before closing time.
However, please note that on national holidays and certain dates for special occasions
such as the morning of the 8th May, the Arc de Triomphe is actually closed.
There is a charge to enter the arch and the new rates from 2010 will be 9 for adults
and 5.50 for concessions. There is free entry for those under the age of 18 if
accompanied by an adult.
There is also a small museum inside the Arc de Triomphe that provides a lot of fascinating
facts on its history and the construction,
along with major events that have taken place, but fortunately, there is now a lift so you
do not have to climb a lot of stairs, well over two hundred, in which to experience these
Also, because of where this historical landmark in Paris
is situated, literally in the middle of the busiest roundabout and intersection, it far
too dangerous to try crossing the road, so there is a tunnel underneath from the Avenue
des Champs Elysees that will get you there safely.
You may also like to know that the closest metro station is the Charles de Gaulle Etoile
on lines 1, 2 and 6.
Address & Contact Details:
Arc de Triomphe
Telephone: 1 55 37 73 77
Fax: 1 44 95 02 13