Arc de Triomphe: 8e

FRANCE PARIS Arc de Triomphe

The magnificent Arc de Triomphe [Place Charles-de-Gaulle, +33 155377377 ad/ch €9.50/Free] rivals the Eiffel Tower as the icon of Paris. This neoclassical structure was commissioned by Napoléon in 1806 to commemorate his victories. However, its construction dragged on until 1836 due his subsequent losses. Today, the monument stands to honour the casualties of the French Revolution and the Napoléonic wars, as numerous names of these soldiers have been etched in these stones. It also stands atop the tomb of an Unknown Soldier, who lost his life in the First World War. The sacrifice of these soldiers is commemorated by the memorial flame of the Arc, which is rekindled each evening.

The Triumphant Arc is also the starting point of the Axe Historique - a western-bound imaginary margin which was created in the 17th century with the intent of lining up monuments and buildings across the centre of Paris. Hence, climbing atop the 50m structure proves to be rewarding as you can see the wide avenues of Paris unfolding before your eyes. Many of these streets are of historic significance, as the Arc de Triomphe has been the site of many important events such as the entrance of the German troops into Paris during WWII, as well the parade of Free French forces upon Paris’ liberation. Therefore, the Arc de Triomphe almost acts like the unofficial gate of Paris.