Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Arche de Triumphe

The triump arch is second only to the Eiffel tower as a landmark of Paris. The building is impressive when you get close to it. Big and massive, filled with figures and ornaments. It is 49,5 metres high, 45 metres wide and 22 metres deep.

It is located at the top of the Champs-Élysées at the Place Charles de Gaulle (also known as Place de l'Étoile). There is a beautiful view over the Champs-Élysées down to Place Concorde and the Louvre from the arch. If you gaze the other way, you will see la Defence and the new triumph arch which was designed by the Danish architect Johann Otto von Sprekelsen.

The arch honours thouse who fought for France, especially for Napoleon and his triumphs, and it has the names of the great battles, generals and other French triumphs during the wards. The battle of Waterloo which Napoleon lost is of course not mentioned. The project was started in 1816, but wasn't finished before 1836 because of the fall of Napoleon and a new French government. The style is inspired by Titus' arch in Rome and is meant to surpass the Roman triumphs. It is a beautiful building and certainly worth a visit.

Under the arch is the tomb of the unknown soldier, with an eternal flame in memory of the fallen French soldiers during both world wars. The flame was lit in 1920.

Access to the arch is free, though it costs to enter the building and see the fantastic view over Paris.

Practical information:
Metro/RER stop: Charles de Gaulle - Etoile, line A, 1, 2 og 6

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