Paris

Arc de Triomphe

The Arc de Triomphe is one of the symbols of French patriotism and from its panoramic terrace it gives tourists a spectacular view of the streets of Paris.

Napoleon Bonaparte commissioned the construction of a Roman-style triumphal arch in 1806 to celebrate the victory of Austerlitz, a battle that seemed to enshrine French military supremacy.

After a decade Napoleon’s empire suffered its first defeats, a sign of the disintegration of his supremacy, and the statesman died before seeing the arch fully realised: his remains passed under the monument in 1840.

Today, it is considered one of the symbols of French patriotism but is especially loved by tourists for the magnificent view from its terrace.

Things to do at the Arc de Triomphe

Not everyone knows that the Arc de Triomphe can be visited and will give you a spectacular view of the Champs Elysees, the most beautiful boulevard in Europe. In fact, only from its summit can you see and embrace with your gaze the famous étoile, the star where the great avenues of Paris intersect.

Calculate about 45 minutes to visit the monument and enjoy the view from the terrace. The best time to admire the Arc de Triomphe is definitely in the late afternoon, when the flame of the Unknown Soldier is revived and when the Champs Élysées lights up with evening illumination.

The Arc de Triomphe fits into a marvellous setting at certain times of the year: during the Christmas festivities, with the magical atmosphere of the extraordinary illuminations, on the occasion of the military parade on 14 July, French National Day, with the armed forces parading right in front of the arch ‘dressed’ in an immense national flag, and as the finishing point of the Tour de France, Europe’s most famous bicycle race.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

The construction of the Arc de Triomphe was ordered by Napoleon in 1809, as a testimony to the glory and greatness of his deeds.

Only later, in 1921, did the monument become a symbol of all the soldiers who lost their lives for their country. The base of the arch in fact holds the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which celebrates all the soldiers who fell during the First World War, some 1.3 million men: here a torch burns eternally and is revived every day at 6.30 pm.

If you have time to devote to this monument, a series of bronze plaques are set into the floor, commemorating key moments in French history: among the most famous are the proclamation of the Third Republic, the 1918 armistice that saw the return of Alsace and Lorraine to France, and above all Charles de Gaulle’s speech at the microphones of Radio London on 18 June 1940, which thus began the French resistance against the Nazi occupation.

The arch sculptures

One of the most interesting attractions of the arch are its sculptures: 4 high reliefs, 6 bas-reliefs and a frieze spanning the entire arch.

Each ornamental element was created by a different artist and illustrates moments of French military greatness: the repulsion of the Austrian and Prussian armies, the victories of the Napoleonic Empire, the French Revolution, the Egyptian campaign and, of course, the Battle of Austerlitz.

The Interactive Museum

Before going up to the panoramic terrace, you can visit an interactive museum: thanks to multimedia installations, you will discover the 200-year history of this symbol of Paris and all the other famous ones scattered around the world.

The panoramic terrace

Climb 284 steps to reach the roof of the arch where an unparalleled view awaits you.

You are at the exact junction of the 12 tree-lined avenues that radiate out from the square, creating a magnificent visual effect that is at its most beautiful during the Christmas season: the avenues glitter with Christmas lights, creating an enchanting sight.

The Arc de Triomphe represents the highest point of an imaginary line that sweeps up to the obelisk of the Place de la Concorde and reaches the glass pyramid of the Louvre on one side, while stretching as far as the Grande Arche de la Defense on the other. Your gaze will reach as far as the Eiffel Tower, the Sacré Coeur and the Louvre Museum.

If you are wondering if there is a lift to reach the top of the arch, the answer is yes, but it is only for people with reduced mobility and disabilities, pregnant women and parents with small children and prams.

Tickets

Where the Arc de Triomphe is located

The Arc de Triomphe is located at Place Charles de Gaulle, at the western end of the Champs Élysées. This imposing, celebratory structure is considered the pivot of Paris’ famous historical axis, a sequence of monuments that starts from the courtyard of the Palais du Louvre and goes all the way to the outskirts of the city, sharpening the 3 Parisian arches: Arc du Carrousel, Arc de Triomphe and the modern Arc de la Defense.

The arch is at the centre of an immense roundabout that is perennially busy, day and night, as 12 different roads converge here: Avenue Marceau, Avenue d’Iena, Avenue Kleber, Avenue Victor Hugo, Avenue Foch, Avenue de Grand Armeè, Avenue Carnot, Avenue Mac Mahon, Avenue de Wagram, Avenue Hoche, Avenue de Friedland and, of course, Avenue Champs Élysées.

For this reason, to reach the Arc de Triomphe, we advise you to always use the pedestrian subway that connects Avenue des Champs – Élysées and Avenue de la Grande – Armée. The roundabout crossing is highly dangerous.

To get there, use one of the following public transport stops.

Useful information

Address

Pl. Charles de Gaulle, 75008 Paris, France

Contacts

TEL: +33 1 55 37 73 77

Timetables

    Open every day from 10:00 am  to  10:15 pm

Transports

Metro stops

  • Charles de Gaulle – Etoile (33 mt)
  • Kleber (262 mt)

Where is located Arc de Triomphe

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