Arc de Triomphe is one of the most familiar symbols of Paris and the French nation.
It links old and new Paris together at the focus of the intersection of 11 major avenues in Paris. It stands on the highest point of a line running from the Louvre to the Grande Arche de la Défense.
Jean-François Chalgrin derived inspiration for this monument from the Roman Arch of Titus. However Chalgrin’s version is much larger and does away with the columns.
Inaugurated in 1836 by Louis-Philippe, he dedicated it to the Armies of the Revolution and of the Empire. Later in 1921, an unknown soldier was buried beneath the arch.
The monument faces the Champs-Elysées which is one of the busiest of all 11 avenues intersecting at the arch.
The pedestals are decorated with four allegorical reliefs by sculptors Alfred Cortot, Antoine Etex, and François Rude. Facing the Champs-Elysées is Francois Rude’s famous sculpture “Departure of the Volunteers”.
A lift takes you to the top of the monument and inside is a mini-museum with exhibits that show you the history and purpose of this famous landmark.
Up another short flight of steps is the outdoor terrace. Here you can see all of Paris emanating from the 11 avenues that all join below.