One of the world’s most famous monuments, the Arc de Triomphe, the majestic arch of Paris, France, is complete. The Arc de Triomphe is a symbol of French national identity and took 30 years to build. The Tour de France cycling race concludes almost every year, and the annual military parade on July 14, also known as French National Day and Bastille Day, begins at this arch.
It is located in the western terminal of the Charles de Gaulle (formerly known as de Eltoil), des Champs-Elysees. De La Concord is 1.2 miles (2 km) east of the terminal. Napoleon started the Arch of Victory in 1805 – to commemorate the military victories of the French, following his great victory at the Battle of Austerlitz in 1805. Designed by Jean-François-Thérèse Chalgrin, the arch is 164 feet (50 m) high and 148 feet (45 m) wide. It sits in a circular plaza and radiates 12 highways to form a star (autoil), hence it is also known as the star arch.
Construction of the arch began on August 15, 1806, Napoleon’s birthday. By the time he married the Austrian architect Marie Lewis in 1810, the foundation had begun to form a little more than that. Therefore, in honor of her ceremonial entry into Paris, a full-scale representation of the finished design, made of wood and painted on canvas, was erected on the site. This gave Chalgrin a chance to see his plan on the website, and he made a few minor adjustments to it. By his death in 1811, only a small part of the structure had been completed, and after Napoleon’s resignation as emperor, work on the Bourbon Restoration (1814) slowed. Thus much was accomplished until 1823 when King Louis XVIII ordered the resumption of work. The original structure of the monument was completed by 1831; It was completed in 1836 during the reign of King Louis-Philippe.
Chalgrin’s creation was neoclassical and was inspired by the arch of Titus in the Roman Forum. Decorative high-relief sculptures commemorating the military victories of the Revolution and the First Empire were activated on the four-faced facade of the arch by Rudd, Jean-Pierre Cortot, and Antoine Etex of France. The most famous of these sculptures is the Exodus of 1792 volunteers (popularly known as La La Marcelais) presented by Rudd’s team. The other surfaces are decorated with hundreds of generals and battles. A 284-step staircase leads from the ground level to the top of the monument. An elevator runs over the monument. But from there, there is an observation deck and you can only reach the top by climbing the remaining steps. Below the observation deck is a small museum with interactive exhibits on the history of the arch. Below the arch of the tomb of an unknown soldier in France, collected in 1921. A flame of its memory was first lit in 1923. An annual ceremony is held at the arch to mark the 1918 Armory’s anniversary of the end of World War I.
The Arc de Triomphe continues to serve as a symbol of France for the country and the world. The coffins of many French luminaries, such as Victor Hugo and Ferdinand Foch, were placed there before being buried elsewhere. In addition, triumphal processions often march past the arch. Namely, the invading powers (Germany, 1871 and 1940) and France and its allies. (After the liberation of Paris during World War II in 1918 and 1944 and after the end of the European War in 1945).