The monument stands for triumph – the triumph of the human spirit against the odds. The Arc de Triomphe in Paris, and even the world. To put its size in perspective, the pilot Charles Godefroy flew a biplane under and through the arch, in celebration of the end of World War I. It is a colossal 49.5 meters tall, 45 meters wide and 22 meters deep.
Napoleon Bonaparte commissioned this Arch in 1806. He envisioned his victorious troops marching underneath the arch, amidst the cheers and applause of the crowd. The problem is that the arch was not finished, he was ousted before his vision ever happened. It took around 30 years for it to be completed, during King Louis-Philippe’s reign. This is long after Napoleons death in Saint Helens island.
What’s great about this monument is that you can climb up to the top and enjoy the views of the Champs-Elysees, the Sacre-Coeur and La Defense. The 234 steps up to the observatory are certainly worth it! Of course, you can also ride the elevators to the top. The arch also features an eternal flame, which is relit every afternoon, at 6:30. This is actually the best time to visit the Arch, as the lights imbue more magic to the place.
There is also a museum at the middle of the arch that features the history of the arch and how it was built.
The Arc de Triomphe is a monument that evokes both memories of Paris’ dark and joyful times. It celebrated some of France’s most memorable hours – when Napoleon’s ashes were dedicated, when Victor Hugo’s funeral was celebrated and when the Nazi forces marched into Paris under the arch. It is at the top of the list of any serious tourist in Paris.