Born of Napoleon I’s desire to make the capital of his empire the most beautiful city in the world, the Arc de Triomphe celebrates both the glory of French soldiers, who defeated the Austro-Russian armies, and affirms the the emperor’s legitimacy. It also reflects the role of architecture in bestowing prestige and helping give birth to a myth. The Arc and its monumental decor were the setting of great historic events: the return of the ashes of Napoleon in 1840, the national funeral for Victor Hugo in 1885, and the Liberation of Paris in 1944. It became, over time, with the transformations of Europe and new societal aspirations, the place of remembrance for the victims of all wars, as well as the reconciliation of peoples and the celebration of peace. Inspired by the ancient arches, the illustrious names of national heroes are inscribed on its walls and it contains the tomb of the unknown soldier. Its flame is relit every night. Placed in the major axis that crosses Paris from east to west, between the large Arche de La Défense and the Louvre, the Arc offers a wonderful belvedere from its terrace where one can admire, day and night, a unique panorama of the capital, the avenue des Champs-Elysées and the layout of the square built under Haussmann. With 1.7 million visitors a year, the Arc de Triomphe is the most visited monument in the National Center of Monuments network. Bruno Cordeau, administrator of the Arc de Triomphe, will be our guide to discover this emblematic monument, often seen but not well-known by Parisians.
Métro : Charles de Gaulle – Etoile
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