Arc de Triomphe:
Place Charles de Gaulle, 75008 Paris; http://www.arcdetriompheparis.com/
|Apr—Sept: 10 AM—11 PM|
|Oct—Mar: 10 AM—10:30 PM|
Located on the western end of Champs-Élysées, this iconic monument was built between 1806 and 1836 to commemorate all those who fought for France, especially during the Napoleonic Wars. Along with names of generals and wars engraved on the inside and top of the arch, the Memorial Flame, which has been burning unperturbed since first ignited in 1923, burns in the middle to honor the Unknown Soldier from WWI, whose tomb is underground of the vault of the arch. This eternal flame is reignited every evening at 6:30 PM.
After spending half the day in Montmartre and eating lunch at Cot Cot, we took the metro (line 2) from Anvers station to Charles de Gaulle-Etoile. There are signs everywhere for the Arc de Triomphe exit and we somehow ended up at the very end of Champs-Élysées across the street from the Arc, where we were able to enjoy the view of the grand Arc at a distance. After taking pictures, we walked underground through a tunnel to reach the actual Arc de Triomphe (walk down the stairs and follow the signs). There is another underground tunnel on the Avenue de la Grande-Armee. Please don’t try to get to the Arc by crossing the street! It is a very large, busy roundabout without any cross walks!
As one of the main attractions in the city, there were a lot of people both across the street from Arc de Triomphe and at the Arc itself. There are no fees to enjoy the outside base of Arc de Trimophe, however, there is a fee to climb the hundreds of steps to get to the top (according to the website, €8 for adults, €5 for students ages 18 to 25, €6.20 for groups, and free for ages 0-17). We didn’t feel like climbing stairs after walking all day in Montmartre, so we didn’t have to stand in line to get to the base of the Arc. But from what I’ve read, the view from the top is supposed to be beautiful. Just remember that there are no elevators, so be prepared to get in some exercise!
Like its name suggests, Arc de Triomphe was triumphant and glorious, and although I wasn’t all that well-versed in French history, it was a special and solemn experience. When we were there, a very large French flag was hanging in the middle of the arc above the Memorial Flame, and we sat in the shade and admired the beauty of the flag dancing in the wind amidst the grandeur of the monument. I was reminded that thanks to the countless men and women who have given up their lives to fight for France, not only are the people of France able to live in freedom and democracy, but also we as tourists are able to enjoy all that Paris has to offer.
Click on the gallery below to see more pictures of Arc de Triomphe!