Napoleon's tribute to his Grande Armée and spectacular views of Paris
Description: The Arc de Triomphe is a Neoclassical take on the ancient Roman triumphal arch style. 50 m tall, the view from the platform atop the arch is well worth the hike. You'll see all of the dozen Parisian avenues radiating out from it into the City of Light. Paris is one of the most fascinating places in the world, and you're at the center.
Inspired by the great arches of ancient Rome, Napoleon commissioned the Arc de Triomphe shortly after his victory at Austerlitz. Unfortunately, he never lived to see its completion, but that's what happens when you design something so elaborate: relief sculptures at the base of each of the four pillars, ornate soldiers in a frieze around the top, plus the names of 128 battles and 558 generals. It took thirty years, but was well worth it.
At the base of the arch, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier pays tribute to the 1.3 million French soldiers who died in WWI. The Unknown Soldier was given a burial in 1921, beneath the eternal flame. At 6:30 each evening, the flame is rekindled. There's also an exhibition which explains the symbolic importance of this monument. Make sure to see it (after you've been to the top).
Standing atop the arch is worth the 284 stairs. From 50 m up, you can survey all of Paris. Unlike the obligatory Eiffel Tower trip, getting into the Arc de Triomphe is an effort not all tourists undertake.
Address: Arc de Triomphe - Place Charles de Gaulle, Paris
Opening hours: Monday/Sunday 10.00 - 22.30 | Saturday 13.00 - 22.30
Last admission 30 minutes before closing.
- Bus: Line 22, 30, 31, 52, 73 or 92
- Metro: Line 1, 2 or 6, Charles de Gaulle-Étoile
- RER A: Charles de Gaulle-Étoile
- To access the Arc de Triomphe you must use the underground walkway from the Avenue Champs-Elysées or Grande Armée
- Skip the ticket line in the underground walkway and go straight to the stairs, located on the right-hand side of the ticket office
- Once outside, go straight to the 'Reserved Entry' (Entrée Réservée) line on the right
- After the security checkpoint, show your smartphone ticket to be scanned
Your skip the line ticket gets you in faster, straight to the good stuff
Make for the top of one of the most iconic monuments in Paris and prepare for those amazing views
Enjoy a unique view of the Champs-Élysées and pay your respects at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Arc de Triomphe - Map