Paris Walking Tours

Paris Walking Tours

Facts about the Arc de Triomphe

Paris Walking Tours

Paris Tours

The Arc de Triomphe is a celebrated and famous monument located in the centre of Paris. Situated at the west end of the renowned Champs Elysees Avenue, this historic monument measures up to fifty meters in height and consists of a rooftop tower that offers a spectacular view over the Paris cityscape. Below is a collection of facts regarding the construction and grandeur of this famous monument in Paris.


The building of the arch was commissioned by French monarch Napoleon Bonaparte in 1806 to honor the soldiers who died for France during the Napoleonic wars. Inspired by the design of a Roman arch, it took around 30 years to complete and has delicate designs, with iconic style and sculptures.


French architect Jean Chalgrin designed the monument until his death in 1811. Jean Nicolas Huyot was replaced to complete Chalgrin’s work. The inner face of the arch is inscribed with the names of all the generals who fought in the Napoleonic wars. Thirty shields line the top of the arch each naming the victories earned by Napoleon in his lifetime.


Napoleon ordered a wooden replica made for entering into the city with his second wife Marie Louise. The construction of the arc ceased for a few years following the defeat of Napoleon in 1814 and resumed in 1826. The arc remained unfinished until 1836 many years after the death of Napoleon.


The Arc’s pillars have four main sculptural groups on each of them. These are Le Depart de by Francois Rude, a sculptural representation of the cause of the French First Republic of the August 10 uprising; Le Triomphe de by Jean Pierre Cortot, which celebrates the Treaty of Schonbrunn; Le Resistance de by Antoine Etex that honors the French resistance to the allied armies; and the Le Paix de celebrating the treaty of Paris.

Tomb of the Unknown Solider

Beneath the arches of the Arc de Triomphe is the tomb of an unknown soldier who died during World War I. It represents all the 1,500,000 soldiers who fought and died during the war and is present there since 1920.

Eternal flame

The Arch de Triomphe has a flame that is lit every day at 06:00 pm since 1923. First lit by Andre Maginot in the year 1923, the tradition of rekindling the flame continues until today with French soldiers and veterans performing the various ceremonies.