After the Eiffel Tour, Notre Dame de Paris and Napoleon’s Arc de Triomphe may be the most well recognized monuments in Paris. Sad to so say, Napoleon never had the opportunity to see his triumphant arch completely finished. He wanted to construct an arch to honor the victims of Napoleonic wars but he had hoped that the arch would also be completed in time for his marriage to Marie Louise.
Great expectations – not to be realized. Rather, the 165-foot arch, the second tallest in the world (the tallest arch is in North Korea, built in 1982), the Arc de Triomphe was not actually inaugurated until the reign of Louis Philippe. So, like the Obelisk, yet another nod of recognition to antiquity finally found its place in 19h century Paris city planning.
The Arc de Triomphe is also home to the unknown soldier. Each evening at 6:30 pm, a ceremony is conducted.
Visitors can climb the steps to the top of the arch for a view of the ‘spine of Paris’ starting with the Grand Arche at La Defense, extending, from the Grand Arche, all the way down the Champs Elysees, through the Tuileries, the Pyramid, the Louvre, and far in the distance – Place de la Bastille.
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The most important thing you need to know if you’re thinking about running over to the Arc de Triomphe for a ‘photo op’ is to increase your chances of arriving alive by taking the UNDERGROUND PASSAGE from the Charles de Gaulle-Etoile Metro stop.
Don’t worry – you aren’t the first person to try to brave the traffic circle, but why risk life and limb when you can take the underground passage. I would also recommend taking a flashlight. The passageway is sometimes poorly lit and a tempting locale for possible pickpocketing.
Entrance fee is 7 Euros for adults. 4.50 Euros reduced rate.
Hours: Daily from 10 am to 11 pm until September 30th, and 10 am to 10 pm the rest of the year.
Visit the official site for most recent rates and hours.