An imposing monument for the center of the busy traffic intersection, the archway rises majestically on top of the city, with coveted city views. While the vista from 164 feet (50 meters) above Paris will lure someone to the top from the Arc de Triomphe, there’s much to see in the base in this landmark. It stands within the Place Charles de Gaulle where 12 straight avenues, such as Champs-Élysées, intersect and form “the star” in the city.
Although that is a busy intersection for the center from the city, you can actually reach the monument via car or sidewalk through the picturesque Champs-Élysées. There’s also enough pedestrian-only space around the arch to admire its architecture and decorative artwork from the safe distance. There is undoubtedly an admission fee to attain the top on the arch via 284 steps or even the elevator. Once there, you’ll discover a museum, gift shop and views on the Champs-Élysées. The surrounding streets are particularly beautiful inside early evening in the event the city’s lights commence to sparkle.
It’s liberated to explore the base from the arch. Four massive pillars beneath an attic form a vaulted passageway so wide a pilot flew his plane through it in 1919. In 1920, one's body of an unknown soldier was buried here plus an eternal flame was incorporated 1923, in remembrance of people who died in World War I. The flame is rekindled within a daily ritual at 6:30 p.m.
The arch can be a memorial to all or any those who fought for France, but particularly those inside the Napoléonic wars. Its inner sides and top are engraved with all the details of various wars along with the 558 generals who fought in the individual. Each of its four pillars is decorated using a sculpture in relief. The most famous is Francois Rude’s The Departure with the Volunteers of 1792. It depicts everyday French people wanting to defend their country, lead from the allegorical figure of Liberty. This work so
encapsulated the patriotic zeal from the nation which it became called La Marseillaise, following national anthem. Napoléon I commissioned the arch after his victory at Austerlitz in 1806. He promised his army they can “return home through arches of triumph”, but died before his grand tribute was carried out in 1836.
The Arc de Triomphe is located inside the 16th arrondissement on Paris’ Right Bank. It’s open daily, but one on the best days with the year to travel to the arch is July 14th, Bastille Day. The Bastille Day parade follows the length from the Champs-Élysées as well as a huge flag billows in the arch’s crown setting up a colorful photo op. This monument is well accessible via bus, subway, railway or on foot. Driving is really a bit trickier, as parking can be tough to find.