Program - Sightseeing - Paris - France
Arc de Triomphe, The Massive Triumphal Arch in Paris

Arc de Triomphe is one of the world’s best-known commemorative monuments

Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile, massive triumphal arch in Paris, France, one of the world’s best-known commemorative monuments. It stands at the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle (formerly called the Place de l’Étoile), the western terminus of the avenue des Champs-Élysées; just over 1.2 miles (2 km) away, at the eastern terminus, is the Place de la Concorde. Napoleon I commissioned the triumphal arch in 1806—after his great victory at the Battle of Austerlitz (1805)—to celebrate the military achievements of the French armies.

Construction of the arch began in 1806, on August 15, Napoleon’s birthday. Little more than the foundation had been completed by the time of his marriage to the Austrian archduchess Marie-Louise in 1810, so, in honour of her ceremonial entry into Paris, a full-scale depiction of the completed design, created from wood and painted canvas, was erected at the site. At the time of his death in 1811, only a small portion of the structure had been completed, and work slowed further after Napoleon’s abdication as emperor and the Bourbon Restoration (1814).

Situated at the Place de l’Etoile, overlooking the Champs-Elysées, the Arc de Triomphe is the biggest arch in the world. From the top of the monument, visitors benefit from a panoramic view of Paris, during the day and at night, and two viewpoint indicators . A museum retracing the history of the Arc de Triomphe, situated within the structure, completes the visit.