Sitting apparently unattainable in the middle of one of Paris’ biggest traffic islands, the Arc de Triomphe doesn’t sound glamorous on paper. But go there and you’ll instantly be blown away.
Honouring soldiers who have given their lives fighting for France, and with the tomb of the unknown soldier (from WWI) at its base, the Arc de Triomphe took thirty years to finish (just laying the foundations took a couple, and work was also suspended for a while). Napoleon - who commissioned it - only just lived to see it completed. At nearly fifty metres high and large enough to fly a biplane through (true!) it’s understandable that they took a while…
The Arc de Triomphe stands in the middle of an important geographical axis that runs through Paris, symbolising the link between the old and the new. From the Louvre to the Tuileries Gardens, across the Place de la Concorde and up the Champs Elysées, it looks directly down the most beautiful avenue in the world on one side, and continues on the other past the Palais des Congrès, over the Seine and on to the business area of La Défense just outside the city.
Thinking of visiting? Beware if you don’t like steps; there are 284 to get to the top, and the only lift is reserved for the handicapped. Getting there is worth it though; on a clear day, few other sights will give you such a striking and central view over the city.
Once you arrive in Paris, stop by the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau for tourist information about the city (museums, events, attractions....). You can also book your hotel and plan daytrips, an evening at a Cabaret, or a trip to the amusement park. Paris Visite cards and other museum passes are also available for sale.
25 rue des Pyramides 75001 Paris
Open every day from 9am to 7pm
Metro : Pyramides, Opera, Palais Royal