"Arc de Triomphe de l'Etoile" Arc de Triomphe Tip by goodfish

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If you are doing the L'Axe Historique walk mentioned in my previous review, you'll run smack into this one. Arc de Triomphe de l'Etoile was one of Napoleon's additions to the axis and commemorates those who gave life and limb in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. It's the second-largest triumphal arch in the world (the largest is in North Korea) and anchors the middle of a star (etoile) of 12 avenues that radiate out from the center of Place Charles-de-Gaulle Etoile. The funeral procession for the Emperor himself passed beneath its arms, and the remains of French literary hero, Victor Hugo, rested here before his interment in the Pantheon. Today the arc embraces France's Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier and Eternal Flame. It is the beginning point of the annual Bastille Day parade, and finish line for the Tour de France.

On top of the arc is a viewing platform that provides wonderful views of Champs Elysées and other avenues stretching away from the your perch high above the center of the square. You have to climb 284 steps to get there but the reward outweighs the effort!

As this is one of the few attractions in Paris that is open late into the evening, it's a great one for visiting when other museums and churches have closed for the day. We unfortunately did our climb on a drizzly morning and didn't make it back for a nighttime perspective but c'est la vie: next trip!

Entrance to the arc is included in the Paris Museum Pass, otherwise reference this website for hours, closings and entrance fees:

http://arc-de-triomphe.monuments-nationaux.fr/

And here is some nice background (don't use for entry fees/hours):

http://www.arcdetriompheparis.com/

Fun fact: In 1919, one daring (or crazy) Charles Godefroy flew his biplane under the Arc.

Be aware: do NOT try to cross the traffic roundabout unless you have a death wish. Reach the thing in one piece via underground tunnel; there is one on the north side of the Champs Elysées and another on north side of Avenue de la Grande Armee. The Arc has an elevator for elderly or physically challenged visitors but it was out of service when we were there, and it accesses only the museum level. You must be able to climb a flight of 40 or so steps to the top viewing platform. Pedestrian tunnels reaching the arc also involve a fair amount of steps.

Address: Place Charles-de-Gaulle Etoile, 75008
Directions: Metro Line 1, 2, RER A : Charles-de-Gaulle Etoile
Website: http://arc-de-triomphe.monuments-nationaux.fr/

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Apr 2, 2013
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