Fooled you, furrylittlegnome friends! From the title of this post, gnome suspects most of you had the Eiffel Tower in mind, and while the Tour Eiffel does boast some terrific views, there is another landmark in Paris that rivals it: the Arc de Triomphe!
At the opposite end of the Champs-Elysees from Le Louvre, standing 164 feet tall and made of marble stands the Arc de Triomphe – a memorial dedicated to the soldiers who fought and died in two wars: the French Revolution (1792 – 1802) and the Napoleonic War (1803 – 1815). Commissioned by Napoleon and designed by French architect, Jean Chalgrin, construction began in 1806 and took thirty years to complete – due to political reasons (Napoleon was defeated by General Wellington at Waterloo).
The walls of the Arc de Triomphe are inscribed with the names of France’s military might during the wars.
At the base of the Arc de Triomphe is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier – complete with an eternal flame. Every November 11th, Armistice Day, there is a ceremony commemorating those who gave their lives for the country. The first observance was for a soldier from World War I that took place in 1920.
While there is a lift to take one to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, staff encourage its use for those who really need it. Getting down? Visitors walk the 284 steps back to street level (and into, yet, another souvenir shop).
Enjoy the view!