Wednesday, March 31, 2010

France's Arc de Triomphe

Although one of France's greatest arches is known as L'Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile, it is normally known as just the Arc de Triomphe. In 1806, Napolean I of France commissioned Jean-François-Thérèse Chalgrin to build an arc to commemorate the battles of defense fought by the French Republic. When Napoleon I was exiled to Saint Helena in 1815, the construction of the arc was stopped, but when the July Revolution of 1830 brought Louis-Philippe into power, construction was resumed. The Arc now records the names of battles and generals of the French Republic and houses the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where an eternal flame commemorates those who died at war. The Arc is also in the center of the Place Charles de Gaulle, a round-about that merges six roads of Paris, including the Champs Élysées, one of the largest roads in Paris. When Napoleon's ashes were brought back to France in 1840, they were carried through the Arc de Triomphe in a procession. You can now go to the top of the arc to get a view of the city, but there are now elevators and the spiral staircases are longer than one would expect.

Information From...
The World's Greatest Buildings
Consultant Editor: Trevor Howells