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Arc de Triomphe (Paris, France)

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The Arc de Triomphe is a monument in Paris that stands in the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle, formerly the Place de l'Étoile, at the western end of the Champs-Élysées. It is the linchpin of the historic axis (L'Axe historique) leading from the courtyard of the Louvre Palace, a sequence of monuments and grand thoroughfares on a route leading out of Paris. The monument's iconographic program pitted heroically nude French youths against bearded Germanic warriors in chain mail and set the tone for public monuments with triumphant nationalistic messages until World War I. The monument stands over 51 meters (165 feet) in height and is 45 meters wide. It is the second largest triumphal arch in existence. Its design was inspired by the Roman Arch of Titus; The Arc de Triomphe is so colossal that an early daredevil flew his plane through it.

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      19.10.2009 21:44
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      Watch the traffic from the top!

      The Arc de Triomphe is one of the most recognised symbols of Paris.
      It stands at the end of one of the most well known streets in Paris - The Avenue des Champs Elysees.

      Despite having heard about it, I was still surprised by the amount of traffic hurtling down the road in both directions, and circling the Arc. There were cars and vans everywhere!

      The Acr itself appears to sit on a roundabout, tho obviously the roads were built around the arc. And let me tell you, the pic at the top doesn't do this building justice.

      Yes, I said building.

      Inside the arc is a museum. That should come as no surprise considering most of the buildings in Paris seem to house a museum! Anyway, my guidebook says you can also climb up to the top of the arc to get panoramic views of the surrounding area. And views you would certainly get if you make it up the stairs! The Arc is huge! And beautiful. The sculptures on the legs almost jump off and grab your eye.

      But regardless of it's looks, its still the traffic that stands out in my mind

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      30.09.2009 17:52
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      A must do whilst in the city of LOVE!

      History & Background
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      The Arc de Triomphe is located at the end of the Champs-Elysees in the Place Charles de Gaulle. It was designed in 1806 by architect Jean Chalgrin. It sits on a roundabout with 12 exits, like the centre of a clock face.

      The name gives away what the monument is, an arc. It stands over 51 metres in height and is 45 metres wide. It is a giant 3D rectangle with an arc carved out in the middle.

      The Arc de Triomphe is quite famous and recognised as one of France's most famous monuments; its purpose was to honour those who fought for France in any of the Napoleonic wars. It is also home to the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

      Today the Arc de Triomphe is recognised as an international tourist hot spot and somewhere to visit of national interest and historic meaning to the French people.


      Our Visit
      ~~~~~~~
      On my most recent trip to Paris we decided to go up the Arc de Triomphe, I have been to Paris many times and was never aware you could actually go up this monument. We usually focus on the Eiffel Tower which this time was temporarily closed. Due to the minimum amount of time we had, my friends and I decided to walk up the Champs-Elysees to the Arc.

      We realised walking towards it that we could indeed see people on top, so decided that we would choose this option to see Paris from above.

      Out of the 6 of us, there were 3 over 25's and 3 under. Me being one of the under 25's I was pleased as everywhere in Paris (and even the Eurostar) seems to operate a 'youth' option which is for those aged between 16-25. Great I fitted that bracket nicely. This leads us to cost.


      The Price
      ~~~~~~~
      Over 25's paid 9 Euro each, whilst us that were under the 25 divide paid nothing. Yes nothing. On the price list it said 6 Euro for under 25's and ID is required (passport is advised). But on passing over my passport and 6 Euro the nice gentlemen told me I was allowed to enter for free. At first I thought I was special but then realised my sister and our friend had also got in for free.

      I don't know if we had stumbled across a special occasion or if the price tiers change at the weekend but we didn't pay a penny, or should I say Euro.

      Children cost nothing also if they are under 16 and accompanied by a paying adult.

      You don't need to pay anything for access to the round about to walk around the site but the payment is for going in and up the Arc.


      Inside the Arc
      ~~~~~~~~~~
      You enter the Arc and immediately on your right have to present a ticket to the lady/man stuck in the tiny ticket booth that has obviously been added inside the doorway.

      You proceed to ascend the stair case which has 234 steps and no lift. It is a spiral and quite compact although not overly tight, I have been in smaller stair cases where I have wondered how anyone over my height has it. There was plenty of room for the 4 six foot men we were with.

      There are two floors open to the public and when you get up the first stair case you come out on to an open floor that is still inside the Arc. It is nice and cool in here and there are benches at the top of the stairs for those that need to catch their breath.

      On this first floor is information about the Arc and its history, there is also a computer and map with the other entire Arc's in the world on, you can click an Arc and it tells you all about it. This floor is more like a mini museum although it is very open and the toilets are here, there isn't much else.

      You can then go up some more stairs out on to the terrace, which is the roof. The rood is rectangle in shape and has a barrier/fence around the edge to stop anyone tempted to jump or push anyone. It feels safe and more open than the Eiffel Tower as there is nothing overhead.

      Although not as high as the Eiffel Tower it is still quite high and has fantastic views of Paris, the Seine is less visible than from the Eiffel Tower but it is great to get the Eiffel Tower in some pictures and in the view rather than looking from it.

      Around the edge of the building, by the fence is a platform, or to put it more clearly, the outside edge where you view from, is raised. This whole attraction doesn't suitable people that are in wheelchairs or have walking disabilities.


      Outside the Arc
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~
      The Arc is decorated in memory to the French soldiers who fought for France and died; it looks very much like a memorial with a lot of writing on the Arc itself. I know this is also the tomb of the Unknown Soldier and I think this is his grave beneath the Arc, this is sealed off, and there is a flame.

      The Arc is white and the writing is in a language that I am not sure of; I would say it is Latin or European but not French or English.

      The Arc is nice to look at and is a most eye catching piece of architecture; it does really grab your attention, even from half way down the Champs-Elysees.


      Overall
      ~~~~~~
      I really enjoyed visiting the Arc de Triomphe, it is something I think could be easily overlooked. I have been under the under pass to the roundabout underneath to the Arc but never up it and for free, I cannot argue the value for money it is. I think perhaps splitting the cost between two of you would make it more affordable at 4.5 Euro each but either way if you are under 25, 6 Euro is reasonable.

      It is something that once you have done it, you probably won't do it again but it is worth it, it is a great picture and I think a lot quieter at the top than the Eiffel Tower which always seems overcrowded.

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        05.03.2009 22:57
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        Famous landmak

        The Arc De Triomphe stands at one end of the Champs Elysees its stone legs splayed to form an arch as if it is ready to start strolling along the famous street in Paris. It was built initially to celebrate the return of the armies of Napoleon but by the time it was finished he was long gone and instead it exists to remember and celebrate the French army in general.

        It is an impressive sight located in the middle of one of the busiest and most chaotic traffic islands I have ever seen. Thankfully you do not have to brave the traffic instead there is a walk way under the road to gain access to the Arc. It is a long climb of about 300 steps to the top but it is worth it as you et a great view of the Champs Elysees and you can see the distant buildings of La Defense and will set you back about 9 euro if I remember right. It is worth it as the views are great and there is a small historical museum at the top as well.

        It is well wrth a visit and provides some good photo opportunities and the whole thing can be seen in about an hour tops, plenty of time to go and splash the cash in the expensive shops in the local area.

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          22.02.2008 17:08
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          must to visit if you have plenty of dosh

          The Arc de Triomphe is definatly one piece of architecture in Paris that you must see. Located at the end of the champs elysees with dimensions of 165ft (51m) high - 148ft (45) wide,it is definately very impressive looking, especially at night.
          There is a museum inside the arc de triomphe and from here you get a beautiful view of paris - showing you along the twelve streets.
          History-The Arc de Triomphe was commissioned in 1806 by Napoleon to mark his victory at the battle of Austerlitz. In this battle he fought against the Russian and Austria army (they were joined together) and he put an end to the third colation ( union between Russia and Austria). The design was based on the arch of titus in Rome and the architect was jean frances chalgrin He died in 1811 and after Napolean was exilled work on the Arc De Triomphe was stopped in 1814. The Work was not completed until 1836


          this review might also appear on toluna/ciao.

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            29.01.2007 15:21
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            Leave time to see the Arc de Triomphe

            The Arc de Triomphe is unmistakably one of the world's most famous landmarks and should not be missed by anyone visiting Paris. The Arc has a viewing platform, although the entrance fee is rather steep at 7 Euros for adults. The arc's location is smack dab in the middle of the world's largest (and craziest!) traffic circle. You'll be surprised at how fun it is to watch cars weave in and out of this driver's nightmare.

            The arc was commissioned by Napolean in 1806, but was only finished in the 1830s. An unknown soldier is buried beneath it.

            The metro stop for the Arc de Triomphe is Charles de Gaulle-Étoile.

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              14.03.2005 16:49
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              In the first rush of love my fiancé and I decided to take a few days off and go away somewhere, a very Bridget Jones mini-break scenario! After looking at a few cities that we thought we would like to visit we decided on Paris. Paris is traditionally known as the city of romance and it did not disappoint. However this review is about the Arc de Triomphe, so I will stop rambling now.

              The Arc de Triomphe was commissioned by Napoleon in 1806 after his victory in Austerlitz, regarded as his greatest victory of all time and destroyed the armies of enemies Russia and Austria. The arc was not finished until 1836, after Napoleon’s reign had finished and indeed after his death in 1821. The structure was designed by Jean François Thérèse Chalgrin and completed during the reign of Louis Philippe.

              The Arc de Triomphe stands at around 50 metres and offers a good view across Paris in all directions. Accessing the Arc de Triomphe is easy and you can get there by the Metro (routes 1, 2, 6), RER (line 1) or bus 73. Once you get off the public transport do not stay for long up top. DO NOT try to cross the road! The safest way of getting to the actual Arc is through the subway found on the north of the Champs Elysés. You will find a ticket office in the subway also where you can buy a ticket for inside the Arc.

              Tickets cost around €8 which roughly converts to £5.50 (think I did that right) and for that you get the chance to clamber up about 300 steps on a very narrow staircase; you also get to go in a small museum in the attic of the arc. To be fair I wasn’t much interested in this and didn’t pay any attention whatsoever to this section, my legs were aching from having to climb so many steps and I was struggling to breathe! The museum details the history of the Arc, but really is very small (well how much do think you could fit in the attic of an archway?) Onwards and upwards and you finally reach the outside again and you are actually quite high above the city. This is because the Arc de Triomphe stands atop a hill from which 12 avenues radiate in a star shape. Probably the most famous of which is the Champs Elysées which runs towards Place de la Concorde.

              The views are really good from this point and even a person with vertigo (my other half) felt safe due to the massive fences designed to keep you from falling off. Looking towards the Eiffel Tower you can really gauge the height of the Arc, as it seems to be sunken. Around the perimeter of the arc you will find the usual tourist boards which allow you to identify what you should be able to see in the distance and these are quite useful if you are not familiar with the Paris skyline.

              Anyway, you have taken in the view, what next? Well what I found most entertaining was watching the traffic around the road island. Some of you may have seen Britain’s Worst Driver on the TV a while back. The finale was to drive around the Arc de Triomphe in rush hour traffic. How any of the drivers came back in one piece I do not know. It is crazy madness! Basically the French follow the rule on this island that traffic on the island must give way to traffic wanting to come onto the island, easy enough I here you say, well hold that thought then remember that there are 12 roads radiating from the Arc de Triomphe and therefore 12 entrances onto the island. Recipe for disaster I hear you mutter. Well you’d think so, but in the hour or so we spent looking at the traffic we saw not one minor scrape or major prang. Scooters, cars and vans all got on with each other surprisingly well except for the odd (for odd read almost constant) hoot of the horn. It’s just so much fun.

              On a serious not I would take some water with you for the trek up the steps as it can be thirsty work and there were no water facilities when I went.

              All in all, for a great view of Paris I would rather go to the top of the Arc de Triomphe than get crammed in a lift to go up the Eiffel Tower, well worth a visit.

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                10.07.2002 14:59
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                The Arc de Triomphe stands at the end of the Champs Elysees in Paris. It stands at the junction of twelve roads (including the Avenue Foch and the Avenue de la Grande Armee) and can be seen as an imposing sight from a long distance down each. Napoleon decided to have it built in 1806, although he never saw it completed (it was completed in 1836). Napoleon?s plans were primarily to use it as a triumphal arch but he also wanted to use it during his wedding ceremony, when he was forced to divorce Josephine and remarry, as his true love could not provide him with an heir. The fact that the arch was not actually built did not deter him and he instructed the architect to knock up a mock arch for the day. One cannot imagine how realistic this would have been and images of a rather fake two-dimensional cardboard cut-out spring to mind! The arch also provides a memorial to all those who died in the First World War and beneath the arch lies the grave of the unknown soldier and a permanently burning flame of remembrance. Each day at 6.30 pm a ceremony is performed in remembrance of the dead, a band plays and flowers are laid. One of the most impressive aspects of the arch is its sheer enormity of size. It stands like a gargantuan giant looming over Paris. You can take the numerous steps up to the top, from where the views are quite spectacular. You can see the twelve roads stretching out below you and the road surface is painted differing colours of black and burgundy, so that a twelve pointed star is formed, indicating each route from the arch. Although the colours can be seen from the ground, it is only once elevated that its true form becomes clear. The most entertaining aspect of the arch does not involve its history, its commemorative value or its architectural significance. The arch forms a sort of giant roundabout, which is used by traffic joining from the twelve surrounding roads. Unlike a British roundabout there are no l
                anes marked out with neat white lines but instead the six-a-side car width road is left au naturelle, so that cars upon it must fight for position. The rules (and I use the word in its loosest possible sense) of the road state that traffic already on the roundabout must give way to traffic joining, which is obviously the complete opposite to our highway code. So, picture if you will lunatic French drivers, whizzing onto the roundabout without slowing down, six-a-breast, honking their horns and showing the usual continental laissez faire attitude to life. The result is absolute chaos and is well worth sitting down and watching. French insurance companies became so frustrated with dealing with claims involving accidents that occurred near the arch that they have now agreed a knock for knock policy with each other. I urge you, if you visit Paris, to take ten minutes or so (in my case, dare I admit it, 90 minutes) to sit and watch the traffic. It was certainly my favourite excursion while in the city! See if you can beat my record; set yourself a 60 second time limit and see how many cars you can count that proudly sport dents in their bodywork. 11 is the target to beat. The next time you find yourself in the beautiful city of Paris, forget the Louvre, the Sacre Coeur, Notre Dame and other such tourist attractions and head straight for the site of traffic mayhem that is the Arc de Triomphe.

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                  23.02.2001 06:31
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                  Arc de Triomphe (The arch of Triumph!) Positioned at the end of the Champs-Elysees, which is at the top of Chaillot Hill, is the large Place de Gaulle roundabout. A roundabout which has about 15 + lanes of traffic and works on the “Priorite a droite” system which in English means give way to traffic on your right. So in the case of the roundabout surrounding the Arc de Triomphe those coming on to the roundabout have priority over those already on the roundabout. Now you have the Arc de Triomphe in the centre of the roundabout and fortunately it can be accessed by a sub-way, I think the death rate would be high if you had to cross that roundabout !! :-) !!! The Arc de Triomphe itself, was begun by Chalgrin in 1806 under Napoloeon, who ordered it to be built as a memorial to the Great Army. It was completed in 1836. It is a magnificent piece of architecture and really is a great memorial for all who lost their lives during the war. If you climb to the top of the Arc de Triomphe you can look out towards the Tour Eiffel and straight down the Champs-Elysees with it many shops. But the best part has to be looking downwards onto the roundabout, as you look down on the roundabout you can see the true chaos below caused not only by the size of the roundabout but also the “Priorite a droite” rule which I explained above. It makes you wonder how there ain’t any crashes because all you see is cars everywhere in all directions a definite for photographs to scare friends with when you return home. The museum inside the Arc de Triomphe is very informative and worth looking at. Overall it’s something NOT to be missed!

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                    07.08.2000 21:32

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                    If going to Paris this is a must situated at pl Charles de Gaulle, the nearest metro station is Charles de Gaulle-Etoile. The arc stands at 50m high and most french celebrations start from this point. The arc as lots of features on it including the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier where an unknown french soldier from World war 1 is buried there. It also as thirty shields just below the arcs roof which bear the name of a victoriuos Napoleonic battle fought in either Europe or Africa. A must is to go to the viewing platform at the top of the arc which gives one of the best views in Paris and impressive view of Place Charled de Gaulle which has twelve avenues going of from it, most of which are named after French military leaders. A fitting memorial to lots of France's history.

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                    12.07.2000 15:09
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                    The Arc de Triomphe stands majestically at the end of the Champs Elysees and with a view down to the Place de la Concorde in one direction and beyond Montparnasse to La Defense in the other. It stands in the centre of a number of avenues at a place appropriately called "l'Etoile" (star) You walk under the roads around the Arc de Triomphe to get to it, and the subways here are quite unlike any I've seen elsewhere and are apparently made of marble! Surface at the monument and either stand back to get your photos or go under the giant arch to see the tomb of the unknown soldier with its' flickering eternal flame. We were lucky enough ,last time we visited, to be able to watch a ceremony here, but if this happens to you be aware that french crowd control (the police!) is not the gentle art it might be, even where children are concerned. After this experience we appreciated the attitude of police in our own country, which although we might criticise, starts from a point more generally respectful of the people they are working with. You can climb the Arc de Triomphe, but this is something I have never done, despite having lived in Paris. I think it is relatively expensive and that you're likely to find queues as in most places like this. La Defense now apparently has an even more giant archway (everything in la defense is huge)which mirrors its more famous older sibling. If you get the chance, go see la defense - it's a fascinating place of skyscapers and mirror glass and sculptures. We didn't manage to get there on our last visit to Paris, although I went when it was being built some 20 yrs ago and loved it. The giant arch is a much newer addition. If you can, go see it as well as the much more famous Arc de Triomphe.

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                    ""The Arc de Triomphe is a monument in Paris that stands in the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle, formerly the Place de l'Étoile, at the western end of the Champs-Élysées. It is the linchpin of the historic axis (L'Axe historique) leading from the courtyard of the Louvre Palace, a sequence of monuments and grand thoroughfares on a route leading out of Paris. The monument's iconographic program pitted heroically nude French youths against bearded Germanic warriors in chain mail and set the tone for public monuments with triumphant nationalistic messages until World War I. The monument stands over 51 meters (165 feet) in height and is 45 meters wide. It is the second largest triumphal arch in existence. Its design was inspired by the Roman Arch of Titus; The Arc de Triomphe is so colossal that an early daredevil flew his plane through it.""