The Arc de Triomphe is a well-known monument in Paris, France. The French Emperor Napoleon ordered its construction in 1806 to honor the French army, the Grande Armee. After conquering most of Europe and winning the Battle of Austerlitz in 1805, the French army was thought to be invincible. Napoleon told his troops that they would return home via arcs symbolizing their victories. Despite the fact that construction began in 1806 and was not completed until 1836, 15 years after Napoleon’s death. In 1840, his body was carried through the Arc de Triomphe on its way to his final resting place.
The Arc de Triomphe cost 9.3 million francs to build at the time, which was a large sum at the time.
Jean Chalgrin, who died in 1811 before the Arch de Triomphe was completed, and Jean-Nicolas Huyot, who took over when Jean Chalgrin died, were among the architects.
Although Napoleon never saw the finished monument, he had a wooden model built so that he could ride through it on his way back to Paris with his new wife, Archduchess Marie-Louise of Austria, in 1810.
The Arc de Triomphe stands at the crossroads of 12 avenues that radiate outward.
The Arc de Triomphe is 162 feet tall, 150 feet wide, and 72 feet deep. The vault measures 95.8 feet high and 48 feet wide. The smaller vault has a height of 61.3 feet and a width of 27.7 feet.
The Arc de Triomphe was the largest triumphal arch in the world until 1982, standing 162 feet tall and 150 feet wide. To compete, North Korea built a slightly larger version in 1982.
After World War I, Charles Godefroy flew his fighter plane through the Arc de Triomphe in honor of the airmen who died in the conflict.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in France is located beneath the Arc de Triomphe. On November 10, 1920, it was placed there with the inscription, “Here lies a French soldier who died for his fatherland 1914-1918.”
In 1916, the Arc de Triomphe relief in Marseille was damaged. The warrior in the relief representing France was depicted with a sword that snapped on the same day that the Battle of Verdun began. Tarps were used to cover the relief so that citizens didn’t see it and think it was a bad omen. More than 250 million French people died in the Battle of Verdun, and nine villages were destroyed.
At the Arc de Triomphe, two unsuccessful assassination attempts were made against Charles De Gaulle and Jacques Chirac. Both men lived.
Although the Arc de Triomphe is a symbol of France’s victories, it has been desecrated on two occasions by enemy armies marching beneath it, by the Germans in 1871 and the Nazis in WWII.
Since November 11th, 1923, a memorial flame has been burning nonstop at the Arc de Triomphe.
Following wars, the French have staged famous victory marches. They marched after WWI in 1919, and with the Allies in 1944 and 1945.