We didn’t make it to the Arc de Triomphe during our first trip to Paris, but we made a point of visiting it during our second trip. It was cold and rainy, but that didn’t deter us from going to the top of the Arc and getting views of the city. In addition to the famous Champs-Elysees, there are another 11 avenues that all stretch to and from the Arc de Triomphe. The full name of the Arc is the Arc de Triomphe de l’Etoile, which translates to Triumphant Arch of the Star. The star refers to the shape that is made by the twelve radiating avenues that look like rays of light emanating from the Arc.
The Arc de Triomphe was originally commissioned by Napoleon in 1806, but it wasn’t completed until 1836 and Napoleon never actually saw the completed project. The monument was erected to honor the French people that fought and died in the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. The names of all of the French generals and victories are inscribed on the inner and outer walls. There is also the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I and an eternal flame located at the arc.
Seeing the Arc de Triomphe is definitely fascinating, but going to the terrace at the top and seeing the city of Paris and the Eiffel Tower is probably the highlight of going to the Arc. You can definitely expect it to be crowded and only a limited number of people are able to go to the terrace at any given time. The Arc de Triomphe should certainly be on your itinerary if you visit Paris and we are glad that we got the opportunity to see it since we missed it on our first trip.