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Chen 1 Peter Chen Professor Hugh Goforth Western Culture & Thought April 10, 2013 Arc de Triomphe

The Arc de Triomphe is an iconic figure that stands in the heart of the Place Charles de Gaulle in Paris. To the general public, this great landmark is just an arch that lies in the middle of a strange dodecagonal street layout, but in actuality it is a great monument and till this day is still considered one of the most famous structures in the world. The conception of this building began in the mid 1806 under Napoleon's orders shortly after his victory at Austerlitz. Unfortunately he never lived long enough to see its completion in the mid-1836. The structure stands today as a welcomed monstrosity in Paris and towers all the traffic and people to crowd the area that pass by. At about 164 feet high and 148 feet wide it is the second largest arch in existence today and the arc also stands in the middle of arguably one of the most congested traffic circles in the world. This traffic circle is the basin that catches all the incoming traffic from 12 busy roads thus giving it the shape of a dodecahedron. Roughly 1.7 million people visit the Arc de Triomphe annually although millions see it while driving or passing by it. Construction of the Arc de Triomphe was continuously halted and commenced and a slue of Architectures and Artists have affected its construction. A astronomical grand total of

approximately 9.3 million Francs was spent of this monument that stands as a remembrance of all the soldiers during the World War. If you were to visit the arch today, you will be able to see Chen 2 the names of 558 generals and also the names of each one of Napoleons 30 victories. The four supporting columns of the arch supports state the names of major battles of the Napoleonic Wars. Each one of the four pillars that make up the arch presents 4 different sculptures created by 4 separate teams of sculptors. They are named La Marseillaise (de 1794, Le Triomphe (de 1810), La Resistance (de 1816), and La Paix (de 1815). Directly beneath the arch lies a grave of the Unknown Soldier who was cremated and represents the 1.5 million French soldiers who lost their lives in the world war. There is an inscription on the tomb of the unknown soldier that reads: Ici Repose un Soldat Franais Mort pour La Patrie 1914-1918, which means "Here lies a French soldier who died for his fatherland 1914-1918". Presently the Arc de Triomphe can be seen all throughout media from populars magazines to shows. I recall an episode of the worldwide popular show, Top Gear: UK in which drive all the way to Paris to visit the Arc de Triomphe. As a tourist a free visitation can be achieved by traveling there and a small fee can be paid to visit the top of the monument to get a great view of the city. The Arc de Triomphe is an important reminder of French history and stands as a way to honor Napoleon and all the fallen soldiers who fought for France. A visitation to this monument is extremely worthwhile and the preservation of this landmark is essential to the history of France.

Chen 3 Work Cited 1. " Arc De Triomphe - Paris - France." Arc De Triomphe. Paris Tourism, n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2013. 2. Conradt, Stacy. "The Quick 10: The Arc De Triomphe." Mental Floss. N.p., 28 Jan. 2009. Web. 13 Apr. 2013. 3. Naik, Abhijit. "Facts about Arc De Triomphe." Facts about Arc De Triomphe. Buzzle, n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2013. 4. Tina. "Arc De Triomphe De Ltoile Paris Monument." European Trips. European Travels, 12 Jan. 2013. Web. 16 Apr. 2013.

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