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Arc de Triomphe

The Arc de Triomphe at night

Place Charles de Gaulle The Arc de Triomphe is a monument in Paris that stands in the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle, (also known as the Place de l'toile), at the western end of the Champs-lyses. [1] Officially, it is the Arc de Triomphe de l'toile, as the smaller Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel exists nearby. The triumphal arch honours those who fought for France, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars. On the inside and the top of the arc there are all of the names of generals and wars fought. Underneath is the tomb of the unknown soldier from World War I. The Arc is the linchpin of the historic axis (Axe historique) a sequence of monuments and grand thoroughfares on a route which goes from the courtyard of the Louvre Palace, to the Arche de la Dfense. The monument was designed by Jean Chalgrin in 1806, and its

iconographic program pitted heroically nude French youths against bearded Germanic warriors in chain mail. It set the tone for public monuments, with triumphant patriotic messages, until World War I. The monument stands 50 m (160 ft) in height, 45 m (148 ft) wide and 22 m (72 ft) deep. The large vault is -29.19 m (95.8 ft) high and 14.62 m (48.0 ft) wide. The small vault is 18.68 m (61.3 ft) high and 8.44 m (27.7 ft) wide. It is the second largest triumphal arch in existence.[2] Its design was inspired by the Roman Arch of Titus. The Arc de Triomphe is so colossal that three weeks after the Paris victory parade in 1919, marking the end of hostilities in World War I, Charles Godefroy flew his Nieuport biplane through it, with the event captured on newsreel.[3][4][5]


1 History 2 The design 3 The Unknown Soldier 4 Details 5 Access 6 See also 7 References 8 External links

[edit] History

There was a pre-Napoleonic (1758) proposal by Charles Ribart for an elephant-shaped building on the location of the current arch.

Avenues radiate from the Arc de Triomphe in Place de l'toile.

The Arc de Triomphe from the Place Charles de Gaulle It is located on the right bank of the Seine River. It forms the backdrop for an impressive urban ensemble in Paris. The monument surmounts the hill of Chaillot at the center of a pentagon-shaped configuration of radiating avenues. It was commissioned in 1806 after the victory at Austerlitz by Emperor Napoleon at the peak of his fortunes. Laying the foundations alone took two years, and in 1810 when Napoleon entered Paris from the west with his bride Archduchess Marie-Louise of Austria, he had a wooden mock-up of the completed arch constructed. The architect Jean Chalgrin died in 1811, and the work was taken over by Jean-Nicolas Huyot. During the Bourbon Restoration, construction was halted and it would not be completed until the reign of King Louis-Philippe, in 183336 when the architects on site were Goust, then Huyot, under the direction of Hricart de Thury. Napoleon's body passed under it on 15 December 1840 on its way to its second and final resting place at the Invalides.[6] The body of Victor Hugo was exposed under the Arch during the night of the 22 May 1885, prior to burial in the Panthon. The sword carried by the Republic in the Marseillaise relief broke off on the day, it is said, that the Battle of Verdun began in 1916. The relief was immediately hidden by tarpaulins to conceal the accident and avoid any undesired ominous interpretations[citation needed].

On August 7, 1919, Charles Godefroy successfully flew his biplane under the Arch [7] . Jean Navarre was the pilot who was tasked to make the flight, but he died on July 10 the same year when he crashed near Villacoublay while training for the flight. Following its construction, the Arc de Triomphe became the rallying point of French troops parading after successful military campaigns and for the annual Bastille Day Military Parade. Famous victory marches around or under the Arc have included the Germans in 1871, the French in 1919, the Germans in 1940,[8] and the French and Allies in 1944[9] and 1945. A United States postage stamp from 1945 shows the Arc in the background as victorious American troops march down the Champs-lyses and U.S. airplanes fly overhead.

Charles Godefroy The flight through the Arc de Triomphe By the early 1960s, the monument had grown very blackened from coal soot and automobile exhaust, and during 19651966, it was thoroughly cleaned through bleaching. By 2007, some darkening was again apparent. The arc is planned to be bleached again in 2011.[citation needed] In the prolongation of the Avenue des Champs-lyses, a new Arch was built in 1982, completing the line of monuments that forms the Axe historique running through Paris. With the Arc de triomphe du Carrousel and the Arc de Triomphe de l'toile, the Arc de la dfense is the third Arch built on the same perspective.

[edit] The design

The Arc de Triomphe is located on the historical axis of Paris (Axe historique), a large perspective that runs from the Louvre to the Arche de la dfense. The astylar design is by Jean Chalgrin (17391811), in the Neoclassical version of ancient Roman architecture (see, for example, the triumphal Arch of Titus). Major academic sculptors of France are represented in the sculpture of the Arc de Triomphe: Jean-Pierre Cortot; Franois Rude; Antoine tex; James Pradier and Philippe Joseph Henri Lemaire. The main sculptures are not integral friezes but are treated as independent trophies applied to the vast ashlar masonry masses, not unlike the gilt-bronze appliqus on Empire furniture. The four sculptural groups at the base of the Arc are The Triumph of 1810 (Cortot), Resistance and Peace (both by Antoine tex) and the most renowned of them all, Departure of the Volunteers of 1792 commonly called La Marseillaise (Franois Rude). The face of the allegorical representation of France calling forth her people on this last was used as the belt buckle for the honorary rank of Marshal of France. Since the fall of Napoleon (1815), the sculpture representing Peace is interpreted as commemorating the Peace of 1815. In the attic above the richly sculptured frieze of soldiers are 30 shields engraved with the names of major Revolutionary and Napoleonic military victories. (The Battle of Fuentes de Onoro is described as a French victory, instead of the tactical draw). The inside walls of the monument list the names of 660 persons, among which 558 French generals of the First French Empire;[10] the names of those who died in battle are underlined. Also inscribed, on the shorter sides of the four supporting columns, are the names of the major victorious battles of the Napoleonic Wars. The battles which took place in the period between the departure of Napoleon from Elba to his final defeat at Waterloo are not included. There was at the top of the Arc from 1882 to 1886, a monumental sculpture of Alexandre Falguire, "Le triomphe de la Rvolution" (the Triumph of the Revolution), a chariot drawn

by horses preparing "to crush Anarchy and Despotism", that remained only four years up there before falling in ruins. Inside the monument openned in februray 2007, between War and Peace, the new permanent exhibition conceived by the artist Maurice Benayoun and the architect Christophe Girault. The steel and new media installation interrogates the symbolic of the national monument questioning the balance of its symbolic message during the last two centuries, oscillating between war and peace.

[edit] The Unknown Soldier

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier beneath the Arc de Triomphe, Paris Beneath the Arc is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from the First World War. Interred here on Armistice Day 1920, it has the first eternal flame lit in Western and Eastern Europe since the Vestal Virgins' fire was extinguished in the year 394. It burns in memory of the dead who were never identified (now in both World Wars). The French model inspired the United Kingdom's tomb of The Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey. A ceremony is held there every 11 November on the anniversary of the armistice signed between France and Germany in 1918. It was originally decided on 12 November 1919 to bury the unknown soldier's remains in the Panthon, but a public letter-writing campaign led to the decision to bury him beneath the Arc de Triomphe. The coffin was put in the chapel on the first floor of the Arc on 10 November 1920, and put in its final resting place on 28 January 1921. The slab on top carries the inscription ICI REPOSE UN SOLDAT FRANAIS MORT POUR LA PATRIE 19141918 ("Here lies a French soldier who died for the fatherland 1914 1918"). In 1961, President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy of the United States paid their respects at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, accompanied by French President de Gaulle. After the 1963 assassination of President Kennedy, Mrs. Kennedy remembered the eternal flame at the Arc de Triomphe and requested that an eternal flame be placed next to her husband's grave at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. President de Gaulle went to Washington to attend the state funeral, and witness Jacqueline Kennedy lighting the eternal flame that was inspired by her visit to France.

[edit] Details

The four main sculptures of the monument are

Le Dpart de 1792 (or La Marseillaise), by Franois Rude Le Triomphe de 1810, by Jean-Pierre Cortot La Rsistance de 1814, by Antoine tex La Paix de 1815, by Antoine tex

Le Dpart de 1792 Le Triomphe de 1810 La Rsistance de 1814 La Paix de 1815 (La Marseillaise)

Six reliefs sculpted on the faades of the Arch, representing important moments of the French Revolution and of the Napoleonic era include Les funrailles du gnral Marceau (General Marceau's burrial), by P. H. Lamaire (SOUTH faade, right), La bataille d'Aboukir (The Battle of Aboukir), by Seurre an (SOUTH faade, left), La bataille de Jemappes (The Battle of Jemappes), by Carlo Marochetti (EAST faade), Le passage du pont d'Arcole (The Battle of Arcole), by J. J. Feuchre (NORTH faade, right), La prise d'Alexandrie, (The Fall of Alexandria), by J. E. Chaponnire (NORTH faade, left), La bataille d'Austerlitz (The Battle of Austerlitz), by J. F. T. Gechter (WEST faade),

Les funrailles du gnral Marceau, 20 september 1796

La bataille d'Aboukir, 25 jully 1799

La bataille de Jemmappes, 6 november 1792

Le passage du pont d'Arcole, 15 november 1796

La bataille d'Austerlitz, 2 La prise d'Alexandrie, december 1805 3 jully 1798

Some great battles of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars are engraved on the attic, including

A list of French victories are engraved under the great arches in the inside faades of the monument.

On the inside faades of the small arches are engraved the names of the military leaders of the French Revolution and Empire. The name of the personnalities who died on the battlefield are underlined.

NORTH pillar

SOUTH pillar

EAST pillar

WEST pillar

The great arcades are decorated by allegorical figures representing characters of the Roman mythology (by J. Pradier).

[edit] Access
Pedestrian access to the Arc de Triomphe is via an underpass, visitors are not permitted to cross by road which has a heavy police presence. The Arc has one lift (elevator), to the level underneath the exterior observation level. Visitors can either climb 284 steps to reach the top (or attic) of the Arc which contains information and large models of the Arc and also contains a giftshop. Visitors can also take the lift and walk up 46 steps.[11] From the top there is a panoramic view of Paris, of the twelve major avenues leading to the Place de l'toile and of the exceptionally busy roundabout in which the Arc stands. The Arc de Triomphe is accessible by the RER and Mtro at the Charles de GaulleEtoile stop.

Paris seen from the top of the Arch of Triumph