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France, Paris XXII: Arc de Triomphe – Eternal Tribute

Published: 22.10.2014
Again, we woke up to a beautiful sunny morning in Paris. We set off to one of the most famous boulevards in Paris or maybe the world right after the breakfast in hotel. We went to Champs – Élysées. Our goal was clear – shopping!

We wanted to spend a day in Paris little different after seeing the Eiffel Tower and its surroundings. Our goal was to enjoy the city as true inhabitants of Paris. So we hit the street that combines beauty of architecture and world’s best brands. As the beginning we chose the second most photographed sight in the world – Arc de Triomphe.
Vítězný oblouk (Arc de Triomphe)

The way of victory

Arc de Triomphe is somewhat of a symbol of military victories. It represents honor to those who fought for their country. Such buildings were built already during the Roman times. The arc in Paris is, however, the result of Napoleon’s wish. Napoleon was the man who ordered to build arc celebrating his victories. It was on the basis of arch of Titus in Rome yet it had to be three times larger to impress the world. Then, the Frenc general probably did not know that it would take another thirty years to complete. The irony was that Napoleon lost his status and the royal family got back on the throne. Fortunately, Louis Philippe II did not oppose the general so he allowed to finish Arc de Triomphe.
Vítězný oblouk (Arc de Triomphe) – detail Vítězný oblouk (Arc de Triomphe) – detail

As we approached Arch de Triopmhe we started to worry how to cross the largest unmarked roundabout in the world. Dozens upon dozens cars, buses rushed into twelve avenues. The roundabout is in the middle of Charles de Gaulle square (sometimes referred to as l'Étoile). We did nto even notice the square as we were afraid of crossing the street towards the neoclassical arch. We followed a group of tourists that took stairway into a tunnel that emerged right below the arch. We followed them and when we reached the arch we felt like winners.
podchod k Vítěznému oblouku (Arc de Triomphe) Vítězný oblouk (Arc de Triomphe)

Symbol i pieta

In the middle of this building there was a memorial to an unknown soldier dedicated to all French troops, and a fire has burn there to honor them since 1921. The building is 50 meters high, 22 meters wide, and 45 meters long. The larch arch is almost 30 meters high and 15 meters wide. We were surpised by the fact that a plane flew through this “window” in 1919 piloted by legendary Charles Godefroy. And he did it without any accident. The sides show reliefs show battlefields where Napoleon’s soldiers fought. We were interested by inconspicuous door at feet of one side of the arch. Behind the doors was an elevator and a staircase with 222 steps up to the observation platform. As the Arch de Triomphe was under reconstruction in the time of our visit we did not see Paris from up above.
hrob neznámého vojína

hrob neznámého vojína pamětní tabule

When we were leaving we enjoyed a view at the historical axis (Axe historique) joining La Défence and Champs - Élysées. We again went to the tunnel. We headed to the Elysian Fields and the brands we longed to see. More about it next week.
Vítězný oblouk (Arc de Triomphe)
La Défencepodchod na bulvár Champs – Élysées

Text and photo: Oskár Mažgút



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