Right in the middle of a fascinating yet maddening confluence of 12 major avenues—and the grand-mère of all roundabouts—stands one of the most impressive triumphal arches in the world.
This monument in celebration of war—with a nod to peace—was designed to mark Napoléon’s great victory at Austerlitz in 1805.
Unfortunately Napoléon met up with Wellington at Waterloo in 1815 and was finished long before the arch was.
Though Napoléon’s army never passed by in celebration, several others have over the years: Germans (1871), French (1918), Germans again (1940), Free French forces and the Allies (1944).
One of the most important gatherings in recent times was in celebration of France’s victory over Brazil to win 1998’s World Cup. Over 1 million fans turned out and danced until dawn on the Champs-Elysées with the arch as backdrop.
An Elephant Instead of L’Arc-de-Triomphe in Paris?
This is a painting of a 1758 cross section of “L’Éléphant Triomphal”, engineer Charles Ribart’s fountain/ballroom monument that was designed to stand in the park where the Arch de Triomphe is now.
Can you imagine this standing in the middle of “la place de l’Étoile”?
Little Know Facts About the Paris Monuments
The Monuments of Paris — L’Arc de Triomphe
The Monuments of Paris — L’Avenue des Champs-Elysées
The Monuments of Paris — L’Obélisque de Luxor
The Monuments of Paris — La Madeleine
The Monuments of Paris — L’Opéra
The Monuments of Paris — Le Moulin Rouge
The Monuments of Paris — Le Sacré-Coeur
The Monuments of Paris — Le Louvre
The Monuments of Paris — Notre Dame
The Monuments of Paris — La Tour Eiffel
The Monuments of Paris — Père Lachaise Cemetery