on September 22, 2007
The Arc de Triomphe is one of the most famous monuments in Paris that stands in the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle, formerly the Place de l'Etoile, at the western end of the Champs Elysees. The arch honours those who fought for France, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars, and today also includes the tomb of unknown soldiers. The Arc is the linchpin of the historic axis (L'Axe historique) a sequence of monuments and grand thoroughfares on a route which goes from the courtyard of the Louvre Palace to the outskirts of Paris. 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 and set the tone for public monuments, with triumphant nationalistic messages, until World War I. Pedestrian access to the Arc de Triomphe is via an underpass. The Arch has one lift, to the level underneath the exterior observation level. Visitors can either climb 284 steps to reach the top of the Arch or take the lift and walk up 46 steps. From the top there is an excellent view of all of Paris, of the twelve major avenues leading to the Arc and of the exceptionally busy roundabout in which the Arc lies.
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