Champs Élysées

Champs Élysées

Admin Admin February 12, 2023 Place to Visit

The Arc de Triomphe 1 , often simply called the Arc de Triomphe 1 , is a monument located in Paris , at a high point at the junction of the territories of the 8th , 16th and 17th arrondissements in particular at the top of the avenue des Champs-Élysées and the avenue de la Grande-Armée , which constitute a major east-west Parisian axis starting from the Louvre pyramid , passing by the obelisk of La Concorde , the Arc de Triomphe itself and ending in the distance with theDefense Arch .

Its construction, decided by the Emperor Napoleon I , began in 1806 and was completed in 1836 under the reign of Louis-Philippe .

Star Square 

Place de l’Etoile in 1857.


The Arc de Triomphe in 1921.

Arc de Triomphe (postcard, around 1920).

Arch of Triumph (1939).

The Arc de Triomphe rises in the center of Place Charles-de-Gaulle (formerly Place de l’Étoile) in the 8th , 16th , and 17th arrondissements of Paris 2 . It is located in the axis and at the western end of the Avenue des Champs-Élysées , 2.2 kilometers from the Place de la Concorde . 49.54  m high , 44.82  m wide and 22.21  m deep , it is managed by the Center des Monuments Nationaux 3 . The height of the great vault is 29.19  m and its width is 14.62  m. The small vault is 18.68  m high and 8.44  m wide. The monument weighs 50,000  t – in fact 100,000  t , taking into account the foundations which sink 8.37  m deep. The total cost of construction was 9,651,116  4 .

The Place de l’Étoile forms an enormous roundabout of twelve avenues pierced in the 19th century  at the instigation of Napoleon III and Baron Haussmann , then prefect of the department of the Seine . These avenues “radiate” in a star shape around the square, notably Avenue Kléber , Avenue de la Grande-Armée , Avenue de Wagram and, the best known, Avenue des Champs-Élysées . Paving stones of different colors draw on the ground of the square two stars whose points arrive for one in the middle of the avenues, for the other between the avenues.

This site is served by the Charles de Gaulle-Etoile metro station .


Napoleon I , the day after the Battle of Austerlitz, declared to the French soldiers:“You will only return to your homes under triumphal arches. The Emperor referredto the triumphal arches erected under theRoman Empireto commemorate a victorious general parading at the head of his troops 5 .

By an imperial decree dated, he ordered the construction of this triumphal arch dedicated to perpetuating the memory of the victories of the French armies 6 . His initial project was to erect the monument “at the entrance to the boulevards, near the place where the Bastille was, so that on entering the Faubourg Saint-Antoine one passes under this triumphal arch” . He thus wanted to make it the starting point of a triumphal avenue crossing in particular the Louvre and the Place de la Bastille . Interior Minister Champagny advises the Emperor that the choice of the Bastille would be expensive and convinces him to erect the Arc west of Paris on the Place de l’

Count Jean Bérenger , Councilor of State, is responsible for financing as general manager of the Sinking Fund. The Imperial Decree of, which ordered the erection of a triumphal arch, in fact provided that “one million will be taken for this object from the contributions coming from the Grande Armée. The Sinking Fund will hold each month, from, a sum of fifty thousand francs at the disposal of the future architect and that of fifteen thousand francs for works of art and sculpture” 8 .

Inscriptions inside the Arc de Triomphe recounting the construction of the monument.

Chalgrin ‘s project for the Arc de Triomphe.

Chalgrin’s project for the Arc de Triomphe at the Barrière de l’Étoile.

For the design of the monument, the architect Jean-François Chalgrin is in competition with his colleague Jean-Arnaud Raymond , responsible for collaborating with him. The first wishes to adorn the arch with isolated columns while the second wants them engaged, the incompatibility of these two designs making any collaboration between the two architects impossible. An arbitration rendered by Champagny , Minister of the Interior , forces Raymond to retire honorably. Chalgrin then removes the columns from his project 9 and draws inspiration from the tetrapyle arch of Janus and the Arch of Titus in Rome, then undergoing restoration 10.

The first shield-shaped stone bearing an inscription is laid on(for the Emperor’s birthday) and covered with a bronze plaque to protect it. This pose takes place without official ceremony, in general indifference 11 . The foundations (a massive 54.56 meters long by 27.28 meters wide and 7.55 meters deep) 12 require two years of construction. In 1810 , the four piles rise about one meter above the ground. On the occasion of his marriage to Archduchess Marie-Louise and her entry into Paris, the Emperor delegated funds which enabled Chalgrin to build a full-scale model in framework, stucco and painted canvas. which remain in place for quite a long time and under which the princess passes. I’1811 , followed, eight days after him, by his colleague Raymond 13 .

During the first Napoleonic defeats ( Russian campaign in 1812 ), and the events of 1814 , the Arc de Triomphe was raised to the vaults (the transom of the large arcade was placed with the 45th  seat), but the construction was interrupted and then abandoned under the Restoration . In 1823, Louis XVIII resumed construction with the architects Louis-Robert Goust then Huyot and under the direction of Héricart de Thury . The Arc must henceforth commemorate the victorious expedition to Spain. In 1830, Louis-Philippe took up Napoleon ‘s initial thoughtbut, in a spirit of reconciliation, associates the armies which fought between 1792-1815. It was Louis-Philippe and Adolphe Thiers who decided on the choice of themes and sculptors: The Departure of the Volunteers , commonly known as La Marseillaise , by François Rude and The Triumph of Napoleon by Jean-Pierre Cortot . More spectacular is the frieze located at the top of the Arc and which is divided into two parts: The Departure of the Armies and The Return of the Armies with a long central scene to the glory of the Nation. The construction was carried out between 1832 and 1836 by the architect Guillaume-Abel Blouet .

The Arc de Triomphe was inaugurated onfor the sixth anniversary of the Trois Glorieuses . Initially, a major military review in the presence of Louis-Philippe was planned. But, when he has just been targeted by a new attack on, the king decides to abstain from it. The military review was canceled and replaced by a grand banquet offered by the king to three hundred guests, while the monument was discovered on the sly at seven o’clock in the morning, in the sole presence of Adolphe Thiers and his Minister of Finance, Antoine d’Argout 14 .

In 1842 , Honoré de Balzac made it a symbol of the loyalty of soldiers to the Emperor: “but all hearts, even those most hostile to the Emperor, sent ardent wishes to heaven for the glory of the country. The men most tired of the struggle begun between Europe and France had all laid down their hatreds by passing under the Arc  de Triomphe .