Arc de Triomphe: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about the Arc de Triomphe.

  • The Arc de Triomphe is a large celebratory arch in the centre of Paris. It is situated in the middle of a roundabout where a dozen roads meet at the west end of the Champs-Elysees.
  • The arch’s design was inspired by a Roman arch. It measures 50 metres high, 35 metres wide and almost 15 metres wide, and has a rooftop terrace offering wonderful views.

  • The arch opening itself is 29 metres high and 15 metres wide. It is so big that a biplane was able to safely fly through the opening, 3 weeks after World War 1 ended.
  • The Arc de Triomphe was designed in 1806 on the orders of the emperor Napoleon. It was designed to honour those who had died in the Napoleonic wars and French Revolutionary wars.
  • Beneath the arch is the grave of the unknown soldier who died in World War 1. The tomb represents the 1,500,000 soldiers who died during the war.
  • The flame on the tomb has been lit at 6pm every day, since 1923. The ceremony is performed by French soldiers and veterans from different wars.
  • On the inner faces of the arch opening are inscribed the names of almost 560 French generals. At the top of the arch are 30 shields each naming a victory by Napoleon.
  • France’s annual Bastille Day parade on 14th July, traditionally starts at the arch. The famous cycling race, the Tour de France, finishes in front of the arch.
  • The Arc de Triomphe is at the end of one of Europe’s most famous streets, the Champs-Elysees. It is also one of the most expensive streets in the world.
  • Paris actually has a second Arch de Triomphe, which is smaller and less well known. It is located in the city’s Place du Carrousel and is aligned perfectly with the larger arch.