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  General and Old World HistoryFrance, Andorra, MonacoFranceParis
Arc de TriompheThe Arc de Triomphe

stands at the western end of the Champs Élysées, in the center of the Place Charles de Gaulle. It was begun by Napoleon Bonaparte as a monument to his troops on August 15, 1806, and completed by Louis Philippe in 1836; construction stopped when Napoleon abdicated in 1814, and was not resumed until 1826.


Designed by architect Jean François Thérèse Chalgrin, the Arc de Triomphe stands 162 ft (49.5 m) high, is 150 ft (45 m) across, and is 72 ft (22 m) deep. The main vault is 95.8 ft (29.19 m) high and 48 ft (14.62 m) wide, and each of the two small vaults is 61.3 ft (18.68m) high and 27.7 ft (8.44 m) wide.

The four sculptural groups at the base of the Arc are The Triumph of 1810 (Cortot), Resistance and Peace (both by Antoine Étex) and Departure of the Volunteers of 1792 (François Rude).

At the top of the arch are 30 shields representing Napoleon's successful battles, and the names of 558 generals of the First French Empire are inscribed on the inside walls, as are the names of 128 battles of the first French Republic and Napoleon's Empire.

Tomb of the Unknown SoldierTomb of the Unknown Soldier

On November 12, 1919, the Chamber of Deputies decided that the anonymous remains of a French soldier killed in combat would be transferred to the Pantheon. Protests over the choice of site began immediately, and popular petitions ultimately led to a law, passed on November 8, 1920, calling for the entombment of an Unknown Soldier from the First World War under the Arc de Triomphe; that ceremony was conducted on January 28, 1921. The memorial flame, designed by architect Henri Favier and crafted by Edgar Brandt, was lit on November 11, 1923.

The official website of the Arcde Triomphe is

Le Départ de 1792
(Departure of the Volunteers 1792)

Departure of the Volunteers 1792

Le Triomphe de 1810
(The Triumph of 1810)

The Triumph of 1810

La Résistance de 1814


La Paix de 1815


Les funérailles du général Marceau (General Marceau's Burial),
September 20, 1796

by P.H. Lamaire
south facade, right

General Marceau's Burial

La bataille d'Aboukir (The Battle of Aboukir),
July 25, 1799

by Bermard Seurre
south facade, left

The Battle of Aboukir

Le passage du pont d'Arcole (The Battle of Arcole),
November 15, 1796
by J.J. Feuchère
north facade, right

The Battle of Arcole

La prise d'Alexandrie (The Fall of Alexandria),
July 3, 1798

by J.E. Chaponnière
north facade, left

The Fall of Alexandria

  La bataille de Jemappes (The Battle of Jemappes),
November 6, 1792

by Carlo Marochetti
east facade

The Battle of Jemappes

La bataille d'Austerlitz (The Battle of Austerlitz),
December 2, 1805

by J.F.T. Gechter
west facade

The Battle of Austerlitz


Napoleon Bonaparte
Louis Philippe
First World War

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This page was last updated on February 13, 2015.

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