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Arc de Triomphe

Vacation Travel Guide
Arc de Triomphe showing street scenes, night scenes and heritage architecture

An imposing monument at the center of a busy traffic intersection, the archway rises majestically above the city, with coveted city views.

While the vista from 164 feet (50 meters) above Paris will lure you to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, there’s much to see at the base of this landmark. It stands in the Place Charles de Gaulle where 12 straight avenues, including the Champs-Élysées, intersect and form “the star” of the city.

Although this is a busy intersection at the center of the city, you can easily reach the monument via car or sidewalk via the picturesque Champs-Élysées. There’s also enough pedestrian-only space around the arch to admire its architecture and decorative artwork from a safe distance.

There is an admission fee to reach the top of the arch via 284 steps or the elevator. Once there, you’ll find a museum, gift shop and views down the Champs-Élysées. The surrounding streets are particularly beautiful in the early evening when the city’s lights begin to sparkle.

It’s free to explore the base of the arch. Four massive pillars beneath an attic form a vaulted passageway so wide a pilot flew his plane through it in 1919. In 1920, the body of an unknown soldier was buried here and an eternal flame was added in 1923, in remembrance of those who died in World War I. The flame is rekindled in a daily ritual at 6:30 p.m.

The arch is a memorial to all those who fought for France, but particularly those in the Napoléonic wars. Its inner sides and top are engraved with the details of various wars and the 558 generals who fought in them. Each of its four pillars is decorated with a sculpture in relief. The most famous is Francois Rude’s The Departure of the Volunteers of 1792. It depicts everyday French people ready to defend their country, lead by the allegorical figure of Liberty. This work so encapsulated the patriotic zeal of the nation that it became known as La Marseillaise, after the national anthem.

Napoléon I commissioned the arch after his victory at Austerlitz in 1806. He promised his army they would “return home through arches of triumph”, but died before his grand tribute was completed in 1836.

The Arc de Triomphe is located in the 16th arrondissement on Paris’ Right Bank. It’s open daily, but one of the best days of the year to visit the arch is July 14th, Bastille Day. The Bastille Day parade follows the length of the Champs-Élysées and a huge flag billows from the arch’s crown creating a colorful photo op. This monument is easily accessible via bus, subway, railway or on foot. Driving is a bit trickier, as parking can be difficult to find.

Top things to do in Arc de Triomphe

Top Hotels Close to Arc de Triomphe

Relais Bosquet
Relais Bosquet
3 out of 5
19 Rue Du Champ De Mars, Paris, Paris
The price is $122 per night from Jul 31 to Jul 31
Located in Paris City Center, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Rue Cler and Les Invalides. Champ de Mars and Eiffel Tower are also within 15 minutes. ...
4.6/5Wonderful! (522 reviews)
"The staff here are great! They had our room ready and were welcoming. Hubs speaks decent French but I do not, but not a problem here because reception employees speak English quite well. Room was very clean and updated. The ac was fabulous! I’ve been to Paris quite a few times but never at the end ..."

Reviewed on Jul 25, 2021

Relais Bosquet
Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel
Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel
4 out of 5
18 avenue de Suffren, Entrée au 22 rue Jean Rey, Paris, Paris
The price is $268 per night from Aug 2 to Aug 2
Located in 15th Arrondissement, this eco-friendly hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Eiffel Tower and Champ de Mars. Rue Cler and Place du Trocadero are also ...
4.2/5Excellent! (1,052 reviews)
"Good location for the Eiffel Tower,and very walkable neighborhood"

Reviewed on Jul 17, 2021

Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel
Shangri-La Paris
Shangri-La Paris
5 out of 5
10 Avenue d'Iena, Paris, Paris
The price is $942 per night from Aug 18 to Aug 18
This family-friendly Paris palace is located in the historical district, within a 10-minute walk of Place du Trocadero and Avenue Montaigne. Eiffel Tower and ...
4.7/5Exceptional! (217 reviews)
"A truly unique property with a fantastic team to cater for your every need. Fantasy restaurant and bar facilities. Well positioned with lots to discover. We will definitely visit again."

Reviewed on Mar 17, 2020

Shangri-La Paris
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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Best Lodging Options Near Arc de Triomphe

Relais Bosquet
Relais Bosquet
3 out of 5
19 Rue Du Champ De Mars, Paris, Paris
The price is $122 per night from Jul 31 to Jul 31
Relais Bosquet
Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel
Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel
4 out of 5
18 avenue de Suffren, Entrée au 22 rue Jean Rey, Paris, Paris
The price is $268 per night from Aug 2 to Aug 2
Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel
Shangri-La Paris
Shangri-La Paris
5 out of 5
10 Avenue d'Iena, Paris, Paris
The price is $942 per night from Aug 18 to Aug 18
Shangri-La Paris
K+K Hotel Cayre Paris
K+K Hotel Cayre Paris
4 out of 5
4 Boulevard Raspail, Paris, Paris
The price is $145 per night from Jul 28 to Jul 28
K+K Hotel Cayre Paris
Hôtel La Comtesse
Hôtel La Comtesse
4 out of 5
29, Avenue de Tourville, Paris
The price is $137 per night from Aug 1 to Aug 1
Hôtel La Comtesse
Victoria Palace Hotel Paris
Victoria Palace Hotel Paris
5 out of 5
6 Rue Blaise-Desgoffe, Paris, Paris
The price is $171 per night from Aug 16 to Aug 16
Victoria Palace Hotel Paris
Pley Hotel
Pley Hotel
4 out of 5
214 Rue Du Faubourg Saint Honoré, Paris, Paris
The price is $144 per night from Aug 4 to Aug 4
Pley Hotel
Grand Powers
Grand Powers
5 out of 5
52 Rue Francois 1er, Paris
The price is $432 per night from Aug 1 to Aug 1
Grand Powers
Hotel Raphael
Hotel Raphael
5 out of 5
17 Avenue Kleber, Paris, Paris
The price is $403 per night from Aug 16 to Aug 16
Hotel Raphael
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.