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Arc de Triomphe

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.


Guide to Exploring around Arc de Triomphe


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Best Lodging Options Near Arc de Triomphe

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Hotel Monceau Wagram $69
Hotel Monceau Wagram

Hotel Monceau Wagram

7 Rue Rennequin, Paris, Paris
     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in 17th Arrondissement, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore, Champs-Elysees, and Parc Monceau. Arc de Triomphe and Lido are also within 1 mi (2 km). Ternes Station is only a 5-minute walk and Courcelles Station is 5 minutes.

    Hotel de Sevigne $69
    Hotel de Sevigne

    Hotel de Sevigne

    6 rue De Belloy, Paris, Paris
       
      3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Paris City Center, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Champs-Elysees, Arc de Triomphe, and Lido. Avenue Montaigne and Place du Trocadero are also within 15 minutes. Boissiere Station and Kleber Station are within a 5-minute walk.

      Helzear Champs Elysées Suites $122
      Helzear Champs Elysées Suites

      Helzear Champs Elysées Suites

      49 avenue Marceau, Paris, Paris
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Paris City Center, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Avenue Georges V, Champs-Elysees, and Avenue Montaigne. Lido and Arc de Triomphe are also within 10 minutes. George V Station is only a 5-minute walk and Kleber Station is 7 minutes.

        Fraser Suites Le Claridge Champs-Elysées $311
        Fraser Suites Le Claridge Champs-Elysées

        Fraser Suites Le Claridge Champs-Elysées

        74 avenue des Champs-Elysées, Paris
           
          5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Paris City Center, this luxury residence is within a 5-minute walk of Champs-Elysees, Lido, and Avenue Montaigne. Arc de Triomphe and Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore are also within 10 minutes. George V Station is only a 4-minute walk and Franklin D. Roosevelt Metro Station is 5 minutes.

          Hotel Galileo $78
          Hotel Galileo

          Hotel Galileo

          54 Rue Galilee, Paris, Paris
             
            3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Paris City Center, this hotel is steps from Avenue Georges V and Champs-Elysees. Lido and Arc de Triomphe are also within 10 minutes. George V Station is only a 3-minute walk and Charles de Gaulle - Etoile Station is 6 minutes.

            Hotel Lord Byron $165
            Hotel Lord Byron

            Hotel Lord Byron

            5 rue chateaubriand, Paris, PAR
               
              4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Paris City Center, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Lido and Arc de Triomphe. Eiffel Tower and Palais Garnier are also within 2 mi (3 km). George V Station is only a 3-minute walk and Charles de Gaulle - Etoile Station is 6 minutes.

              Hotel EKTA
              Hotel EKTA

              Hotel EKTA

              52 Rue Galilee, 08, Paris, Paris
                 
                3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Paris City Center, this hotel is steps from Avenue Georges V and Champs-Elysees. Lido and Arc de Triomphe are also within 10 minutes. George V Station is only a 3-minute walk and Charles de Gaulle - Etoile Station is 6 minutes.

                Hotel Eiffel Turenne $78
                Hotel Eiffel Turenne

                Hotel Eiffel Turenne

                20 Avenue De Tourville, Paris, Paris
                   
                  3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Paris City Center, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Rue Cler and Les Invalides. Champ de Mars and Eiffel Tower are also within 15 minutes. Ecole Militaire Station is only a 2-minute walk and La Tour-Maubourg Station is 6 minutes.