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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.

Popular Activities at Arc de Triomphe

Get the most out of your time at Arc de Triomphe. Below is a list of the top things to do:

If you're seeking even more options, take a look at our Paris things to do page.


Guide to Exploring around Arc de Triomphe


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Lodging Near Arc de Triomphe

See all 5,214 Properties near Arc de Triomphe
Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile $185
Reviewed on May 19, 2019
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Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile

Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile

3, Place du Général Kœnig, Paris, Paris
     
    4.2 of 5
    4.0 out of 5.0

    Staff where very helpful and accommodating very central to most tourists activity’s, half to one hour walking distance lots of restaurants, fabulous view of the Eiffel Tower from our room.

    Splendid Etoile Hotel $161
    Reviewed on Apr 29, 2019
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    Splendid Etoile Hotel

    Splendid Etoile Hotel

    1 Avenue Carnot, Paris, Paris
       
      4.5 of 5
      4.0 out of 5.0

      Perfect location and nice view on are de triumph spacious rooms

      L'Hotel du Collectionneur Arc de Triomphe $303
      Reviewed on May 18, 2019
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      L'Hotel du Collectionneur Arc de Triomphe

      L'Hotel du Collectionneur Arc de Triomphe

      51-57 rue de Courcelles, Paris, Paris
         
        4.2 of 5
        5.0 out of 5.0

        Amaizing time in Paris , Great hotel and friendly saff ... Love the spa , everything was clean , walk distance for many others attractions ... I will back for sure ... thank you the hotel staff for all the help and information about activities .. including making reservations for restaurants etc ...

        Elysees Union Hotel $123
        Reviewed on May 19, 2019
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        Elysees Union Hotel

        Elysees Union Hotel

        44 Rue de l Amiral Hamelin, Paris, Paris
           
          4.1 of 5
          3.0 out of 5.0

          Great location and wonderful staff. Highly recommend.

          Hotel Cecilia $173
          Reviewed on May 22, 2019
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          Hotel Cecilia

          Hotel Cecilia

          11, Avenue MacMahon, Paris, Paris
             
            4.4 of 5
            3.0 out of 5.0

            Very friendly and welcoming staff. Lovely hotel in excellent location.

            Le Tsuba Hotel
            Reviewed on May 21, 2019
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            Le Tsuba Hotel

            Le Tsuba Hotel

            45 rue des Acacias, Paris
               
              4.7 of 5
              4.0 out of 5.0

              The breakfast was exceptional ! Very friendly helpful staff! My only complaint is both the rowing machine & stationary bike were both broken and not repaired during our 4 day visit.

              Hotel Floride Etoile $115
              Reviewed on May 17, 2019
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              Hotel Floride Etoile

              Hotel Floride Etoile

              14 Rue Saint Didier, Paris, Paris
                 
                4.1 of 5
                3.0 out of 5.0

                Great location, close to metro, restaurants and cafes!

                Mercure Paris Centre Tour Eiffel $193
                Reviewed on May 18, 2019
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                Mercure Paris Centre Tour Eiffel

                Mercure Paris Centre Tour Eiffel

                20 Rue Jean Rey, Paris, Paris
                   
                  4.1 of 5
                  4.0 out of 5.0

                  Close to the Eiffel Tower and market for food shopping.