Little Bits of History

Arc de Triomphe

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 29, 2010

Arc de Triomphe

July 29, 1836: The Arc de Triomphe is inaugurated in Paris, France. Parisians refer to the arch as L’Etoile. It is located in the center of the world’s largest roundabout. The arch rises 164 ft above the ground and nearly as wide. The exterior was intricately carved. There are 284 steps to the top where a breathtaking view of Paris awaits. There is a museum inside that gives the history of the arch and the twelve streets that radiate from it.

In 1806, Napoleon I patterned his triumphal arch after the ancient Roman arches dedicated to the glorious armies. Napoleon’s arch was designed by Jean François Thérèse Chalgrin and was completed during the reign of Louis Philippe.

The Arc’s pillars are four relief sculptures 1) The Triumph of 1810, carved by Cortot; 2) Resistance; 3) Peace, both carved by Etex; and The Departure of the Volunteers, commonly called La Marseillaise carved by François Rude. Engraved around the top of the arch are the victories of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic periods and 558 generals names are carved on the inside walls.

In 1920, the French Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was placed beneath the Arc de Triomphe with the first eternal flame in Western Europe since the Vestal Virgins’ flame was extinguished in 391. The Tour de France bicycling event rides up the cobbled Champs-Élysées and ends at the Arc de Triomphe. Because of the twelve streets converging on the roundabout, the safest way to get here is via the underground passage.

“Patriotism … applies to true love of one’s country and a code of conduct that echoes such love.” – Howard Fast

“The noble kind of patriotism … aims at ends that are worthy of the whole of mankind.” – Albert Schweitzer

“France cannot be France without greatness.” – Charles de Gaulle

“The French people can be killed but [not] intimidated!” – Napoleon

Also on this day, in 1848 the Irish rebelled against British rule.

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