Besides the Eiffel Tower The Arc de Triomphe is one of the most well recognized monuments associated with Paris. While in Paris a few years ago I was able to see this glorious monument up close and personal. It's just right there in the center of it all, traffic flowing all around it. I didn't know much about it's history other than I knew it was associated with Napoleon's victories.
It is really beautiful, as all Parisian monuments, being located in the center of town with the avenues radiating out from it in Pentagon shape, the best view being from the famous avenue Champs Élysées.
It was commissioned in 1806 by the Emperor Napoleon following his victory at Austerlitz. It was designed by the famous architect Jean Chalgrin in the Neoclassical version of the ancient Roman architecture. The Arc's sculptures represent the departing of the troops in 1792, the victories of Napoleon and the Revolution. Inside the walls of the Arc are found names of notable Generals and Soldiers who fought for French freedom from tyranny. In 1920 following WWI the tomb of The Unknown Soldier was laid to rest underneath the Arc.
The Arc de Triomphe has always represented victory for the troops and not withstanding two of the most memorable victory marches in recent history was the victorious Germans marching into Paris in 1940. Who can forget these pictures, they send chills down my spine just looking at them and thinking of the Parisians watching as the invaders march through their beloved landmark to change their lives forever.
1940 the Germans invaded Paris but it didn't stop the spirited French from plaguing their enemies with the resistance for five years. Paris was spared the bombs and destruction thank-goodness, however the devastation of life and morale was enough, so in the spring of 1945 it must have been such a glorious site to see another victorious army marching through the Arc this time liberators rather than conquerors.
Allied troops marching into Paris 1945
The Arc de Triomphe is a beautiful monument and I am so grateful I had the opportunity to see it in my life time. I have thoroughly enjoyed putting together this creative post for the HFBRT event featuring the soon to be released novel For the King by Catherine Delors.