ANIMALS

The curiosities you may not know about the Arc de Triomphe de Paris

The Arc de Triomphe is an important monument in Paris. It stands at the end of the Avenue des Champs Elysées, in the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle, formerly known as the Place de la Star.

The incredible and imposing construction is in fact a piece of French history, commissioned by none other than Napoleon Bonaparte to celebrate the historic transalpine victory at the Battle of Austerlitz, the last and decisive battle that took place during the Third Coalition War, part of the Napoleonic Wars (2 December 1805).

Among the marvellous engravings and hidden symbols, there are many curiosities and mysteries that this gigantic arch holds.

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Five little-known things about the Arc de Triomphe
The Arc de Triomphe is an important monument in Paris. It stands at the end of the Avenue des Champs Elysées, in the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle, formerly known as the Place de la Star. The incredible and imposing construction is in fact a piece of French history, erected by none other than Napoleon Bonaparte to celebrate the historic transalpine victory at the Battle of Austerlitz, the last and decisive battle that took place during the Third Coalition War, part of the Napoleonic Wars (2 December 1805). Among the marvellous engravings and hidden symbols, there are many curiosities and mysteries that this gigantic arch holds.
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Many are the names of Frenchmen engraved on the walls
The relief sculptures at the base of each of the four pillars depict scenes of four successes and battles of war; the topmost part, the upper part, of the monument bears the names of the major successes of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic periods. Less significant victories are engraved on the inner walls, as well as the names of 558 generals. The underlined names indicate that the general died in battle.
Di Benh LIEU SONG - Opera propria, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=295
Two assassination attempts under the Arch
Although both eventually survived without consequences, there have been two assassination attempts over the years in the Arc de Triomphe. The first against Charles de Gaulle (1962) and the other against Jaques Chirac (2002).
Di Jiuguang Wang - Flickr: Arc de Triomphe, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?
It is the second largest Triumphal Arch in the world
The height of the Triumphal Arch is 164 feet (50 m), with a width of148 feet (45 m). This makes it the second largest triumphal arch in the world today, losing the record only in 1982, when North Korea inaugurated its own Triumphal Arch.
By Xavier Sayanoff - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4366634
The wooden replica
Napoleon never saw its finished construction, as he died 15 years earlier. When he married his second wife Marie-Louise of Austria, however, Napoleon had the architect make a wooden replica of the Arch so that they could both cross it as they entered the city as a married couple.
Di Zairon - Opera propria, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=70324544
The perennial flame at the base of the Arch
In the base of the arch, the tomb of the Unknown Soldier was placed in 1920, together with a perpetual flame, to remember the fallen of the First World War who were never identified. From 1945 onwards, the grave was also dedicated to the fallen of the Second World War. Every 11 November there is an official ceremony, the anniversary of the 1918 armistice between France and Germany.
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