I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Arc de Triomphe. We could see it from the Eiffel Tower on our first day. More than anything else it looked rather large, dwarfing the buildings around it. There is quite a lot in Paris that looks rather large.
The Arc de Triomphe was commissioned in 1806. It took some 30 years to complete. It stands as a monument to those who fought and died for France during the Napoleonic Wars. The names of generals and military victories are inscribed on its walls.
We walked up the right bank of the Seine to get there. At one point a man walking in front of us stooped down and picked up a gold ring he saw lying on the pavement. He looked at us in a strange way as we walked on. About 100 yards later another man walking towards us suddenly stooped down – wow! Another gold ring lying on the pavement! This man tried to engage us in conversation about it. I tried to disengage us, astonished that two separate con artists would try to scam us with the same trick within the space of 100 yards. Were these people completely stupid? No, I realised, it is the tourists who are completely stupid, and clearly tricking them is big business here. This was not, by any means, the last we would see of the Parisian scammers.
As well as being quite large, the Arc de Triomphe is also rather grand. There is quite a lot in Paris that looks rather grand.
The building is well known for its friezes. Ornately sculpted figures gazed down at us as we circled round.
It is possible to climb up to the roof of the Arc de Triomphe. The queue was short and the views were as good as they were from the Eiffel Tower. Twelve main roads all converge at the Arc de Triomphe. They radiated away from our vantage point, giving us a fantastic perspective that cannot be enjoyed from elsewhere.
Location of the Arc de Triomphe (copy and paste the co-ordinates into Google Earth): N 48° 52.429 E 002° 17.700