Paris has a lot of wonders to amaze tourists to the city. One such wonder is the Arc de Triomphe, which was opened to public in the year 1836. Originally commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte I in 1806 after his victory in Austerlitz, the construction of Arc de Triomphe took about 30 years to complete, and he never saw the final product. Below are some more interesting facts about the monument in the City of Lights; knowing these will further add to the delight of visiting the Arc de Triomphe during your Paris private tours.
It is Very Elaborate
The Arc de Triomphe has four pillars, at the base of which, there are relief sculptures to depict four triumphs and wars of Napoleon. There are names of major victories by the ruler inscribed on the top part of the monument, while the less important conquests are engraved on the inside of the walls. The iconic structure also has the names of Napoleon’s generals, who served under his reign as well as during the Revolutionary period. There are also names with an underline to signify that they died in battle.
The Prolonged Construction and the Wooden Replica
When Napoleon saw that the construction of the Arc de Triomphe was taking too long, he commanded a wooden replica of the structure to be made so that he and his second wife, Marie Louise of Austria, could pass through it as a newly married couple. What’s more, when Napoleon Bonaparte stepped down from his position as the ruler in 1814, the construction of the monument was further stopped for around 12 years and it resumed in 1826 to be finished 10 years later. Napoleon did pass through the completed arc eventually, when his dead body was carried to its final resting place in 1840.
The World’s Second Largest Triumphal Arch
The Arc de Triomphe stands at a height of 164 feet, and is 148 feet wide, which makes it the second largest monument dedicated to triumph in the world. In fact, it was the largest triumphal arch until 1982, before North Korea inaugurated their Arch of Triumph.
The iconic monument in Paris also stands as a witness to a couple of assassination attempts. One of those was on Jacques Chirac, who narrowly escaped a bullet at the site in 2002, while he was reviewing troops for the Bastille Day celebrations.