When friends come visit, I get the opportunity to go places I would not ordinarily go as a resident of Paris. I’ve walked and drove past the Arc de Triomphe countless times, fearing for my life while traversing the roundabout aka clusterf*ck by motorcycle. On June 18th, I took the walk up the famous arch, coincidentally on the 70th anniversary of Charles de Gaulle‘s BBC radio appeal marking the founding act of French resistance against the Nazi regime. De Gaulle stated, “This war is not limited to the unhappy territory of our country. This war has not been decided by the Battle of France. This war is a world war…Whatever happens, the flame of French resistance must not be extinguished and it will not be extinguished.” The entire text of the speech is etched in a bronze plaque below the arch near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Inside the arch, just before the final staircase is a small museum space with models of the arch as well as mini replicas (top photo) that control detailed images of the frieze engravings. The staircase is dizzying but not overly daunting:
At the arch the (enormous) French flag was flown and a military ceremony took place. I was whizzing by on a motorcycle during the ceremony, but here’s the impressive view from the top of the arch earlier that day:
Clockwise from top left: View down the Avenue des Champs–Élysées, view down Avenue Charles de Gaulle towards La Defense, Eiffel Tower, Montmartre and Sacré–Cœur
How to Get There:
Metro: 1/2/6 and RER A to Charles-de-Gaulle Etoile
Get in touch with the author @untappedmich.