2. Arc de Triomphe, Paris

Construction for the current Arc de Triomphe began in 1806 and followed the neoclassical design set forth Jean Chalgrin. However, 45 years earlier, 18th century architect Charles Ribart submitted a design for a three-story elephant to be built in the same location.

The proposal included a spiral staircase in the elephant’s underbelly and a fountain feature in its trunk to water the gardens below it. As interesting as it would have been to see such a structure, the French government rejected Ribald’s design and later chose Chalgrin’s triumphal arch design. To see archived images of Ribald’s elephant, explore the collection of the Archives de l’imaginair.