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Monday, October 23, 2006
Paris - Arc de Triomphe
The Arc de Triomphe stands in the centre of the Place de l'Étoile, at the western end of the Champs-Élysées.
Commissioned in 1806 by Napoleon, shortly after his victory at Austerlitz, it was not finished until 1836. There are four huge relief sculptures at the bases of the four pillars. These commemorate The Triumph of 1810 (Cortot); Resistance , and Peace (both by Etex); and The Departure of the Volunteers, more commonly known by the name La Marseillaise (Rude).
Engraved around the top of the Arch are the names of major victories won during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic periods. The names of less important victories, as well as those of 558 generals, are to found on the inside walls. Generals whose names are underlined died in action.
The monument stands over 51 metres (165 feet) in height and is 45 metres wide. It is the second largest triumphal arch in existence.
Beneath the Arch is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and an eternal flame commemorating the dead of the two world wars.
Sources: Les Cars Rouges, Paris Pages: Arc de Triomphe, Wikipedia: Arc de Triomphe