Michael Bryan

Written by Michael Bryan

Modified & Updated: 17 May 2024

Sherman Smith

Reviewed by Sherman Smith

arc de triomphe facts

Although the Eiffel Tower is the symbol of Paris, the Arc de Triomphe is also as important. It has a rich history and an impactful story.  Know more about this historic landmark through these Arc de Triomphe facts.


  1. The Arc de Triomphe stands 162 ft tall, 150 ft wide, and 72 ft deep.
  2. The Arc de Triomphe symbolizes France’s victory in the Battle of Austerlitz.
  3. Napoleon commissioned the construction of the Arc on August 15, 1806.
  4. In total, the Arc de Triomphe cost 10,432,000 francs to construct.
  5. The Arc was the biggest one in the world until North Korean dictator Kim Il Sung built a bigger one in 1922.
  1. The Arc honors the people who fought and died for the country in the French Revolutionary War and Napoleonic War.
  2. Jean Chalgrin, a French architect, designed the Arc de Triomphe in 1806.
  3. The Arc’s construction was finished on July 30, 1836.
  4. Unfortunately, Napoleon did not have the opportunity to see a fully constructed Arc since he passed away in 1821.
  5. The Arc lists the names of all French victories as well as its generals on its inner and outer surfaces.
  6. Under the Arc lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I.
  7. The French buried the Unknown Soldier under the Arc on November 11, 1920, to commemorate the unrecognized lives lost in the war.
  8. The Arc de Triomphe stands at the western end of the Champs-Élysées.
  9. Champs-Élysées is located in Paris, under the 8th arrondissement.
  10. France always holds its victory marches im the Arc – they marched in 1919 after WWI, and again with the Allies in the year 1944 and 1945.
  1. Although Napoleon did not see the fully constructed Arc, he had a smaller wooden replica of the Arc constructed.
  2. Before Napoleon married his wife Marie-Louise, both of them tied the knot at the wooden replica of the Arc de Triomphe.
  3. More than 1.5 million tourists see the beauty of Arc de Triomphe.
  4. The Arc de Triomphe roundabout has 12 lanes.
  5. The Arc is open from 10 AM to 10:30 PM from October to March, and 10 AM to 11 PM from April to September.

Table of Contents

Arc De Triomphe Facts Infographics

Arc De Triomphe Facts Infographics

The Arc de Triomphe is made of limestone.

The entirety of the Arc de Triomphe is made from a sedimentary rock called limestone. As a product of thousands of years of weathering, limestone comes from the oceans. Once bones and shells accumulate on the ocean floor, the combination of calcium carbonate and mud builds up and hardens into limestone.

arc de triomphe facts
Photo from Pixabay

You need to climb 284 steps to reach the top of the Arc de Triomphe.

The visitors can walk around the base and under the arches of the Arc for free. If the want to, they can climb the 284 stairs of the Arc de Triomphe and have a great view of Paris for an admission fee of $15 per person.

The Arch of Titus inspired the Arc de Triomphe.

Jean Chalgrin, the designer of Arc de Triomphe, found his inspiration through the Arch of Titus. The Roman Emperor Domitian ordered the construction of the Arch of Titus during the 81 AD to commemorate the victory in the Jewish War. Sounds familiar? Definitely one of the cooler Arc de Triomphe facts.

Jean Huyot finished designing the Arc de Triomphe.

Much like Napoleon, Jean Chalgrin didn’t get to see the completion of his project. When Jean Chalgrin died in the year 1811, Jean-Nicolas Huyot continued his masterpiece until its completion in 1836.

Arc de Triomphe almost became an elephant.

Charles Ribart, another French architect, proposed to build a structured elephant standing as high as a 3 story building instead of Arc de Triomphe. However, the French government denied Charles Ribart’s proposal. Now that’s one for unlikely sounding Arc de Triomphe facts.

Two assassination attempts occurred at the Arc de Triomphe.

Among the famous personalities that escaped assasination attempts at Arc de Triomphe were French army officer Monsieur Charles De Gaulle and former president Jacques Chirac.

Monsieur Charles De Gaulle survived over thirty attempts on his life during his time, while Jacques Chirac luckily beat the attempt to his life when he was addressing the troops on Bastille Day in 2002.

A plane flew right under the archway of Arc de Triomphe.

A few weeks after World War I, French aviator Charles Godefroy flew his fighter plane through the archway to honor all the pilots that sacrificed their lives in the war.

The best time to visit the Arc is 6:30 PM onwards.

Locals suggest that the best time to visit the Arc de Triomphe is during the evening when the Eternal Flame for the Unknown Soldier is more visible. Arc de Triomphe also overlooks the Eiffel Tower, Sacré Coeur, and the Louvre, which are best illuminated at night.

night, arc de triomphe facts
Photo from Pixabay

The Eternal Flame has been burning close to 100 years already.

arc de triomphe facts
Photo by Jérôme BLUM on Wikimedia Commons

Although it is technically for one grave, it burns in the darkness to remember the sacrifices of countless other unknown soldiers who died in World War I.

The Arc underwent victories as well as defeats.

Although the Arc bore witness to France’s victories, it also experienced its terrible defeats. In 1871, Germans marched under the Arc during the Franco-Prussian War marking the Nazi occupation of Paris in World War II.

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