Paris has so many amazing things to absorb and experience. Not only is it the city of love, but it also has supreme cultural significance, and has helped to shape the world. There are some truly stunning attractions in Paris, such as the Eiffel Tower and The Louvre. But, there’s also an attraction less well-known, but no less significant, and that is the Arc De Triomphe.
Originally commissioned by Napoleon, this famous Parisian landmark and monument stands at the West end of the Champs-Elysees. It is an unforgettable part of the city and an important monument in the history of France as a nation. It honors those who fought and lost their lives for France during the Napoleonic Wars, and the French Revolution. Here are some of the key things you never knew about the Arc De Triomphe.
It was almost a giant elephant!
The Arc De Triomphe is one of the most iconic landmarks in the world, but it was very nearly something else entirely. Indeed, according to sources, before Napoleon, French architect Charles Ribart was tasked with building a three-level building in the shape of an elephant. The furniture was designed to fold into the walls, and the trunk would provide a drainage system. However, the idea was scrapped, quite rightly in our opinion, and soon after work began on the Arc De Triomphe.
Napoleon never saw it completed
Napoleon is perhaps the most famous general France ever had, and one of the leading historical figures in the world. He did so much to help make France the leading nation it is today, but, he sadly never saw this come to fruition. The idea behind the Arc De Triomphe is that Napoleon wanted to honor those who died fighting for his cause. Unfortunately, he passed away 15 years before the monument was finally completed in 1836.
It’s not the only Arch of Triumph
There are actually a fair few of these monuments across the world, almost all of them designed as memorials to those who have died. In fact, the Arc De Triomphe is actually the second-largest of these monuments in the world, standing at 164 feet high, and 148 feet wide. The largest? Well, that honor goes to the Arch of Triumph in Pyongyang, North Korea. The arch was erected in 1982 to commemorate the Korean resistance against the Japanese.
It’s been the site of two attempted assassinations
As positive an icon as the Arc De Triomphe is, it was so nearly tarred with negativity by no less than two assassination attempts. Back in the day, Charles De Gaulle survived an attempt on his life at this very location – side note, De Gaulle actually survived several attempts on his life during his tenure! More recently, in 2002, a gunman attempted to assassinate Jacques Chirac and actually managed to get a shot off before police intercepted him.
The Arc De Triomphe is one of the defining images of Paris, as well as one of the most important war memorials ever. There are so many things we never knew about this Parisian landmark, and these are just a few of them. And now you have enough information that you could take on most people in a quiz about the legendary Arc!