Paris: Arc de Triomphe

The Arc de triomphe without a doubt is the most strangely placed monument I visited, for it acted as a roundabout in a very busy location. In 1806 its construction was ordered by Emperor Napoleon following on from the victory at Austerlitz. The story behind it is that Napoleon wanted to honour the Grande Armee (French Army) for their conquering of much of Europe and would allow them to “Return home through arcs of triumph”.  Construction between 1814 and 1826 was halted yet restarted during King Louis-Philippe’s reign between 1833 and 1836.  Following on from its construction French troops would rally after successful military campaigns and carry out victory marches under or around the arch. This however is not confined to a French custom as in 1871/1940 Germans carried this out. On 11th November 1920 an unknown soldier was buried underneath it, in order to represent the 1500000 French soldiers who died during World War One. Since 1923 a Flame of Remembrance on the tomb is rekindled each day at 6pm in order to remember their significance. A custom in order to respect the Unknown Soldier has been taken by Hitler and de Gaulle 1940/1944 by walking around the arch rather than through.

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