I’m Feeling Triumphant. Let’s Make An Arc.

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There are a few things that blow my mind: headphones that manage to produce a pocket-tangle in two minutes that takes 4 hours to undo, why anyone would deep-fry a Twinkie, and how amazing structures ever get built. I’m convinced that there must be a different branch of Elves that specialize in Monument Making (you know, how there are Santa’s Elves, and then the Elves who make all our shoes…and then the Elves who fight the Orcs of Mordor…there has to be some wiggle room in there). But I guess if you’re Napoleon Bonaparte, when you want an arc, you get an arc. I mean, you don’t just go out and conquer most of Europe and then hire a celebratory Taco Truck.

The Arc de Triomphe stands an impressive 162 feet (or approximately 21.6 Yao Ming’s) high. It cost about 9.3 million French francs to create, which is around $101,473,230.00 US dollars–roughly how much a bottle of water in France costs today (just pay for it in Euros. It’s a lot cheaper that way). It sits on the western end of the Champs-Elysees, and it looks magnificent for a 177 year old monument (admittedly, it might have had some Botox since 1836. It’s facade was a little stiff). The Arc emanates such strong elegance that it’s hard not to be a little bit excited when you first catch a glimpse of it.

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The twisty stairs on the inside were a wonderful addition; the architect, Jean-Francois Chalgrin, had a great vision. Though I wish the banisters were a little thicker so they were better for sliding on the way down. However, from the top the Arc’s potential is fully realized as you can see much of what Paris has to offer: the Eiffel Tower, quaint French Cafe’s, terrifyingly daring motorcyclists speeding through roundabouts. I personally enjoyed looking out over the Champs-Elysees with the people already rushing past the red awnings of the shops and the distant view of the Louvre that sat all the way at the other end.

While you certainly have your choice of monuments in Paris that offer you a great view of the city, a visit to the Arc de Triomphe should definitely be on your list. With significantly shorter lines (albeit a slightly lower altitude) than the Eiffel Tower and a more central location than Sacre Couer, the Arc is perfect for a quick visit or while you’re still fighting some jet-lag. It’s also a wonderful place to buy a Museum Pass, which if you’re planning on seeing even one or two other museums is completely worth it (more on this later). Even if you can’t climb it, seeing it from the Champs-Elysees or walking underneath it are both great ways to experience this well-known monument.

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14 responses »

  1. If you can’t see the jealousy oozing from the crevices of your screen right now, please know that it is certainly there 😉 What an amazing structure with a view that has to be locked into your memory for all of eternity. I am sure photos can’t do the panoramic view the justice it deserves! It reminds me of the Disney animation photo I included in one of my recent posts, except much more, ahem, authentic 😉 Thank you for sharing these wonderful memories and images. You have now given me motivation to go off and figure out how to untangle the strings on the window blinds. Do you happen to have a set of elves available to help out with that? 😉

    • Oohhh, so that’s what that green goo was! I was worried there was something wrong with my computer at first(; Well, you chose a wonderful image from Ratatouille (I can’t stop looking at it! What a great movie! And what a truly spectacular post!). You know, the Window Blind Elves are a little dodgy…mainly because they’re actually blind elves that work on windows…and we all know how that turns out. Have a great week Dave!

  2. Wow, it’s so beautiful! (I’m convinced it’s a secret branch of Elves too, their crafty)! 😉 Thank you so much for sharing these photos and the helpful hints (looking forward to finding out the story behind the museum pass). Glad you got to see all this but I have to agree with Dave above me, I am incredibly jealous! 😉

  3. ahhh Paris. My favourite place in the world …. and watching traffic in the roundabout at the Arc de Triomphe is definitely one of my favourite things to do while in Paris. You captured it beautifully. Thanks!!!

    • Thank you so much for reading!(: I was floored by my first view of the city; what a truly incredible place! I know that you have had many wonderful adventures yourself! If you had to pick your three favorite things about Paris, what do you think they would be? (My mom was always asking us to pick just one while we were there…and I found it extremely difficult).

      • The top 3 things that always comes to mind when I think of Paris are (1) the Eiffel Tower because it’s so iconic. (2) The Arc de Triomphe because it’s magnificent and watching traffic in the roundabout is a blast and (3) baguettes. Honestly, the smell and the taste of this wonderful bread is unique and of course every other person in Paris is carrying one while they are hurrying somewhere 🙂

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