Sites and Sounds of Revolutionary Paris

L'arc de Triomphe
Revolutionary Tradition and Les Mis
Revolution 1789
--The Monarchy
--Tennis Court Oath
--Fall of the Bastille
--October Days
--Declaration of War
--Palace Invaded
--Louis XVI
--Reign of Terror
-- Fall of Robespierre
--At war
1789 in Les Miserables
--The Terror
--The People
--The Students
--The Monarchy
--Place de Concord
--Notre Dame
Daily Sites
--Street Names
--Children's Names and Games
Works Consulted


The l'arc de Triomphe dates back to 1806, when Napoleon commissioned Chalgrin to build an arch to the glory of the French Army. Construction on the Arch began in 1806, restarted in 1825, and was not finished until 1836. The final cost of the enormous project was 10,432,000 francs. The Arc de Triomphe is built on the model of ancient Triumphal Arches, but it stands alone because of its monumental size: 50 meters tall and 45 meters wide (164 by 148 feet). The four magnificent high reliefs are crowned by Rude's masterpiece, "The Departure of the Volunteers in 1792".

*picture from the book Paris

The vast central arc raises 90 feet in the air and is 45 feet in width. Among the numerous decorations are ornaments of lions heads, masks, swords and shields engraved with names of soldiers. Names of various French victories are enscribed on the inner walls, and the names of the generals are located on the piers.

The Arc de Triomphe has been the site of many patriotic remembrances. On December 15, 1840, the ceremonial procession bearing Napoléon's ashes passed under the Arch. The body of Victor Hugo lay in state all night under the Arch on May 22, 1885, before being buried at the Pantheon. (Gilligan)