A visit to the top of the Arc de Triomphe

Written by Sam Van den Haute aka CheckOutSam

The Arc de Triomphe must be one of the most famous sights of Paris
. This gigantic triumphal arch stands in the middle of the equally famous Champs-Élysées and is therefore a beautiful viewing platform over the rest of the French capital. In addition to an impressive panorama, you'll also learn more about French history in this imposing building. Whether you're going to visit the Arc de Triomphe for its architecture, history or the panoramic view, I'll gladly tell you some facts and info about this triumphal arch.

Sam Van den Haute CheckoutSam

Hi, I'm Sam, the blogger behind CheckOutSam!


Sam Van den Haute has been a full-time world traveler for ten years and has therefore gained a lot of travel and lifestyle inspiration on all continents. Do you still have questions after reading this blog? Ask them in the comments section or send me a message at [email protected] and I'll be happy to help you wherever I can!

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arc de triomphe Paris

Climbing the Arc de Triomphe

You can already see the Arc de Triomphe from far away on the Champs-Élysées. This impressive monument is 50 meters (164 ft) high and therefore it towers high above most other buildings in the neighborhood.
It’s almost impossible to cross the bussy roundabout at the Champs-Élysées, but fortunately there is an underground tunnel that takes you to the triumphal arch unharmed. Once you come close to the monument, you really start noticing how big this building actually is.

Everyone who wants to visit the Arc de Triomphe is first checked for weapons and such. Also note that large backpacks and bags are not allowed and that there are no lockers to store them. This also applies to most other monuments and attractions in Paris. So leave big bags in your hotel!

After you have passed the checkpoint, you can buy your tickets for the Arc de Triomphe (or pass the waiting lines if you already have an admission ticket). There is no elevator, so you’ll have to climb the Arc de Triomphe all the way! Fortunately, your heavy fitness routine is soon rewarded with a beautiful view of Paris. Before you can enjoy it, you can also look around on the top floor of the Arc de Triomphe. Here you’ll find more information about its history, some beautiful sculptures in honor of the fallen soldiers and a souvenir shop. Personally, I also liked the TV, where you can wave to the visitors walking under the Arc.
When you descend once again, you can also view a permanent exhibition about the clothing of the soldiers during the various world wars and during the time of Napoleon.

climb arc de triomphe

There are quite some stairs to climb, but the view from the Arc de Triomphe is really phenomenal!

arc de triomphe inside

Feel free to wave if you’re standing under the Arc. Maybe you’ll see somebody waving back at you from the inside!

The view from the Arc de Triomphe

The moment suprême is of course when you climb the last steps and get to see the phenomenal view over Paris.
From the roof terrace you can see very far on a clear day. Buildings that you immediately notice are perhaps the Eiffel Tower and the Grande Arche. But also the gigantic Champs-Élysées and the Roue de Paris (Ferris wheel) immediately pop up.
If you would like to get an overview of all the monuments and sights that you can see from here, I advise you to step on one of the platforms. On them you see what you can see exactly and in which direction you have to look.

Take your time, because this is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful viewpoints of Paris!

arc de triomphe platform

From these platforms you know exactly where to look. They show you where you can find some of the monuments of Paris.

view from arc de triomphe

Say so for yourself: the view from the Arc de Triomphe is beautiful, isn’t it?

Arc de Triomphe tickets

Tickets for the Arc de Triomphe cost €12 per person.
Are you less than 26 years old and do you have a European identity card? Then I have very good news for you, because then the access is free! This also applies to many monuments in the French capital: so make good use of it!

Would you like to visit the Arc de Triomphe with a guide? Then you pay €30 for that (with admission ticket included).

If you’re planning to visit several monuments, sites and museums, I recommend buying a ‘Paris Pass‘. There are several options, but with most you can buy a pass for 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 days.
With this pass you can immediately visit several sights at an advantageous rate. Whichever Paris Pass you choose, the Arc de Triomphe is included with every provider.

 

» All tours and excursions in Paris

Tips to make your visit more pleasant

  • Don’t take too much with you. Large backpacks and bags aren’t allowed in anyway, but it also makes the security check much easier and faster.
  • Ladies, don’t wear heels if you plan to climb the Arc de Triomphe. You have to get up quite a few stairs to get to the top! Flip-flops are therefore not the ideal footwear either…
  • Keep an eye on the weather forecast. In foggy or gray weather you can’t see very far and the view from the Arc de Triomphe isn’t as impressive as in good weather.
arc de triomphe view

You want to miss as little as possible of this view! So choose a day with good weather to visit this triumphal arch.

A little bit of history

In 1806 Napoleon commissioned the construction of the Arc de Triomphe after he had won a major battle. This monumental building was to be completed only thirty years later (in 1836), and that while Napoleon was already dead for several years at that time. This long construction period had to do with the death of the architect, but also because Napoleon had to endure a lot of military setbacks. It wasn’t until 1832 that the building was being resumed, and barely four years later the triumphal arch was finally completed. After the Arc de Triomphe was built, the square on which this colossal monument stands was also redesigned. In addition to the five avenues that already led to this junction, another seven were added. To make this square even more impressive, the façades of the houses and buildings around it were redesigned as well.

Symbolism of the Arc de Triomphe

The original architect, Jean-François Chalgrin, took the Roman triumphal arches as an example and subsequently gave it a French twist. You’ll see many beautiful sculptures on this landmark that represent important moments in the French history. On the inside of the arch 558 names of generals are engraved, who had served mainly under Napoleon. At the very top of the Arc de Triomphe you can see all kinds of shields where Napoleon’s greatest victories are celebrated. After World War One, a Tomb of the unknown soldier was constructed under the Arc. Since 1834, an eternal flame was added to commemorate all war victims.

If you also visit the inside of the Arc de Triomphe, you will see some statues dating back from just after the First World War or from the time of Napoleon.

arc de triomphe facts

Quite a lot of shields are engraved in the arc, but you can see even more names!

Arc de Triomphe facts

  • A visit to the Arc de Triomphe is not a good idea for people with vertigo! After all, this structure is 50 meters (164 ft) high, 45 meters (147 ft) wide, 22 meters (72 ft) deep and weighs no less than 100,000 tonnes. That equals the weight of more than 16,000 elephants!
  • The Arc de Triomphe stands on one of the most important junctions of Paris. There are no fewer than twelve roads coming together here! You won’t see me driving here for sure!
  • Did you know that there is another (smaller) imitation of the Arc de Triomphe? And where else can it be than in Las Vegas!
  • There are three people who tried to fly under the Arc de Triomphe with a plane, but only one really succeeded.
  • This monument is located in a perfectly straight line with the Louvre.
  • The memorial flame in honor of the victims of WWI and II has been burning almost non-stop since 1923… Until June 30, 1998, at least. Because then a drunken football fan peed on the fire so that it was extinguished for a short amount of time… The man was immediately caught and arrested.
  • In 1995, a bomb was placed near the Arc that cost the lives of 17 people.
arc de triomphe tickets

Book your tickets for the Arc de Triomphe in advance and avoid queues.

Opening hours

The Arc de Triomphe receives visitors every day of the year, with the exception of 1 January, 1 May, 8 May (morning), 14 July, 11 November (morning) and 25 December. You can visit this monument every day from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. From 1 April to 30 September you can even climb the triumphal arch until 11 p.m. Please note that no new visitors will be admitted until 45 minutes before closing time.

grande arche arc de triomphe view

The view of the Grande Arche from the Arc de Triomphe.

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Hi, I'm Sam Van den Haute. The last three years I've been traveling the world almost constantly. Heading out for an adventure and visiting the most beautiful places are what I love to do! Let me inspire you with great stories, beautiful pictures and handy tips from my adventures and travels. On my facebook page and instagram account you'll get to see the latest updates and photos to inspire you for your next vacation.
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