European Heritage Days
There is free entry to the monument on “European Heritage Days.” They are organised for the 3rd weekend of September as well as the first Sunday of the month from January 1st to March 31st as well as the first Sunday of November and December.
Safely crossing to the Arc de Triomphe
The roundabout surrounding the monument has almost continual heavy traffic. The recommended route for pedestrians to use is the underpasses located at the Avenue de la Grande Armee and on the Champs Elysees.
At one time the world’s tallest triumphal arch
With a height of 50 metres the Arc de Triomphe was the world’s tallest triumphal arch until 1938 when it was surpassed by Mexico City’s Monumento a la Revolución. The title of world’s tallest arch returned to Paris with the completion of La Grande Arche in La Defense and measures 110 metres in height.
On permanent display
There is a permanent exhibition inside the monument by the artist Maurice Benayoun which opened in 2007. The exhibition has a symbolic message questioning the balance between war and peace over the last two centuries.
Shields and names of 660
Above the sculptured frieze of soldiers are 30 shields with the names of major French victories engraved from the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars. On the inside walls are the names of 660 soldiers. 558 of those names are of French generals of the First French Empire. Those names underlined are those killed in battle.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier lies beneath the Arc. It contains the remains of a soldier from WW1 and was interred on Armistice Day in 1920. It is the first eternal flame in Europe since the fourth century when the Vestal Virgins fire was extinguished. The eternal flame burns in memory of those that died during both world wars but were never identified. Every year on November 11th a ceremony takes place on the anniversary of the armistice at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.