How to Visit the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France

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Last Updated on 28th March 2019 by Sophie Nadeau

This post is most definitely long overdue! As many of you already know, I arrived in Paris just over a week ago. In celebration of my move to Paris, I am doing a blog post on my trip up the Arc de Triomphe! With a café on every street corner and stunning architecture, who wouldn’t want to spend some time living in this gorgeous city? And what better way to view the city than from above?


A little history of the Arc de Triomphe

The Arc de Triomphe (full name L’Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile) was built in the early 1800s, having been commissioned by Napoleon following a victory at the battle of Austerlitz. It is sometimes confused with the smaller Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel which lies in a direct line to the East, opposite the Louvre. It’s also not the Original Arc de Triomphe; that one is situated in Orange, Provence!

Finally inaugurated in 1836, the larger Arc de Triomphe is the centerpiece to a roundabout with 12 avenues- I imagine it would be easy to take the wrong turning… Did you know that it was the largest triumphal arch in the world until the 1930s?

Did you know that it is one of the only roundabouts in the world where vehicles coming onto the roundabout have priority over vehicles already on it? Beneath the arch lies the flame and tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Every November 11th, a ceremony is held on the day of the armistice ending WW1, signed in 1918.


Here’s a little of how a visit to the Arc de Triomphe will go…

Although the site is free for, under 26 EEE nationals, you still have to queue for a free ticket to ascend the Arc de Triomphe! (I’m guessing it’s because they want to keep a tab on visitor numbers).

Just like when I went up the Eiffel Tower, I went up during the day, watched the sunset and was also able to see Paris by night! I definitely recommend this as you are able to see Paris in every possible light!

After queuing for what seemed like an eternity, I finally got my free ticket before proceeding to (you guessed it) another queue. However, before we knew it, we were ascending one of the two beautiful spiral staircases that flank either side of the interior of the monument. However don’t worry as because the Arc de Triomphe is only 50m high, there aren’t too many stairs to climb! 


At the top of the Arc de Triomphe…

Once at the top, there is a gift shop, slide show and a little bit of information about the Arc de Triomphe. There is also a small exhibition on the history of military uniforms in France (some of them looked pretttttty uncomfortable)!

Okay, so after being seduced by the gift shop and exploring the origins of the Arc de Triomphe, you finally ascend yet another flight of stairs in order to reach the roof. There, you are rewarded with the most stunning views of Paris. 360-degree views allow you to see the Eiffel Tower, Les Invalides and everything in-between.

As there is a law against building skyscrapers in the vast majority of Parisian arrondissements, there is nothing blocking your view of the city of lights (perfect). On your descent down, you get to go down the other spiral staircase. (#theworldneedsmorespiralstaircases). All in all, I stayed up the Arc de Triomphe for at least two hours just gazing at the beautiful city views.

arc de triomphe view france paris

Prices for visiting the Arc de Triomphe:

Under 26 EEE citizens- free, Under 18- free

How to visit: My favourite way of visiting the Arc de Triomphe is by walking up the Champs Elysees in order to get a full view of the tower and surrounding buildings. (It’s also more rewarding when you finally reach the top)!  Click here for more info…

arc de triomphe paris visit france

About Author

Sophie Nadeau loves dogs, books, Paris, pizza, and history, though not necessarily in that order. A fan of all things France related, she runs when she's not chasing after the next sunset shot or consuming her weight in sweet food. Currently based in Paris after studies in London, she's spent most of her life living in the beautiful Devonian countryside in South West England!

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