I may not have made it to the Eiffel tower when I was in Paris, but I did get to the Arc De Triomphe. I must say, it is probably more awesome anyways. Towering huge over the buildings around it, the Arc stands proudly in the middle of Place Charles de Gaulle, a traffic circle of sorts. Built by Napoleon for his conquering troops to parade underneath, the Arc has served this heroic detail for the French military ever since. It was even utilized for American troops during World War II as they strutted underneath this grand structure and down Champs-Elysees in August 1944.

Although I did not get to march underneath the Arc as a conquering war hero, I did get to climb on top of it. From atop the structure you can see all over the city, even at night thanks to the city’s prominence in the field of illumination. Multiple roads lead straight to the circle in which the archstands which gives a peculiar feeling, as though you are standing in the middle of the city. All lit up and bustling with cars, these boulevards seemed quite picturesque from on top of the Arc. The Eiffel tower too looks quite nice from atop the Arc as it rises jaggedly from the buildings below it and boasts a very impressive light display. One of the more interesting parts of standing on top of the Arc is the buildings around it. At the end of all of the avenues which lead to Arc, there is the exact same building. This must be due to some sort of construction ordinance, but there they are; those peculiar shaped buildings that crown the

One of the Buildings crowning the circle around the Arc

heads of the streets closest to the Arc De Triomphe. I thought it was pretty neat how the Parisian government had managed to make sure that there was this level of continuity in the structures surrounding the monument. You hardly ever see anything that well organized in the States.

Even if you can’t make it on top of the Arc for whatever reason, the ground level is pretty neat as well. The commemorative structure is so tall that you almost break your neck by trying to look up at it. It is worth the possible medical injury though, since the building is adorned with all sorts of inscriptions about Napoleonic and French conquests, as well as a plethora of eye catching low relief sculptures. While the four most notable sculptures adorn the outside corners of the Arc, the inside is riddled with well-done floral figurines all over the roof.

It was a very impressive structure to say the least. In fact, if I had not known anything about French military prowess since Napoleon I may have believed it to be very triumphant indeed.