|Photo taken in September 2002.|
The Arc de Triomphe, like all other heritage attractions in France is currently closed to visitors. It is managed by the Centre des monuments nationaux (the Centre for National Monuments).
It sits in the centre of Place de l'Etoile and a notorious multi-lane roundabout at the top of the Champs Elysées. Under normal circumstances you can access it via a pedestrian subway and climb the internal stairs to the top to see the panoramic view over Paris.
The arch was designed to reference and outdo the Roman Emperor Titus' triumphal arch by being a single span that was higher and wider. Although Napoleon Bonaparte had wanted to have it built in 1806, history intervened and it wasn't until 1836 that King Louis-Philippe, a constitutional monarch, was able to have it unveiled. He dedicated the arch to the Revolutionary Armies and the French Empire. In 1921 France's Unknown Soldier was buried under the arch, and remembrance ceremonies are held there several times a year.
Later this year, in the autumn, there will be a project to wrap the Arch in silvery blue fabric and red rope. This installation was conceived by the artist Christo, who has since died, but the authorities have announced their intention to go ahead with the work. There was to have been a simultaneous Christo and Jeanne-Claude retrospective at the Pompidou Centre, but with the dates being all messed up due to Covid19, and the Pompidou Centre about to undergo a massive restoration, I assume that is all off.
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