13 September 2007
L'Arc de Triomphe with a purpose
The Arc de Triomphe, which is at the top of the Avenue des Champs-Elysées, was ordered built by Napoleon in 1806, but it wasn't finished until 30 years later. It sits in the middle of a big round place, or plaza, from which radiate out 12 wide avenues. If you've been to Paris, you've probably been to see it, or you've seen it from afar.
The arch is 50 meters tall and 45 meters wide. That's 165 feet by 148 feet. For comparison, the towers of Notre Dame are higher at 69 meters, or 226 feet. Under the arch lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, placed there in 1920.
The names of 558 generals are listed on the walls of the arch. Some of the names are underlined, and CHM and I wondered why. According to the Michelin Green Guide, those are generals who died in the field. As for General David, he was one of CHM's great-great-great uncles. He died
in the early 1800s at the age of 35 or so.