It was commissioned in 1806 by Napoleon Bonaparte and completed in 1836, in the reign of King Louis-Philippe. Upon its completion, the Arc de Triomphe was so far from the center of town almost no one showed up for the opening ceremony. The design is by Jean Chalgrin (1739-1811), in the style of ancient Roman architecture. The four statues at the base of the Arc are titled The Triumph of 1810, Resistance, Peace and La Marseillaise. Around the top of the Arc are engraved the names of major Revolutionary and Napoleonic military victories. The inside walls of the monument list the names of 558 French generals. The names of those who died in battle are underlined.
The Place de L'Etoile was extensively redesigned by Baron Haussmann.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from the First World War, has the first eternal flame ever used, burning in memory of the dead who were never identified. A ceremony is held there every November 11 on the anniversary of the armistice signed between France and Germany in 1918. It lies beneath the Arc.
The Tour de France race culminates here every year.
Pedestrian access to the Arc de Triomphe is via an underpass. Metro access: Charles-de-Gaulle--Étoile. From the top there is an excellent view of all of Paris, of the thirteen major avenues leading to the Arc and of the exceptionally busy roundabout in which the Arc lies.