Arc de Triomphe & Champs Elysées, Paris, France

Obelisk, la concorde, Paris, France

The Concorde Egyptian obelisk.

Visiting the Arc de Triomphe and Champs Elysées

champs elysees and arc de triomphe, Paris, France

The Arc de Triomphe seen from the Champs Elysées.

The Champs-Elysées stretches from this obelisk at the Place de la Concorde roundabout (which is at one end of the Jardin Tuileries, which is at one end of the Louvre Museum. . . ) straight to the Arc de Triomphe.

A stroll from the Louvre to the Arc is an unwavering line of about 3 kilometres (almost 2 miles); if you care to continue straight on to La Défense it’ll be another 3 kilometres.

Not by any means the most interesting walk in Paris but what a tourist gotta do. . .

Like other Paris myths that no longer apply (doggy-doo coating the streets and surly locals) Paris drivers are much more disciplined and pedestrian-aware these days so crossing the road is rarely a near-death experience.

Champs Elysées on pedestrians only day, Paris, France

On some festival days the entire Champs Elysées is closed to traffic and suddenly the size of the avenue becomes apparent.

champs elysees shop, Paris, France

There are a few stunning flagship shops but plenty of downmarket places too. Big Macs have a site near the Arc. Peugeot cars, Yes! Concept cars! Mercedes, No, boring!

Café on Champs Elysees, Paris, France

Not our idea of a good time but evenings are busy in cafés and restaurants along here.

Tourists leaving the Arc de Triomphe, Paris, France

Tourists leaving the Arc de Triomphe.

Crossing the eternally busy junction of 12 roads is easy via a subway (underpass) but there are those who like to challenge the French drivers by doing a runner.

Tourists lining up to climb the Arc de Triomphe, Paris, France

Lining up to ascend the Arc de Triomphe, with La Defense visible in the background.

The Arc de Triomphe is a grand sight, built in 1836 to celebrate Napoleon’s victories, particularly the Battle of Austerlitz in 1805. The Arc epitomises French dedication to La Gloire. The lines to get up to the viewing platform on top are also grand but less glorious.

Evenings up to 11 pm at the Arc are much less busy – but anyway still use your Museum Pass to jump the queue!

Opening times: April – September, 10am to 11pm (but entry closes half an hour before). October – March 10am to 10. 30pm.

La Defense, Paris, France

La Defense seen from the Arc de Triomphe.

arc de triomphe sculpture, Paris, France

French volunteers were in such a hurry to fight Austria and Prussia in 1792 that they forgot to put their pants on.

The Arc is decorated with various spectacular friezes and sculptures dedicated to martial moments in Napoleon’s history as well as an eternal flame burning in honour of The Unknown Soldier of World War I. Inside the Arch is a small, interesting museum of the history and events surrounding it.

Near the Arc de Triomphe: not much to do other than walk the Champs Elysées.