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Paris, Triumphbogen — 2014 — 1624. The Arc de Triomphe should not be confused with a smaller arch, the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, which stands west of the Louvre. The smaller transverse vaults are 18. The Arc is located on the right bank of the Seine at the centre of a dodecagonal configuration of twelve radiating avenues. It was commissioned in 1806 after the victory at Austerlitz by Emperor Napoleon at the peak of his fortunes. The sword carried by the Republic in the Marseillaise relief broke off on the day, it is said, that the Battle of Verdun began in 1916. The relief was immediately hidden by tarpaulins to conceal the accident and avoid any undesired ominous interpretations.

Following its construction, the Arc de Triomphe became the rallying point of French troops parading after successful military campaigns and for the annual Bastille Day Military Parade. 1966 it was cleaned through bleaching. In the prolongation of the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, a new arch, the Grande Arche de la Défense, was built in 1982, completing the line of monuments that forms Paris’s Axe historique. In 1995, the Armed Islamic Group of Algeria placed a bomb near the Arc de Triomphe which wounded 17 people as part of a campaign of bombings. Avenues radiate from the Arc de Triomphe in Place Charles de Gaulle, the former Place de l’Étoile.

The Arc de Triomphe is located on Paris’s Axe historique, a long perspective that runs from the Louvre to the Grande Arche de la Défense. In the attic above the richly sculptured frieze of soldiers are 30 shields engraved with the names of major French victories in the French Revolution and Napoleonic wars. For four years from 1882 to 1886, a monumental sculpture by Alexandre Falguière topped the arch. It remained there only four years before falling in ruins. Inside the monument, a permanent exhibition conceived by the artist Maurice Benayoun and the architect Christophe Girault opened in February 2007. The steel and new media installation interrogates the symbolism of the national monument, questioning the balance of its symbolic message during the last two centuries, oscillating between war and peace.

Beneath the Arc is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I. A ceremony is held at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier every 11 November on the anniversary of the armistice signed by the Entente Powers and Germany in 1918. In 1961, American President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy paid their respects at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, accompanied by French President Charles de Gaulle. Le Triomphe de 1810, by Jean-Pierre Cortot celebrates the Treaty of Schönbrunn. This group features Napoleon, crowned by the goddess of Victory. La Résistance de 1814, by Antoine Étex commemorates the French resistance to the Allied armies during the War of the Sixth Coalition.