The Arc de Triomphe

Image: Jenny Bristol

While I’ve technically been to France, it was just a tiny corner of the country during a shortcut from Luxembourg to Germany, so I don’t feel like I’ve really been to France, and certainly not to Paris. But, due to its many museums, historical sites, monuments, and food, it’s high on my list of European travel destinations. For now, though, I’m contenting myself with one of the many visual symbols of France’s capital, the Arc de Triomphe. In LEGO form. Check out my latest stop on the LEGO World Tour.

The Arc de Triomphe

Inside the box for the LEGO Arc de Triomphe—as with all Architecture sets I’ve seen—you receive a nice quality book that includes the history and background of the monument, as well as building instructions. Most of the history is at the beginning of the book, but there are also facts strewn throughout, mingled with the construction steps. The book’s history portions are in English, French, and Spanish. Here’s a bit of what I learned.

The Arc de Triomphe was built between 1806 and 1826. It was first commissioned by Napoleon I to celebrate his military conquests, but after he was defeated in 1814, work on the arch was put on hold. King Louis-Philippe I took up the building again in 1833 to honor those who had fought for France, and the monument is engraved with war victories and generals’ names. There is also an Unknown Soldier from World War I buried beneath the arch, and an eternal flame burns in remembrance of victims of world wars. The arch is modeled after the ancient Roman Arch of Constantine and is located at the western end of the Champs-Élysées, in the Place Charles de Gaulle. It remains the second largest triumphal arch in the world (the largest is the Arch of Triumph in Pyongyang, North Korea).

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