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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 after the victory at Austerlitz by Emperor Napoleon at the peak of his fortunes.
Laying the foundations alone took two years and, in , when Napoleon entered Paris from the west with his bride Archduchess Marie-Louise of Austria, he had a wooden mock-up of the completed arch constructed.
On 15 December , brought back to France from Saint Helena , Napoleon's remains passed under it on their way to the Emperor's final resting place at the Invalides.
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 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.
Famous victory marches around or under the Arc have included the Germans in , the French in , the Germans in , and the French and Allies in  and After the interment of the Unknown Soldier, however, all military parades including the aforementioned post have avoided marching through the actual arch.
The route taken is up to the arch and then around its side, out of respect for the tomb and its symbolism. Both Hitler in and de Gaulle in observed this custom.
By the early s, the monument had grown very blackened from coal soot and automobile exhaust, and during — it was cleaned through bleaching.
In , 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.
The astylar design is by Jean Chalgrin — , in the Neoclassical version of ancient Roman architecture see, for example, the triumphal Arch of Titus.
Major academic sculptors of France are represented in the sculpture of the Arc de Triomphe: The face of the allegorical representation of France calling forth her people on this last was used as the belt buckle for the honorary rank of Marshal of France.
Since the fall of Napoleon , the sculpture representing Peace is interpreted as commemorating the Peace of 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.
Also inscribed, on the shorter sides of the four supporting columns, are the names of the major French victories in the Napoleonic Wars.
The battles that took place in the period between the departure of Napoleon from Elba to his final defeat at Waterloo are not included.
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 Interred on Armistice Day ,  it has the first eternal flame lit in Western and Eastern Europe since the Vestal Virgins ' fire was extinguished in the fourth century.
It burns in memory of the dead who were never identified now in both world wars. 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 The coffin was put in the chapel on the first floor of the Arc on 10 November , and put in its final resting place on 28 January In , American President John F.
After the assassination of President Kennedy , Mrs Kennedy remembered the eternal flame at the Arc de Triomphe and requested that an eternal flame be placed next to her husband's grave at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
President Charles de Gaulle went to Washington to attend the state funeral, and witnessed Jacqueline Kennedy lighting the eternal flame that had been inspired by her visit to France.
La bataille d'Aboukir , 25 July La bataille de Jemmappes , 6 November Le passage du pont d'Arcole , 15 November La prise d'Alexandrie , 3 July La bataille d'Austerlitz , 2 December First World War monument.