The signification of the arc of triumph finds its origin in the old Roman war religion: at the end of military campaigns, all the warriors had to pass under the “magic door” to discharge their destructive energies that could be nocuous for their fellow-men . The Arc de Triomphe better known as the Arc de l’Etoile (for it is the center and starting point of several avenues that spread away from it like the rays of a star), does not retain the same religious meaning as the roman arch. The arch, built from designs of Chalgrin, in 1806, was originally the wish of Napoleon Bonaparte to glorify, him and his army, for the multiple campaigns and victory they had been throught during his short career.
Uncompleted before his death, Louis – Phillipe brought the consruction to an end. It is the largest triumphal arch in the world; the arch itself being 90 feet high and 45 feet wide. The groups of sculptures which adorn it are by Rude, Cortot and Etex; that by Rude, of the Genius of War summoning the nation to arms ( la Marseillaise) is the best.
The arch can be ascended and there is a magnificent view of Paris from above.