Photo: Eric Isselee/Shutterstock

Flag, Flame, and Fantastic Views: What You Need to Know Before Visiting Paris's Arc de Triomphe

Paris Insider Guides Culture
by Morgane Croissant Feb 8, 2023

A trip to Paris is not complete without a visit of the Eiffel Tower, a day in the Louvre, and a stroll along the most famous street in all of France: the Champs-Elysées. And once you’ve walked the length of this iconic avenue, from the Place de la Concorde with its Egyptian obelisk, via the presidential residence (the Elysées Palace), the Petit Palais art museum, and the many, many shops and restaurants, there is only one more place to stop at: the Arc de Triomphe. The massive arch at the very end of the Champs-Elysées is one of the most recognizable French monuments, and you can visit it.

Where is the Arc de Triomphe located?

Aerial view of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris

Photo: Eric Isselee/Shutterstock

The Arc de Triomphe is located at the western end of the Champs-Elysées. The arch is in the very center of the Place Charles de Gaulle (more commonly known as the Place de l’Etoile), a round plaza that is also the meeting point of 12 busy streets, including the Champs-Elysées.

How to get to Paris’s Arc de Triomphe?

The easiest way to get to the Arc de Triomphe is by taking the metro or the regional train (RER). Metro lines 1, 2, and 6, and RER A, will get you straight to the station Charles de Gaulle-Etoile that is located a few hundred feet from the arch. The station Charles de Gaulle-Etoile has nine possible exists, but that the exist signs labeled “Champs-Élysées Arc de Triomphe” are the ones you want to follow. Use the underground passageway besides the station to access the center of the Place de l’Etoile. Do not attempt to cross the street at ground level — your odds of getting squished by a car are high.

Who built the Arc de Triomphe, when, and why?

The construction of the Arc de Triomphe was a project spearheaded by French emperor Napoléon I in the early 19th century. The goal of the arch was to honor the brave soldiers of Napoléon’s army. Architects Jean-François Thérèse Chalgrin and Jean-Arnaud Raymond designed the arch and construction began exactly on August 15, 1806. The arch was inaugurated on July 29, 1836 by French king Louis-Philipe, and dedicated to the soldiers of the French Revolution and of the Napoleonic Empire.

The Arc de Triomphe in numbers

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris

Photo: Dragos Asaftei/Shutterstock

  • The Arc de Triomphe is 164-foot tall, 148-foot long, and 72-foot wide.
  • It took 30 years to build the arch, from August 1806 to July 1836. In comparison, it took only 22 months and five days to build the Eiffel Tower.
  • Since November 11, 1920, the area below the arch is home to the tomb of an unknown soldier who died during World War I. The tomb is meant to pay homage to all the French soldiers who lost their lives in the conflict.
  • Since November 11, 1923, there is an eternal flame burning besides the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to symbolically keep the memory of those who died in the war alive. The flame is rekindled daily at 6:30 PM.
  • The French flag is raised above the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier several times a year, including on Remembrance Day (November 11), Victory in Europe Day (May 8), and Bastille Day (July 14).
  • There are 264 steps to reach the top of the Arc de Triomphe.

When does the Arc de Triomphe open and close?

The Arc de Triomphe is open from 10 AM to 10:30 PM every day in the winter, and from 10 AM to 11 PM in the summer. The arch is closed on January 1, May 1, May 8 (morning), July 14 (morning), July 24, November 11 (morning), and December 25.

How do you get to the top of the Arc de Triomphe?

There is a long spiral staircase consisting of 264 steps to get to the top of the arch. There is an elevator for those with reduced mobility that gets visitors partway there, with 64 steps left to reach the top.

The views from the observation deck are fantastic. From there you’ll see the Eiffel Tower and more Parisian monuments.

How much does it cost to go to the top of the Arc de Triomphe?

The famous Arc de Triomphe against nice blue sky. The Arc de Triomphe monument at at the western end of the Champs-Elysées road in Paris, France

Photo: kan_khampanya/Shutterstock

The area at ground level, where the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the eternal flame are located, is free to access. However, if you want to climb to the top of the arch, you need to purchase a ticket.

General admission costs $13.95 (13 €). Admission is free for children under the age of 18. Discounts may apply; please check the official website to see if you can benefit from them.

Admission to the arch is free on the third weekend of September and the first Sunday or every month from January 1 to March 31 and November 1 to December 31.

It is strongly recommended to purchase your ticket online in advance if you want to avoid long lines.

Where to stay in Paris to be near the Arc de Triomphe

We hope you love the spaces and stays we recommend in Paris! Just so you know, Matador may collect a small commission from the links on this page if you decide to book a stay.

Hôtel Napoleon Paris


One of the few hotels in Paris to be so close to the Arc de Triomphe, the Hôtel Napoleon Paris is a five-star establishment with classic and tasteful decor. Potential guests can request a room with a view on the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower, or a view of the hotel’s peaceful inner courtyard. The hotel has a French restaurant on site, the Bivouac Café, a bar, and a fitness center.

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Sofitel Paris Arc De Triomphe


A seven-minute walk to the Arc de Triomphe, the hotel Sofitel Paris Arc De Triomphe does not have views of the iconic French monument. However, what the hotel lacks in vistas, it makes up in a beautiful, modern decor throughout. The hotel Sofitel Paris Arc De Triomphe has an on-site restaurant, Les Cocottes, and a bar. For an added touch of luxury, every room if fitted with Bose audio speaker with bluetooth, a Nespresso coffee machine, and Balmain or Hermès toiletries.

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Hôtel Galileo Champs Elysées


Guests at the Hôtel Galileo Champs Elysées only need to take an eight-minute walk on the Champs-Elysées to reach the Arc de Triomphe. This hotel’s location allows guests to explore the best of Paris on foot, or even on one the bikes that the hotel provides. The Hôtel Galileo Champs Elysées serves a lovely breakfast, and has two lounges where guests can relax after a long day of traipsing around the French capital.

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