The Arc de Triomphe, (Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile), is one of the most famous monuments in Paris. It stands in the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle, (originallynamed Place de l'Étoile), at the western end of the Champs-Élysées. There is a smaller arch, the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, which stands west of the Louvre. The Arc deTriomphe, (in English: "Triumphal Arch"), honors those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars, with the names of all Frenchvictories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces. Underneath its vault lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I.
The Arc de Triomphe is thelinchpin of the historic axis (Axe historique) — a sequence of monuments and grand thoroughfares on a route which goes from the courtyard of the Louvre, to the GrandeArche de la Défense. The monument was designed by Jean Chalgrin in 1806, and its iconographic program pitted heroically nude French youths against bearded Germanic warriorsin chain mail. It set the tone for public monuments, with triumphant patriotic messages, until World War I.
The monument stands 50 m (160 ft) in height, 45 m (148 ft)wide and 22 m (72 ft) deep. The large vault is 29.19 m (95.8 ft) high and 14.62 m (48.0 ft) wide. The small vault is 18.68 m (61.3 ft) high and 8.44 m (27.7 ft) wide. It isthe second largest triumphal arch in existence. Its design was inspired by the Roman Arch of Titus. The Arc de Triomphe is so colossal that three weeks after the Parisvictory parade in 1919, marking the end of hostilities in World War I, Charles Godefroy flew his Nieuport biplane through it, with the event captured on newsreel.
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