The Arc de Triomphe lies, as all good triumphs do, at the top of a hill. Walking up from the Louvre – through the gardens of Tuileries and place de la Concorde (In French, “Concorde” is capitalized, but “place”, for plaza, is not), and along the Champs-Élysées, it dominates the view.
We chose our approach carefully, so as to be dominated and impressed by monument. We arrived at 6:30 in the evening, to the ceremony of the lighting of the eternal flame, at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. They do this every day, at precisely 6:30. Rain or shine, summer and winter, the duty of the Committee for the Eternal Flame to carry out.
There is something incongruous, looking a the names of the generals involved, and the battles won during the Napoleonic period, and considering the solemnity of the ceremony. Perhaps we learn from the past? (They play La Marseillaise at the end… perhaps not?)
ICI REPOSE UN SOLDAT FRANÇAIS MORT POUR LA PATRIE 1914–1918