Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, Paris

Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, Paris – © David H. Enzel, 2022

The Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel (Triumphal Arch of the Carousel) is located in the Place du Carrousel near the Louvre. It was built between 1806 and 1808 to commemorate Napoleon‘s military victories of 1805 in the Wars of the Third and Fourth Coalitions

The arch is 63 feet (19 m) high, 75 feet (23 m) wide, and 24 feet (7.3 m) deep. The 21 feet (6.4 m) high central arch is flanked by two smaller ones, 14 feet (4.3 m) high, and 9 feet (2.7 m) wide. Around its exterior are eight Corinthian columns of marble, topped by eight soldiers of the Empire. 

The far better known Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile, at the far end of the Champs Élysées, was designed in the same year. It’s about twice the size and was not completed until 1836.

The monument was designed by Charles Percier and Pierre François Léonard Fontaine. The arch was built on the model of the Arch of Constantine (312 AD) in Rome, as a gateway of the Tuileries Palace, the Imperial residence. The proportions of the arch were directly drawn from those of the Arch of Septimius Severus in Rome. The destruction of the Tuileries Palace during the Paris Commune in 1871, allowed an unobstructed view west towards the Arc de Triomphe.

The Frontispiece on the West Façade (side of the Tuileries) (shown above) reads as follows:

“À la voix du vainqueur d’Austerlitz
L’empire d’Allemagne tombe
La confédération du Rhin commence
Les royaumes de Bavière et de Wurtemberg sont créés
Venise est réunie à la couronne de fer
L’Italie entière se range sous les lois de son libérateur”

Before visiting Paris for the first time, I saw a film called A Little Romance starring Diane Lane, who plays a very smart 13-year-old American girl living in Paris. There is a charming scene in the film (starting at 21:14) that takes place at the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel. Although I first saw the film more than 40 years ago, the scene made me want to visit Paris and has stayed with me. The monument and its surroundings surpass what I saw in the film. I visit every time I go to Paris.

The Arc is currently being restored to ensure its stability. Work began in November 2022 and is expected to be complete by the summer of 2024.


Leave a Comment