Napoleon I commissioned Arc de Triomphe in 1806 to celebrate the most extraordinary times of the French military’s prowess.
Everybody falls in love with the fantastic Parisian view from the observatory space at the top of this massive arc.
Almost two million tourists visit Arc de Triomphe every year.
Table of contents
- What is Arc de Triomphe
- How to reach Arc de Triomphe
- How to avoid Arc de Triomphe traffic
- Arc de Triomphe hours
- Is Arc de Triomphe free?
- Arc de Triomphe tickets
- FAQs on Arc de Triomphe tickets
- Best time to visit Arc de Triomphe
- How long does Arc de Triomphe take
- Arc de Triomphe – day or night?
- Arc de Triomphe reviews
What is Arc de Triomphe
Arc de Triomphe is the world’s second largest Arc. The first being the Arc in Pyongyang, North Korea.
Inspired by the Arch of Titus in Rome, designed by Jean Chalgrin and commissioned to be built by Napoleon in 1806, Arc de Triomphe honors the sacrifices of the French army.
Legendary artists such as Jean Chalgrin, Jean-Nicolas Huyot, Jean-Arnaud Raymond, Louis-Robert Goust and Guillaume-Abel Blouet have worked on the Parisian arch.
Some make it a half-day outing by opting for the Arc de Triomphe entry + Seine Cruise combo.
How to reach Arc de Triomphe
Arc de Triomphe stands at the western end of the Champs-Élysées at the center of Place Charles de Gaulle, Paris. Get Directions
You can board Line 1, 2, and 6 of Paris Subway and get down at Charles de Gaulle-Etoile station, the closest station.
Réseau Express Régional (RER) is a hybrid suburban commuter system serving France, Paris, and its suburbs.
RER’s Line A trains can help you get to the Charles de Étoile station
Arc de Triomphe is just 100 meters (325 feet) from Charles de Gaulle-Etoile station.
Bus routes 22, 30, 31, 52, 73, 92, and Balabus can also get you closer to the attraction.
If it is your first time in Paris, we recommend the bus because you get to see the city.
We don’t recommend arriving at Arc de Triomphe by car because driving in Paris is difficult, you may get caught in traffic, and once you reach, you may not find a parking spot.
How to avoid Arc de Triomphe traffic
The Arc de Triomphe is in the middle of a traffic circle with 12 roads converging.
Each of these roads is at least five lanes wide, thus resulting in massive traffic.
So much so even insurance companies fear this Arc de Triomphe round-a-bout.
Arc de Triomphe’s underground tunnel
To avoid the traffic, you can take the stairs from the Northside of Champs-Elysées, which lead the visitors to the underground tunnel.
If you arrive by metro, get off at station Charles de Gaulle Etoile and follow the signs to the underground passage. Directions to the underground tunnel
Arc de Triomphe hours
Arc de Triomphe opens at 10 am, all through the year.
From April to September, Arc de Triomphe closes at 11 pm, and from October to March, it closes at 10.30 pm.
The last entry is always 45 minutes before closing.
Arc de Triomphe is closed on New Year’s Eve (1 Jan), Labor Day (1 May), Bastille day (14 July), and Christmas (25 December).
On Armistice (11 November), and World War 2 victory day (8 May), the monument is closed in the morning.
The monument only admits a certain number of visitors at a time, and when it reaches its peak capacity, the ticket counters may close early. That’s why it makes better sense to buy Arc de Triomphe tickets in advance.
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Is Arc de Triomphe free?
You can walk around the base and under the arches of the Arc de Triomphe without paying any fee.
When you are standing under the central arch, the monument seems even more massive.
On this free tour, you can read the names of the 660 Generals and observe the grand reliefs on the exterior.
But to go up the Arc de Triomphe and see the fantastic views of Paris, you need to buy the tickets.
Arc de Triomphe free entry
On special days it is possible to go up Arc de Triomphe without buying a ticket.
Entry to this massive monument is free on the 1st Sunday of January, February, March, November, and December.
Admission to Arc de Triomphe is also free on the Saturdays and Sundays of the ‘European Heritage Days’ which is organized on the 3rd weekend of September.
The Arc de Triomphe also allows free entry to young people under 18 (with valid ID cards).
It is also free for EU citizens who are 18 to 25 years old.
If you don’t qualify for free entry, we recommend you buy your Arc de Triomphe tickets and go up. The view will be worth it.
Free with Paris Passes
For a one-time, flat fee, numerous discount cards help you access all the top Parisian attractions for free – including Arc de Triomphe.
Besides saving money, you also save time with these Passes – thanks to the skip-the-line entry at most places.
Arc de Triomphe tickets
Two kinds of tickets can take you to the rooftop.
You can opt for the regular ‘skip the line’ ticket or book a guided tour with a local expert.
These tickets get delivered to your smartphone within five minutes of your purchase.
On the day of your visit, walk up to the entrance, show the ticket on your mobile and enter. No need to take printouts!
Skip the Line rooftop tickets
These are the cheapest and the most popular tickets.
With these, you directly go to the stairs located on the right-hand side of the ticket office.
Once inside, you enter through the ‘reserved entry line’ after showing your ticket at the security check.
Kids below 18 years, EU citizens aged 18-25, disabled visitors with valid IDs, and their carers enter for free.
Adult ticket (18+ years): €12
Guided tour of Arc de Triomphe
With this ticket, besides skipping the long lines, you also get to hear exciting stories and anecdotes from a local guide.
After the guide is done with their 90 minutes tour, you can continue to stay on the roof and enjoy the views for as long as you want.
Adult ticket (18+ years): €29.99
Youth ticket (10-17 years): €16
Kids (up to 9 years): Free entry
FAQs on Arc de Triomphe tickets
Before buying Arc de Triomphe tickets, visitors have lots of questions.
We try and answer these questions –
- Do I need tickets to visit Arc de Triomphe?
If you only want to explore the monumental arch and the Unknown Soldier’s flame below, you don’t need to buy tickets.
To go to the top of the Arc de Triomphe and see stunning views of Paris, you need to buy tickets.
- Can I purchase Arc de Triomphe Paris tickets online?
Yes, you can buy Arc de Triomphe tickets online here.
When you buy them in advance, you save yourself at least 20 minutes of waiting time during peak periods.
- Where is the ticket office at Arc de Triomphe?
Arc de Triomphe’s ticket office in under the arch, but you are sure to find long lines at the ticket counter.
We highly recommend you buy your tickets online.
- Can I buy same-day Arc de Triomphe tickets?
Yes, you can purchase same-day (or next day’s) Arc de Triomphe tickets.
You can do this from the ticket counters at the venue, or if you want to save yourself waiting time, you can buy the tickets online.
- Are Arc de Triomphe tickets timed?
Yes, you must select a time of visit while booking your Arc de Triomphe tickets.
You need to be at the attraction at least 15 minutes before the time mentioned on your ticket.
- What are Arc de Triomphe rooftop tickets?
These are the skip the line tickets that allow you access to the observatory on the top of Arc de Triomphe.
- Is there something called an Arc de Triomphe lift ticket?
There is nothing called an Arc de Triomphe lift ticket. Whichever ticket you have – self-guided tour ticket or guided tour ticket – you can use the lift.
You can decide to take the lift until half the distance and climb 64 additional steps or climb all the 284 steps to the top.
Most end up taking the stairs because of the long lines for the elevator.
- Is Arc de Triomphe free for students?
It is fair to say that this Parisian monument is free for students because visitors under 18 years of age don’t need to buy tickets.
European Union citizens and regularized EU residents aged 18-25 can also walk in for free.
- How much does the Arc de Triomphe child ticket cost?
Since all visitors under 18 years of age don’t need to buy Arc de Triomphe tickets, kids can enter for free.
Only tourists who are 18+ and European Union residents older than 25 years need to buy tickets.
Best time to visit Arc de Triomphe
The best time to visit Arc de Triomphe is after 6.30 pm because by then, the crowd has left, the flame of the Unknown Soldier lights up, and you can see a fully lit-up Champs Elysées from the rooftop.
As the darkness takes over, you also enjoy the best views of the Eiffel Tower, Sacré Coeur, and Louvre from Arc de Triomphe’s observation deck.
Sunset from Arc de Triomphe
If you want to see the sunset from the observation deck of Are de Triomphe, the best time to visit is between 4.30 to 5.30 pm.
During this period, the wait in ticket lines can last 15-20 minutes.
You can avoid this wait if you purchase Arc de Triomphe tickets much in advance.
How long does Arc de Triomphe take
Most visitors spend an hour or so exploring Arc de Triomphe.
Fifteen to 20 minutes to wait in the ticketing line, 15 minutes to climb the 284 steps (lift is usually busy), 15 minutes to enjoy the view, and another 10 minutes to climb down.
You can take an elevator to the mid-level and climb 64 stairs to the top, but the queue for the elevator is pretty long.
If you don’t plan to go up to the rooftop, 15-20 minutes you can walk around Arc de Triomphe and explore the arch and the Unknown Soldier’s flame.
Avoid waiting in ticketing lines
If you buy Arc de Triomphe tickets online, you can save 15-20 minutes of standing in the ticketing line.
The lines get long during the peak season of April to September, Easter & Christmas, public holidays, the weekend of 14 July, the weekend of 15 August, and the French holidays.
Arc de Triomphe – day or night?
Regardless of when you visit this monument, you will enjoy the historical beauty and mesmerizing view of Paris from the top.
If you can afford it (and if your legs can take the climb), we recommend you try this once during the day and once at night.
However, if you are short of time, visit Arc de Triomphe at night.
The pretty lights shimmering over the entire city is worth climbing all the stairs.
View from Arc de Triomphe at night
The panoramic city view, dizzying traffic lights, and the Champs Elysées can make Arc de Triomphe one of the best spots to see Paris at night.
From the top of the Arc, most Parisian landmarks can be spotted, along with the wild traffic around the base.
At night, the Eiffel tower seems incredibly close to Arc de Triomphe.
Twinkling and sparkling under the night sky, it is the prettiest sight on the Paris landscape.
The view down the tree-lined Champs-Élysées towards Place de la Concorde and Louvre museum is mesmerizing.
The Tower of Montparnasse, the twin towers of Notre Dame, and the white Basilica of Sacré-Coeur are also visible in the distance.
The Eternal flame also looks more beautiful and prominent at night.
It is not very crowded, so you can take your time clicking photos.
Loved it, didn’t you? Book your Arc de Triomphe ticket!
Arc de Triomphe reviews
Tourists who have visited this Parisian attraction rave about the experience.
It isn’t for nothing that the Arc de Triomphe is rated highly on Tripadvisor.
Check out two of the reviews we found useful –
Walk to the top
You need to walk towards The Arc De Triomphe from a distance to appreciate its presence. One of the ultimate venues to visit in Paris and take the time to walk to the top. You definitely won’t regret the effort of walking up the stairs. Enjoy. David R
A gem of an attraction
Well, this really is a gem—everything written in English as well. You can get good photos from the outside of the roundabout, but pay the extra few Euro and go inside to see what it is really like.
If you go inside and up the top, you will get amazing Eiffel Tower views and the roads leading up. The war memorial for the first world was beneath it is a moving monument that would be worth the trip. – Colin D, UK
Recommended reading: Arc de Triomphe facts
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