Love is a many splendored thing:
Once on a high and windy hill,
In the morning mist, Two lovers kissed,
And the world stood still…
But alas I am on my own in Paris, so I set off for the Arc de Triomphe. Weather was looking good and I was eager to get to the viewing platform, 50m high, lots of stairs but I made it. Cityscape as far as the eye could see!
After his greatest victory, the Battle of Austerlitz in 1805, Napoleon promised his men, “you shall go home beneath triumphal arches.” The first stone was laid the following year. Disruptions to the architect Jean Chalgrin’s plans and the demise of Napoleonic power delayed the completion until 1836. The east facade sows the departure of the French armies for new campaigns, the west side shows their return. Just below the Arc’s roof are thirty shields bearing the names of victorious Napoleonic battles fought in Europe and Africa. Underneath the arch is the tomb of an unknown soldier who died in World War I. Napoleon divorced Josephine in 1809 because she was barren. A diplomatic marriage was arranged in 1810 wit Marie-Louise, daughter of the Austrian emperor. Napoleon was determined to impress his bride by going through the Arc on their way to the wedding at the Louvre. Work had barely been started though, so a full-scale mock-up of the arch was built on the site for the couple to pass beneath!
There is a lot of construction going on in Paris, but it is so well concealed. Looks are important here, Napoleon taught them well 🙂
Autumn colors are breathtaking: