I can't believe that I'm here in front of this monument which I've heard so much about - from the history books, news footage, and many tales my oldest son has shared of the "Tour de France".
The idea for the monument started with Napoleon back in 1806, but it was not completed until 1836 long after Napoleon's reign was over.
In current times, the Arc de Triomphe has been photographed frequently during the Tour de France. The Tour de France is held over several weeks in July, and the last stage of the race culminates with a ride through the Arc de Triomphe on the third or fourth Sunday in July. What a magnificent sight (which I've only seen on video!) to see the riders come through the Arc as part of the final Champagne celebration. For the 2010 Tour, the final stage will go 105 km from Longjumeau to the Champs Elysees in Paris. Oh what fun it would be to see that finish!!
For now... I'm going to look for a tourist shop on a side street and see if I can find a souvenir Tour de France T-shirt for my son Ryan.