Published on 16 May 2022
The Arc de Triomphe, or in full Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile, is an iconic symbol of France and one of the world’s best-known commemorative monuments. The triumphal arch was commissioned by Napoleon I in 1806 to celebrate the military achievements of the French armies. Construction of the arch began the following year, on 15 August (Napoleon’s birthday).
The arch stands at the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle, the meeting point of 12 grand avenues which form a star (or étoile), which is why it is also referred to as the Arch of Triumph of the Star. The arch is 50 m high and 45 m wide.
The names of all French victories and generals are inscribed on the arch’s inner and outer surfaces, while the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I lies beneath its vault. The tomb’s flame is rekindled every evening as a symbol of the enduring nature of the commemoration and respect shown to those who have fallen in the name of France.
The Arc de Triomphe’s location at the Place Charles de Gaulle places it at the heart of the capital and the western terminus of the Avenue des Champs-Élysées (visible in the bottom-right of the image). Often referred to as the ‘most beautiful avenue in the world’, the Champs-Élysées is known for its theatres, cafés and luxury shops, as the finish of the Tour de France cycling race, as well as for its annual Bastille Day military parade.
This image, captured on 9 April 2022, was provided by Planet SkySat – a fleet of 21 very high-resolution satellites capable of collecting images multiple times during the day. SkySat’s satellite imagery, with 50 cm spatial resolution, is high enough to focus on areas of great interest, identifying objects such as vehicles and shipping containers.
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on ESA's Observing the Earth website