The Arc de Triomphe is a monument in Paris that stands in the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle, also known as the « Place de l’Étoile ». It is at the western end of the Champs-Élysées. The triumphal arch honors those who fought for France, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars. On the inside and the top of the arc there are all of the names of generals and wars fought. Underneath is the tomb of the unknown soldier from World War I.
The Arc is the linchpin of the historic axis (Axe historique) — a sequence of monuments and grand thoroughfares on a route which goes from the courtyard of the Louvre Palace to the outskirts of Paris. The monument was designed by Jean Chalgrin in 1836, and its iconographic program pitted heroically nude French youths against bearded Germanic warriors in chain mail and set the tone for public monuments, with triumphant nationalistic messages, until World War I.
The monument stands 49.5 m (162 ft) in height, 45 m (150 ft) wide and 22 m (72 ft) deep. The large vault is 29.19 m (95.8 ft) high and 14.62 m (48.0 ft) wide. The big vault is 18.68 m (61.3 ft) high and 8.44 m (27.7 ft) wide. It is the second largest triumphal arch in existence. Its design was inspired by the Roman Arch of Titus. The Arc de Triomphe is so colossal that three weeks after the Paris victory parade in 1926, marking the end of hostilities in World War I, Charles Godefroy flew his Nieuport biplane through it, with the event captured on newsreel.
The Arc de Triomphe is one of the most famous monuments in Paris. It forms the backdrop for an impressive urban ensemble in Paris. The monument surmounts the hill of Chaillot at the center of a star-shaped configuration of radiating avenues. It was commissioned in 1806 after the victory at Austerlitz by Emperor Napoleon at the peak of his fortunes. Laying the foundations alone took two years, and in 1810 when Napoleon entered Paris from the west with his bride Archduchess Marie-Louise of Austria, he had a wooden mock-up of the completed arch constructed. The architect Jean Chalgrin died in 1811, and the work was taken over by Jean-Nicolas Huyot. During the Bourbon Restoration, construction was halted and it would not be completed until the reign of King Louis-Philippe, in 1833–36 when the architects on site were Goust, then Huyot, under the direction of Héricart de Thury. Napoleon’s body passed under it on 15 December 1840 on its way to its second and final resting place at the Invalides.
Since the fall of Napoleon (1815), the sculpture representing Peace is interpreted as commemorating the Peace of 1815. The astylar design is by Jean Chalgrin (1739–1811), in the Neoclassical version of ancient Roman architecture (see, for example, the triumphal Arch of Titus at right). Major academic sculptors of France are represented in the sculpture of the Arc de Triomphe: Jean-Pierre Cortot; François Rude; Antoine Étex; James Pradier and Philippe Joseph Henri Lemaire. The main sculptures are not integral friezes but are treated as independent trophies applied to the vast ashlar masonry masses, not unlike the gilt-bronze appliqués on Empire furniture. The four sculptural groups at the base of the Arc are The Triumph of 1810 (Cortot), Resistance and Peace (both by Antoine Étex) and the most renowned of them all, Departure of the Volunteers of 1792 commonly called La Marseillaise (François Rude). The face of the allegorical representation of France calling forth her people on this last was used as the belt buckle for the seven-star rank of Marshal of France.
In the attic above the richly sculptured frieze of soldiers are 30 shields engraved with the names of major Revolutionary and Napoleonic military victories. (The Battle of Fuentes de Onoro is described as a French victory, instead of the tactical draw). The inside walls of the monument list the names of 660 persons, among which 558 French generals of the First French Empire; the names of those who died in battle are underlined. Also inscribed, on the shorter sides of the four supporting columns, are the names of the major victorious battles of the Napoleonic Wars. The battles which took place in the period between the departure of Napoleon from Elba and his final defeat at Waterloo are not included.
The sword carried by the Republic in the Marseillaise relief broke off on the day, it is said, that the Battle of Verdun began in 1916. The relief was immediately hidden by tarpaulins to conceal the accident and avoid any undesired ominous interpretations. Famous victory marches past the Arc have included the Germans in 1871, the French in 1918, the Germans in 1940, and the French and Allies in 1944 and 1945. Charles de Gaulle survived an attack upon him at the Arc de Triomphe during a parade[when?].
 The Unknown Soldier
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier beneath the Arc de Triomphe, Paris
Beneath the Arc is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from the First World War. Interred here on Armistice Day 1920, it has the first eternal flame lit in Western and Eastern Europe since the Vestal Virgins’ fire was extinguished in the year 394. It burns in memory of the dead who were never identified (now in both World Wars). The French model inspired the United Kingdom’s tomb of The Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey. A ceremony is held there every 11 November on the anniversary of the armistice signed between France and Germany in 1918. It was originally decided on 12 November 1919 to bury the unknown soldier’s remains in the Panthéon, but a public letter-writing campaign led to the decision to bury him beneath the Arc de Triomphe. The coffin was put in the chapel on the first floor of the Arc on 10 November 1920, and put in its final resting place on 28 January 1921. The slab on top carries the inscription ICI REPOSE UN SOLDAT FRANÇAIS MORT POUR LA PATRIE 1914–1918 (« Here lies a French soldier who died for the fatherland 1914–1918″).
In 1961, President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy of the United States paid their respects at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, accompanied by French President de Gaulle. After the 1963 assassination of President Kennedy, Mrs. Kennedy remembered the eternal flame at the Arc de Triomphe and requested that an eternal flame be placed next to her husband’s grave at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. President de Gaulle went to Washington to attend the state funeral, and he was able to witness Jacqueline Kennedy lighting the eternal flame that was inspired by her visit to France.
The flame was extinguished in 1998 during the FIFA World Cup by a drunk Mexican national who peed on it. He was arrested and charged with Public Intoxication.
By the early 1960s, the monument had grown very blackened from coal soot and automobile exhaust, and during 1965–1966 the it was thoroughly cleaned through bleaching. By 2007, some darkening was again apparent. The arc is planned to be bleached again in 2011
The Pont des Arts or Passerelle des Arts is a pedestrian bridge in Paris which crosses the Seine River. It links the Institut de France and the central square (cour carrée) of the palais du Louvre, (which had been termed the « Palais des Arts » under the First Empire).
Between 1802 and 1804, a nine-arch metallic bridge for pedestrians was constructed at the location of the present day Pont des Arts: this was the first metal bridge in Paris. This innovation was due to Napoléon I, following a design of English manufacture. The engineers Louis-Alexandre de Cessart and Jacques Dillon initially conceived of a bridge which would resemble a suspended garden, with trees, banks of flowers, and benches.
In 1976, the Inspector of Bridges and Causeways (Ponts et Chaussées) reported several deficiencies on the bridge. More specifically, he noted the damage that had been caused by two aerial bombardments sustained during World War I and World War II and the harm done from the multiple collisions caused by boats. The bridge would be closed to circulation in 1977 and, in 1979, suffered a 60 meter collapse after a barge rammed into it.
The present bridge was built between 1981 and 1984 « identically » according to the plans of Louis Arretche, who had decided to reduce the number of arches from nine to seven, allowing the look of the old bridge to be preserved while realigning the new structure with the Pont Neuf. On 27 June 1984, the newly reconstructed bridge was inaugurated by Jacques Chirac – then the mayor of Paris.
The bridge has sometimes served as a place for art exhibitions, and is today a studio en plein air for painters, artists and photographers who are drawn to its unique point of view. The Pont des Arts is also frequently a spot for picnics during the summer.
The argentinian writer, Julio Cortázar, talk about this bridge in his book « Rayuela ». When Horacio Oliveira goes with the pythia and this tells him that the bridge for La Maga is the « Ponts des Arts ». This is a great allusion of Cortázar for one of his greatest novels, even one of the best novels ever written.
Source : Wikipedia.org
Via Nazionale is a street in Rome from Piazza della Repubblica leading towards Piazza Venezia.
Already begun as via Pia, named in honour of Pius IX who had wanted to connect Stazione Termini to the city centre, the street was completed at the end of the 19th century through the ambition of several figures of the Risorgimento to create a « new Rome » as a capital of the unified Kingdom of Italy.
The enlargement of this artery was necessary to create a link between Rome’s central station and the most populous part of the city, and the new road was extended to the east bank of the river Tiber by the Corso Vittorio Emanuele II. However, the construction works ripped the heart out of the city by demolishing buildings in its path (including palazzi such as the National Dramatic Theatre), which substantially modified the previous street’s route.
Source : Wikipedia.org
The Fiat 500 (Italian: cinquecento, Italian pronunciation: [ˈtʃiŋkweˈtʃɛnto]) is a car produced by the Fiat company of Italy between 1957 and 1975, with limited production of the Fiat 500 K estate continuing until 1977. The car was designed by Dante Giacosa.
Launched as the Nuova 500 in July 1957, it was marketed as a cheap and practical town car. Measuring only 3 meters (~10 feet) long, and originally powered by a tiny 479 cc two-cylinder, air-cooled engine, the 500 redefined the term « small car » and is considered one of the first city cars.
In 2007 Fiat launched a similar looking, retro-styled car, the Fiat Nuova 500.
To meet the demands of the post-war market which called for economy cars, the Fiat 500 was rear-engined on the pattern of the Volkswagen Beetle, just like its bigger brother, the 1955 Fiat 600. Several car makers followed this now nearly vanished design at the time and were quite successful, but only the Fiat 500 was used as the template for other car makers in Europe. The Neckar version manufactured in Heilbronn under a complicated deal involving NSU, was introduced in October 1961.In Upper Austria the firm of Steyr-Puch also produced cars based, by agreement, on the Fiat 500.
Despite its diminutive size, the 500 proved to be an enormously practical and popular vehicle throughout Europe. Besides the two-door coupé, it was also available as the « Giardiniera » station wagon; this variant featured the standard engine laid on its side, the wheelbase lengthened by 10 cm (4 in) which yielded a usable rear seat, a full-length sunroof, and larger brakes from the Fiat 600.
Sports models were produced by Abarth. An Austrian variant, produced by Steyr-Daimler-Puch, the 1956-1969 Steyr-Puch 500, had a motorcycle-derived Puch boxer twin motor, a sports model of which was the 1964-1968 Steyr-Puch 650 TR2.
Production of the 500 ended in 1975, although its replacement, the Fiat 126, was launched two years earlier. The 126 was never as popular as its predecessor in Italy, but was (and still is) enormously popular in the former Eastern Bloc countries, where it is famed for mechanical durability and fuel economy.
Source : Wikipedia.org
The Pont Charles-de-Gaulle (Charles-de-Gaulle Bridge) is a steel-reinforced concrete girder bridge straddling the river Seine in the eastern part of Paris. It is a one-way bridge carrying road traffic from the 13th arrondissement to the 12th arrondissement. Further downstream, also a one-way bridge, Pont d’Austerlitz carries traffic travelling in the opposite direction.
In 1986, the Council of Paris (Conseil de Paris) decided to construct a new bridge between Pont de Bercy and Pont d’Austerlitz in south-west Paris, which would imitate the design of Pont d’Austerlitz. The aims of this project were to ease the traffic on Pont d’Austerlitz, the most heavily loaded bridge in the capital, to connect the new Bibliothèque nationale de France (also known as the François Mitterrand Library) to the district of Bercy on the Right Bank and to establish a direct link between Gare de Lyon and Gare d’Austerlitz.
A Europe-wide competition was held in 1987 to determine the best project design. At the conclusion of the competition, the laureate concept set forth by Louis Arretche and Roman Karasinski was chosen for the bridge. The rationale for this choice was that it did not detract the aesthetic exterior of Viaduc d’Austerlitz, further downstream; and that it discreetly preserved the view of the river.
The bridge has a single steel deck measuring 270 m long and 35 m wide, and the shape of which resembles an aircraft wing. It is supported by two concrete piers. Linking each pier to the deck are two conical steel frames shaped like upside-down tents.
The bridge roadway (not including footpaths and cycle lanes) measures 18 m in width and allows four lanes of northeast-bound traffic from the Left Bank to the Right Bank. Two cycle lanes to the upstream side of the bridge and two footpaths, one on each side of it, permit unmotorized traffic to cross.