We may have considered re-routing our journey past Paris in lieu of the respite in Spain, however, we opted to stay the course. And. . .we are SO GLAD we did! We had a basic  agenda or plan to sojourn 3 or 4 definite tourist “traps” (added for sarcasm factor) during our stay in Paris. That said, we set out late morning strapped with backpacks laden with jackets, peanut butter, pears, daily-fresh baked bread and a jug of “fizzy” water ( I mean, what more could you even want or need?) and headed to the train hub.

We exited the train, and walked through  a random exit tunnel, hoping to end up outside the station on a street somewhat within a mile or so of the monument. 

     Jumped on an escalator>>>> (I actually took this photo before I knew what we were approaching).

                                     The skies parted>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>angels were singing. . . .


True confessions here. Plans to visit the Arc de Triomphe were made in very casual manner–dutifully checking off one of the tourist destinations on our “to do” list. 

The magnitude–the sheer enormity and stunning beauty of its limestone stature stretching upwards at 50 meters high and 45 meters wide, is a vision to behold.  It was commissioned by Napoleon in 1806 to celebrate military achievements and memorialize those who fought and died for France.

There are 660 names meticulously inscribed inside the Arc, most of them representing generals, and specific armies, who fought for their country. The underlined names represents those who were killed in action. 

Under the vault resides the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and at the base of the Arc stands a flaming torch—The Eternal Torch—which has been burning for over 100 years. Every evening at 6:30, the flame is re-lit and the flame never goes out. Daily,  veterans bring  wreaths of red, blue and white flowers and lay them around the flickering flame.


Though this is a world that is outside my wheelhouse, all of this was deeply moving and I am profoundly grateful we opted to visit this site. Seeing the etched names—pausing to commemorate lives lost in pursuit of preserving and protecting their fellow mankind, is something that is divinely beautiful.

                                              CLICK ON PHOTO TO VIEW

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