Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel

Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel

The Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel
General information
Type Triumphal arch
Location Paris, France
Construction started 1806
Completed 1808
Design and construction
Architect Charles Percier, Pierre François Léonard Fontaine
Not to be confused with Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile.

The Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel (pronounced: [aʁk də tʁijɔ̃f dy kaʁusɛl]) is a triumphal arch in Paris, located in the Place du Carrousel. It was built between 1806 and 1808 to commemorate Napoleon's military victories of the previous year. The more famous Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile, across from the Champs Élysées, was designed in the same year; it is about twice the size and was not completed until 1836. It is also an example of Corinthian style architecture.[1]


Peace riding in a triumphal chariot
Entablement and quadriga
Central bas-relief under the main arch

The monument is 63 feet (19 m) high, 75 feet (23 m) wide, and 24 feet (7.3 m) deep.[2] The 21 feet (6.4 m) high central arch is flanked by two smaller ones, 14 feet (4.3 m) high, and 9 feet (2.7 m) wide. Around its exterior are eight Corinthian columns of marble, topped by eight soldiers of the Empire. On the pediment, between the soldiers, bas-reliefs depict:

Napoleon's diplomatic and military victories are commemorated by bas-reliefs executed in rose marble. They depict:

The arch is, of course, derivative of the triumphal arches of the Roman Empire; in particular that of Septimius Severus in Rome. The subjects of the bas-reliefs devoted to the battles were selected by the director of the Napoleon Museum (Paris) (located at the time in the Louvre), Vivant Denon, and designed by Charles Meynier.

The upper frieze on the on entablement has sculptures of soldiers: Auguste Marie Taunay's cuirassier (left), Charles-Louis Corbet's dragoon, Joseph Chinard's horse grenadier and Jacques-Edme Dumont's sapper.

The quadriga atop the entablement is a copy of the so-called Horses of Saint Mark that adorn the top of the main door of the St Mark's Basilica in Venice but during both French empires the originals were brought up for special occasions.


The arc du carrousel Postcard, 1900
Military review in front of the Tuileries in 1810, by Hippolyte Bellangé. The Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, which can be seen on the right of this painting, was originally erected as a gateway of the Tuileries palace.

Designed by Charles Percier and Pierre François Léonard Fontaine, the arch was built between 1806 and 1808 by the Emperor Napoleon I, on the model of the Arch of Constantine (312 AD) in Rome, as a gateway of the Tuileries Palace, the Imperial residence. The destruction of the Tuileries Palace during the Paris Commune in 1871, allowed an unobstructed view west towards the more famous Arc de Triomphe.

It was originally surmounted by the famous Horses of Saint Mark from Saint Mark's Cathedral in Venice, which had been captured in 1798 by Napoleon. In 1815, following the Battle of Waterloo and the Bourbon restoration, France ceded the quadriga to the Austrian empire which had annexed Venice under the terms of the Congress of Vienna. The Austrians immediately returned the statuary to Venice. The horses of Saint Mark were replaced in 1828 by a quadriga sculpted by Baron François Joseph Bosio, depicting Peace riding in a triumphal chariot led by gilded Victories on both sides. The composition commemorates the Restoration of the Bourbons following Napoleon's downfall.

The Arc du Carrousel inspired the design of Marble Arch, constructed in London between 1826 and 1833.[3]


The Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel is at the eastern end of Paris Axe historique ("historic axis"), a nine-kilometre-long linear route which dominates much of the northwestern quadrant of the city. It is, in effect, the backbone of the Right Bank.

Looking west, the arch is perfectly aligned with the obelisk in the Place de la Concorde, the centerline of the grand boulevard Champs-Élysées, the Arc de Triomphe at the Place de l'Étoile, and, although it is not directly visible from the Place du Carrousel, the Grande Arche de la Défense. Thus, the axis begins and ends with an arch. When the Arc du Carrousel was built, however, an observer in the Place du Carrousel was impeded from any view westward. The central part of the Palais des Tuileries intervened to block the line of sight to the west. When the Tuileries was burned down during the Paris Commune in 1871, and its ruins were swept away, the great axis, as it presently exists, was opened all the way to the Place du Carrousel and the Louvre.


Wikimedia Commons has media related to Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel.
  2. Lynnise Phillips - Pomona College; USA: "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-12-30. Retrieved 2008-12-28.
  3. Exploring London : Marble Arch
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