Manuela’s Voyage Series: Visiting L’Arc de Triomphe
By Manuela Domingos
I’m back in Paris after three years. It’s a very unique experience this time around since the political climate is different, the people a little more cautious, and the culture undeniably filled with its usual bustle and heterogeneous people. The weather feels amazing compared to Texas weather, a stark contrast of breeze and fresh air.
This week, I had the wonderful opportunity of visiting L’Arc de Triomphe, which is located in the western end of Champs-Élysées in Paris. The monument honors the soldiers who fought during the Napoleonic and French Revolutionary wars. In honor of each general and soldier, names are embedded on the inner and outer surface of the arc. Below the arc, are the following words written in French: “Ici repose un soldat francaise mort pour la patrie.” In English, this is translated to mean, “Here lies a French soldier who died for the homeland.”
Crossing the street to get to the other side of the street where L’Arc de Triomphe is located was quite the challenge. Parisian drivers can be quite the trip. You sort of have to force your way through sometimes to cross, otherwise getting to the other side is nearly impossible. In Paris, there is no such thing as cars obeying traffic signals. It’s always a good idea to make sure to look both ways before crossing. There’s always that one last minute car that decides to run a red light!
Reaching the arc was a memorable experience. Three years later, I am able to look at its significance through a different lens. I think this has a lot to do with the history of the country and everything that has occurred in Paris over the past few months. Putting everything into perspective has allowed me to appreciate each significant monument. For me, L’Arc de Triomphe was one of them.
Keep up with Manuela on Instagram, @_manuelad!