Arc d’Triomphe

The most fascinating roundabout that I have ever seen.  I love it and enjoy a good spot of traffic watching there.  It is insane!  It must be one of the biggest, most chaotic, uncontrolled intersections in the world!

As I’ve said in previous posts, on our first trip to Europe we experienced the thrill of driving up the Champs Elysee in our little Renault Twingo, entering the Arc d’Triomphe, circling it and exiting again onto the Champs Elysee (I still don’t know how – I think I had my eyes closed, shrieking most of the time).

This trip, with no car, we had to make do with walking up the Champs Elysee, through the tunnel under the road and popping up under the famous arch.  The weather was not at its best – cold, drizzling with rain, windy on the top.  It still looked glamorous as the lights came on.  In fact the rain just enhanced and reflected the lighting.  The circles on the lower left of the photo are not a rising moon but raindrops…

Arc d'Triomphe at night

The ornate detail is beautiful but the selection of bits that I presume have fallen off over time made me laugh – a massive head, a gigantic foot…  They are stashed in one of the top levels.

Arc d'Triomphe

The spiral stairs gave us a dizzying workout (I counted 286) – all the better to earn my frites for the day!

Arc d'Triomphe spiral stairs

Here’s a cool panoramic shot from the top which incorporates the Champs Elysee on the left and the Eiffel Tower on the right as well as gives an idea of the state of the weather…

Arc d'Triomphe panoramic

While we braved the blasting winds and rain, we amused ourselves watching the traffic frolics.   I love this tiny ant-like car bravely nudging its way to the desired exit.

Traffic ant

I love the general traffic swirl and angle of the cars in this one, with a few motorbikes thrown in for added interest.  I still think that it looks civilised in comparison to what we saw on our last trip (first hand through the windscreen).

Traffic chaos

Finally we were rewarded with the Eiffel Tower lighting up.

Eiffel Tower lights up

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