Napoleon's grand monument to...himself. Oh, yes. And his armies and his victories, or course.
Unlike the copycat arc in Washington Square Park in New York, you can get your city view for a fee. It's a twisty steep staircase to the top, but worth it for the view.
Haussmann designed his grand boulevards to radiate outward from this central point, making this giant victory arch the "star" of his urban design scheme. You can really get a sense of the massive scale of his cityscape from this vantage point.
Despite not being as high of a view as the big oil rig on the other side of the river, you get to gaze out at la dame de fer. Paris just isn't Paris without the Eiffel Tour in every single picture or postcard. I was lied to by Hollywood as I assumed it was a law that every apartment in the city has a view of her.
A pair of kestrels are known to nest on the arch, but on this fine late summer day, they were not to be seen. Like other Paris residence, they have probably found a beach to call their home for the summer.