Known for its customs, architecture and art, France is a popular vacation destination for those who wish to have a rich cultural experience. Another feature that draws travelers to the country are the many monuments. From the northern part of the country to the southern regions, the country abounds with famous monuments that are worth seeing on your travels.
Arc de Triomphe
Commissioned by Napoleon in 1806 to honor those who have fought for the country, particularly during the Napoleonic wars, the Arc de Triomphe is the largest triumphal arch in the world. The 162 foot arch, which was completed in 1836, is the center of 12 radiating avenues, the most famous of which is the Champs Elysees. The structure is comprised of four sculptures that commemorate the Triumph of 1810, Resistance, Peace and the Departure of Volunteers. At the top of the monument on the outside walls, the names of the major battles won during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars and the names of lesser victories and 558 generals are inscribed on the inside. Underneath the arch sits the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier-a soldier from World War One —with the Eternal Flame that sits beside the tomb serves as a reminder of those who served in both World Wars. You can climb to the top of the arch to take in the views of Paris and also visit the museum that tells the history of the structure. It is open daily from 10:00 a.m. until 10:30 p.m., October 1 through March 31 and from 10:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. April 1 until September 30.
Arc de Triomphe Place du Général-de-Gaulle, Paris, France 01-55-37-73-77 arc-de-triomphe.monuments-nationaux.fr/en
Also located in Paris, the Sacré-Coeur Basilica, or the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, sits at the highest point of the city in Montmartre. The location of this Roman Catholic is said to be the place that Saint Denis-the patron saint of Paris-carried his head after he was martyred. Construction on the church began in 1875, when the cornerstone was laid after the Franco-Prussian War and construction was not complete until 1914. In 1919, after the end of World War One, the church was brought to basilica status. This Romanesque-style church was designed by Paul Abadle. It contains three porticos surrounded by bronze statues of Joan of Arc and Saint Louis the IX. The basilica is home to the Savoyarde--one of the world's heaviest bells weighing in at 19 tons. Visitors can tour the monument every day, from 6:00 a.m. until 10:30 p.m.
Sacré-Coeur Basilica Pl. du Parvis-du-Sacré-Coeur 18e, Paris, France 01-53-41-89-00 sacre-coeur-montmartre.com
Mont Saint Michel
This monument is on a small island on the north coast of France in Normandy. In 708, the archangel Michel supposedly appeared before St. Aubert, the bishop of Avranches and instructed him to build a church on the island. It is said that St. Aubert did not follow the instruction he was given until the archangel burned a hole in his skull and the location was officially named Mont Saint Michel on October 16, 708. During the 11th century, a Benedictine Abbey and church were constructed at the top of the mount and still stand at the location today. On your climb to the top of the mount to see the abbey and church, you'll be surrounded by the shops, restaurants and inns that surround the base of the mount.
Mont Saint Michel B.P. 22, 50116 Le Mont-Saint-Michel, France 02-33-89-80-00 au-mont-saint-michel.com