Visiting the Arc de Triomphe and the Paris Sewer Museum

On one of our days in Paris, we climbed to the top of the Arc de Triomphe for incredible 360-degree views of the city and then ventured underground to scour the tunnels of the Sewer Museum to see what keeps this city moving (literally).

Arc de Triomphe

The arch was built over a 30 year time span and completed in 1836. Its construction was first ordered by Napoleon to commemorate his solders in the Battle of Austerlitz and it was later completed by King Louis-Philippe I to glorify the armies of the empire.

Look up! At the Arc de Triomphe
Look up! At the Arc de Triomphe
At the Arc de Triomphe
At the Arc de Triomphe

Beneath the arch is the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, buried there in 1921 to symbolize all those soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice.  On it, the Flame of Remembrance is lit every day at 6:30 PM.

Memorial at the Arc de Triomphe
Memorial at the Arc de Triomphe
At the Arc de Triomphe
At the Arc de Triomphe

The entrance to go inside the arch and climb is best reached via an underground tunnel near the Avenue de la Grande Armee side of the circle.

At the Arc de Triomphe
At the Arc de Triomphe

Once at the top, the views are 360 degrees of spectacular.

Check out the view of La Defense from the Arc de Triomphe
Check out the view of La Defense from the Arc de Triomphe
The view from the Arc de Triomphe
The view from the Arc de Triomphe
The view of the Eiffel Tower from the Arc de Triomphe
The view of the Eiffel Tower from the Arc de Triomphe
The spiral staircase at the Arc De Triomphe.
The spiral staircase inside the Arc De Triomphe.

The Arc de Triomphe is accessible for free with the Paris Museum Pass. For opening days and times, and general admission costs, go here.

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Musée des Égouts de Paris (The Paris Sewer Museum)

I know what you’re thinking; a sewer museum? In Paris? Ewww, wasn’t it smelly? Um, yes. But also fascinating and something completely different and interesting to see.

Paris has a long history around its sewers. Originally open and running down the streets, by the mid-1300’s the sewers drained through an underground network and into the rivers. This method lasted for centuries until the underground tunnel version still used today was started in the 1850’s. Today the sewer covers more than 2100 kilometers under Paris.

The same flame that's on the statue of Liberty
The same flame that’s on the statue of Liberty.

Once below ground you can walk through the exhibits and learn all about how the sewers carry water and waste, how they are cleaned, and even how people used to take tours by boat through the sewers!

Inside the Sewer Museum
Inside the Paris Sewer Museum
Inside the Paris Sewer Museum
Inside the Paris Sewer Museum-there are street signs for the streets above.

Metal and at one time, wood, balls were pushed through the tunnels to clean them of waste.

Inside the Paris Sewer Museum
Inside the Paris Sewer Museum

The Paris Sewer Museum (Musée des égouts de Paris) is in the 7th arrondissement and also covered by the Museum Pass. For opening days and times go here. Note; it looks like the museum is closed for renovations until January 2020.

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