When Napoleon I (the short guy who wanted to rule the world), commissioned the Arc de Triomphe, he was interested in glorifying his victories in battle a la the Roman emperors. When Donna Longino (the tall gal looking for an elevator in Paris) visited the Arc, she just wanted to climb the stairs to the top without falling, fainting or keeling over dead.
Stair climbing in Paris is a way of life. Apparently, the French don’t believe in elevators. Otis who? You climb stairs to your apartment…you climb stairs in the subway…you climb stairs EVERYWHERE. No wonder the French live longer than Americans — between the red wine and all the stair climbing, they have the cardio vascular systems of a marathon runner.
The Arc de Triomphe on the Champs-Elysees is not to be outdone in the stair department. The Arc has this amazing spiral staircase that leads to the top of the monument — which you pay to climb, of course.
I quit counting on my way up, but I think there’s about 300 or so very narrow steps that get you to the top. And it’s definitely worth the climb, because the view from the top is spectacular, even on a cloudy day.
Twelve avenues radiate from the Arc which sits in the center of the Place de l’Etoile — aptly named The Star. I kinda like my new name for the Arc — I’d call it Stairs Triumphant.