Résumé

The Arc-de-Triomphe du Carrousel, is a monument inaugurated on August 15, 1808 by Napoleon 1st, on the place du Carrousel. It was right in front of the main entrance of the Tuileries Palace, now disappeared, burned in 1871 by the Communards.

The name Carrousel comes from a military horse show ( the Grand Carrousel), given in this place by Louis XIV, from June 5 to 6, 1662, on the occasion of the birth of his son Louis of France.

The monument was erected, between 1806 and 1810, in front of the Tuileries Palace to which it serves as the entrance of honor. It is a copy, in 3/4 scale, of the arch of Constantine (313-315 AC) in Rome.

The Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel has a height of 14.60 meters (45 feet) and its base is a rectangle of 19.60 meters (60 feet) by 6.65 meters (20 feet and a half). It is crowned by an imposing frieze in marble (Italian cherry), sculpted and engraved and the bas-reliefs illustrate the events of Napoleon's 1805 campaign.

It is surmounted by the "Quadriga of the Arch of Triumph of the Carrousel" (4 horses in the center) harnessed to a chariot and surrounded by 2 gilded lead statues of Peace and Victory.

The 4 horses "Quadriga of the Arch of Triumph of the Carrousel" was the horses of Saint Mark, a carriage adorning the top of the main door of the Saint Mark's Basilica in Venice and coming from the sack of Constantinople by the Venetians. Napoleon then General brought them back in 1798 during his Italian campaign.

Following the defeat of Napoleon in 1815 at Waterloo, the original quadriga of the Venetians (which they had stolen from Constantinople) was returned to the Austrians who gave it back to Venice. It is today above the main entrance of the Basilica of Saint Mark in Venice. Finally a very long journey!

This means that what is seen today above the Arch of the Carrousel of Paris is a copy made in 1828,

Localisation
  • Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, Place du Carrousel, Paris, 75001, France

Access

Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel

Place du Carrousel

75001, Paris

  • Metro: line 1 and 7 (Palais Royal - Musée du Louvre station)
  • RER: line C (Musée D'Orsay Station)
  • Bus: 27, 39, 68, 69, 72, 73, 85, 95
Address

Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel
Place du Carrousel
75001, Paris

Coordinates Latitude Longitude
Sexagesimal (°, ', ") 48° 51′ 43″ N 2° 19′ 58″ E
Degré décimal (GPS) 48.86182 2.33282

 

Description complète

The Arc-de-Triomphe du Carrousel, on the edge of the Tuileries Garden, is a monument inaugurated on August 15, 1808 by Napoleon 1st. It is located on the place du Carrousel, in the Carrousel garden, just west of the Louvre Museum, on the esplanade in front of the wing of the Tuileries Palace (which no longer exists since it was burned by the Communards in 1871).

It is a tribute to the 1805 victory of the Grande Armée and Napoleon 1st at Austerlitz.

The construction of the Arc-de-Triomphe of Carrousel

The place du Carrousel where the Arc is built takes its name from the Grand Carrousel, a military horse show given in this place by Louis XIV, from June 5 to 6, 1662, on the occasion of the birth of his son Louis of France.

The monument was erected, between 1806 and 1810, in front of the Tuileries Palace to which it serves as the entrance of honor. A gate separates the courtyard of the palace from the Place du Carrousel.

The triumphal arch of the Carrousel, of tetrapyle type, is a copy, in 3/4 scale, of the arch of Constantine (313-315 AC) in Rome, which is itself inspired by the arches of Septimius Severus (Lucius Septimius Severus Pertinax) (April 11, 146 - February 4, 211) was Roman emperor from 193 to 211. With him begins the dynasty of the Severus and the arrival to power of provincials of non-Roman descent). In other words, a whole illustrious lineage!

The Arc-de-Triomphe of Carrousel after the fire of the Tuileries Palace

After the fire of the Tuileries Palace in 1871 and its destruction in 1883, the monument is in the center of the large esplanade formed by the Carrousel garden and the square of the same name.

The Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel has a height of 14.60 meters (45 feet) and its base is a rectangle of 19.60 meters (60 feet) by 6.65 meters (20 feet and a half). It is crowned by an imposing frieze in marble (Italian cherry), sculpted and engraved and the bas-reliefs illustrate the events of Napoleon's 1805 campaign. It is surmounted by the "Quadriga of the Arch of Triumph of the Carrousel" (4 horses in the center) harnessed to a chariot and surrounded by 2 gilded lead statues of Peace and Victory. All sides of the Carrousel Arch have statues and bas-reliefs in reference to the history of the moment.

The decoration of the Arc-de-Triomphe of Carrousel over the years

The quadriga of the Carrousel Arch

The original "Bronze Horses" arrived in Paris in 1798 in the vans of Napoleon Bonaparte, then general of the Italian army. It was the horses of Saint Mark, a carriage adorning the top of the main door of the Saint Mark's Basilica in Venice and coming from the sack of Constantinople by the Venetians. Indeed, at the end of the first Italian campaign by the general of the Italian army Napoleon Bonaparte, the original sculpture was brought back from Venice in 1798, as a "war treasure". First stored (forgotten?) at the Invalides, it was then placed on four pillars of the gate surrounding the courtyard of the Tuileries. Finally, in 1808, completed by a chariot that did not exist on the original, it crowned the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel.

The story does not stop there for the Quadrige. Following the defeat of Napoleon in 1815 at Waterloo, the original quadriga of the Venetians (which they had stolen from Constantinople) was returned to the Austrians who gave it back to Venice. It is today above the main entrance of the Basilica of Saint Mark in Venice. Finally a very long journey!

This means that what is seen today above the Arch of the Carrousel is a copy. In 1828, during the Second Restoration, a copy was made by the sculptor François Joseph Bosio. An allegory of the Restoration, holding a sceptre in the effigy of Louis XVIII, is placed on the chariot, and the 2 renamed ones find their original places.

The other decorations of the Arc-de-Triomphe of Carrousel today

The 6 original bas-reliefs (glories to the armies of Napoleon) are replaced, in 1823, by plaster casts representing some acts of the campaign of the duke of Angouleme (son of the king of the moment Louis XVIII) in Spain during the year 1823. Between 1828 and 1831, the triumphal arch is endowed with a new sculpted summit group, inspired by the first one.

The plasterwork was damaged during the insurrection of 1830 and later replaced by copies of the originals in reference to Napoleon I.

The columns carry, in the height of the attic, marble statues of soldiers of the imperial army in great uniform: on the east face (towards the Cour Napoléon), a cuirassier by Auguste Taunay, a dragon by Charles-Louis Corbet, a chasseur à cheval by Jean-Joseph Foucou and a carabiniere by Joseph Chinard; on the west face (Tuileries garden), a grenadier by Robert-Guillaume Dardel, a carabiniere de ligne by Antoine Mouton, a cannoneer by Charles-Antoine Bridan and a sapper by Auguste Dumont.

Each side is decorated with the original bas-reliefs, replaced after the degradation of those of 1823:

  • North side, a bas-relief by Louis Pierre Deseine: The Entry to Vienna.
  • South side, a bas-relief by Jacques-Philippe Le Sueur : The Peace of Presbourg.
  • Between the two columns on the left, a bas-relief by Pierre Cartellier : The Capitulation of Ulm ; between those on the right : a bas-relief by Jean-Joseph Espercieux : The Battle of Austerlitz.
  • West side (Tuileries side), between the two left columns, a bas-relief by Clodion : The Entry of the French Army in Munich ; between the right columns : a bas-relief by Claude Ramey : The Tilsit Meeting.

The allegories and renown

The attic is surmounted by a double base, on which were to take place 2 allegories: the History and the victorious France of Antoine-François Gérard. They were finally placed on either side of the triumphal arch to make room for the additional chariot harnessed to the "four horses of Constantinople".

Fronticipes on the Arc-de-Triomphe of Carrousel

The frontispieces read:

East front :
The French army embarked at Boulogne threatened England
A third coalition breaks out on the continent
The French fly from the ocean to the Danube
Bavaria is delivered, the Austrian army is taken prisoner in Ulm
Napoleon enters Vienna, he triumphs at Austerlitz
In less than 100 days, the coalition is dissolved

South Facade:
Honor to the Great Army
Victorious at Austerlitz
In Moravia
On December 2, 1805, the anniversary
Of Napoleon's coronation

West facade:
To the voice of the victor of Austerlitz
The empire of Germany falls
The Confederation of the Rhine begins
The kingdoms of Bavaria and Württemberg are created
Venice is united to the Iron Crown
The whole of Italy is placed under the laws of its liberator

Northern front :
Master of the states of his enemy
Napoleon gives them back to him
He signed the peace on December 27, 1805
In the capital of Hungary
occupied by his victorious army

Anecdote

The Napoleonic monument was almost doubled by the "triumphal arch of Caracalla" erected at Djemila in Algeria. In 1839, the Duke of Orleans planned and began to dismantle this Algerian monument in order to reassemble it between the Tuileries and the Place de la Concorde. This project did not succeed and the arch still stands in Djemila.

The arch carries is also a sundial and a leveling marker (It is a cast iron marker that is cemented in a stable and perennial vertical support (wall, rock, bridge). The altitude of its summit is used as a reference to determine other altitudes in the surrounding environment).

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