On This Day in Napoleonic History – 17 February 1806

A decree orders the construction of Arc de Triomphe on Place de l’Étoile

17The Arc was commissioned by the Emperor Napoleon after his brilliant victory at Austerlitz and was to become the symbol of France’s military supremacy, glorifying the Grande Armée.

Although Napoleon and his new wife Marie-Louise passed underneath a full-size model of the Arc made of wood and painted cloth in 1810, unfortunately Napoleon never saw it completed. It would not be finished until more than a decade after his death during the reign of King Louis-Philippe, between 1833 and 1836. Napoleon’s body passed under the Arc on the way from Saint Helena to his final resting place at Les Invalides in 1840.


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