Iconic landmarks always make you think. They manage to stand the test of time, unlike their creators. Yet somehow, Napoleon's spirit lives on in his Triumphal Arch, as does the spirit of all those who lost their lives in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, their names forever etched in glistening marble.
Twelve wide avenues converge in one star-like formation, leading you, magnet-like, towards the Arc de Triomphe. After our quiet afternoon in one of my favourite spots, one of these avenues led us to the centre of the star.
In the arch itself, a winding staircase leads you upwards to the attic. Take a moment to catch your breath and enjoy the small museum inside, with interactive models of the Arc.
One final staircase and you've made it; you're 50 metres above ground and can now bask in one of Paris' finest views.
Every direction gives you a new panorama, from the Tour Eiffel to the Grande Arche, the Arc's 20th century brother.
We stayed up there for as long as the cold let us, just breathing in the Paris rooftops and autumn views. As cliched as it is, the Arc and its views are a must for anyone visiting Paris for the first time. Check out opening hours and prices here - try avoiding the massive queues by going either early in the morning or just before closing time (at the risk of irking the museum guards). Sunset of course is the ideal time if it's a clear day!
Back on solid ground, we wandered around at the foot of the Arc, admiring the craftmanship and saluting all the soldiers who gave their lives during World War I at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. A sobering reminder that all wars are a useless spilling of blood.
More from Paris coming your way soon - don't worry, the rest of the journey is more light hearted! What are your opinions on the Arc de Triomphe?