Public Art Around The World

More Than Just The Plaque

Act of Defiance Through The Arc de Triomphe


The Year was 1919. A victory parade had been organised in Paris on the 14th of July to mark the end of World War I. The airmen , who regarded themselves as “heroes of the air” were ordered to participate in the parade on foot along side the infantry. Needless to say they were unimpressed.

Following the parade a group of airmen  met up at a bar on the Champs Elysees. Goodness knows what was discussed but the outcome was that Charles Godfrey would fly his biplane through the Arc de Triomphe as a protest.

On the 7th of August at 7.20am  Charles took off in his Nieuport 27 sesquiplane. He circled the  Arc de Triomphe twice before making his approach.  Just before he reached the Arc he flew low over a tram scaring the passengers half to death. The width of the Arc is only 14.50m so he had little leeway for a mistake.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Linkedin
  • Pinterest


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

It is main inner container footer text