From Glyndebourne to Glastonbury - A social calendar for the 21st century
Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe
06 October, 2013
Longchamp Racecourse, Paris, France
The first Sunday in October sees the winners of many of the
top-class races from around Europe compete in one of the French
racing season's four Classic events. This is France's biggest day
of racing, and it has become a glamorous Parisian
Dating back to 1920, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe was a complement to the Grand Prix de Paris. This race began in 1863 and was open to three-year-olds from around the globe; some 30 years later it was amended to attract older horses, and became extremely successful with foreign owners.
The 'Arc' was named in tribute to the French soldiers who had served their country in the First World War. In 2008 it became the most richly rewarded turf race in the world when its purse doubled to 4 million euros. It now attracts crowds of more than 60,000 people.
An inter-generational flat race without handicapping for thoroughbreds, L'Arc is run on the 2.4-km (1.5-mile) turf track at Longchamp racecourse beside the Bois de Boulogne in western Paris. Comprising an uphill and downhill slope with a notoriously testing rise out of the final bend, the course requires both speed and stamina.
A day at the races here remains as traditional and glamorous as the English Derby, enhanced by the presence of the iconic 1856 windmill, which gives its name to the Prix du Moulin.