Dômes - Hôtel des Invalides, Paris

238 Reviews

Been here? Rate It!

hide
  • Hotel des Invalides
    Hotel des Invalides
    by Twan
  • Altar and tomb
    Altar and tomb
    by Nemorino
  • Napoleon's tomb - Paris - France
    Napoleon's tomb - Paris - France
    by solopes
  • Nemorino's Profile Photo

    Vauban memorial in the Dôme des Invalides

    by Nemorino Updated Apr 6, 2014

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Vauban memorial
    4 more images

    The main attraction of the Dôme des Invalides is the Tomb of l'Emperrrreurrrrr, as I have called it in one of my reviews, namely the tomb of the emperor Napoléon Bonaparte (1769–1821).

    But nearby, in one of the side niches, is a monument to another remarkable man, Sebastian le Prestre de Vauban (1633-1707), a French military engineer and adviser to King Louis XIV.

    Unlike most military officers in the seventeenth century, Vauban did not belong to any sort of illustrious aristocratic family. He joined the army when he was seventeen (first a rebel army, but he soon switched over to the king’s side) and swiftly rose through the ranks entirely on merit, which in those days was nearly unheard of.

    While he was still in his twenties, Vauban quickly impressed Louis XIV (who was five years younger) by his talent for designing and building fortifications and for conducting and repelling sieges. At age 22 Vauban was named an “engineer of the king” and spent several years strengthening the fortifications on the northern border of France.

    When the next war began in 1667, Vauban was 34. Under the appreciative eye of the king, he successfully conducted the sieges of Turnai, Douai, Lille and Dôle, then returned to Lille and turned the Citadel into a formidable fortress.

    In the next war, against Holland, Vauban successfully besieged the fortified city of Maastricht, using tactics of his own invention that revolutionized siege warfare. In the following years, he just as successfully besieged the fortified cities of Luxembourg, Mons, Namur and Charleroi.

    When he was 45, Vauban was named Commissioner General of Fortifications. In this capacity, he traveled constantly all around the borders of France, inspecting the fortifications and designing improvements. In Toulon he fortified the harbor, built city walls and designed a new arsenal. In Marseille he inspected the island of If (later the prison of the fictional Count of Montecristo) and wrote a scathing report about the inadequacy of that island’s fortifications.

    Altogether, in his long career, Vauban repaired and strengthened the existing fortifications in three hundred places, conducted fifty-three sieges and built thirty-three completely new fortresses. Many of these fortresses still exist today, and in 2008 twelve of them were designated by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites.

    Since Vauban was constantly on the road for over forty years, travelling through and around France, he got to know the country very well – certainly much better than Louis XIV, who as he grew older became increasingly immobile in his palace in Versailles, surrounded by courtiers who told him what he wanted to hear rather than what he needed to know.

    Vauban was always outspoken, and on his travels he bombarded the king (via the war minister Louvois) with reports and memos giving advice about how to defend the kingdom and where not to fight needless wars, but also telling him that the French people were starving because of the unjust tax system.

    In the last two decades of his life, Vauban tried unsuccessfully to convince the king of two things, first that he should restore freedom of religion and allow the exiled Huguenots (Protestants) to return to France, and second that he should institute a sweeping reform of the tax system. Vauban wrote entire books on these topics, and these are the books that he is leaning his elbow on in the sculpture (first photo) in his monument in the Dôme des Invalides.

    Louis XIV listened politely to these suggestions but never acted on them. Later generations found them more convincing, so Vauban’s posthumous reputation continued to rise.

    A century after Vauban’s death (101 years after, to be exact), Napoléon ordered that Vauban’s heart should be taken from his grave, in his home town of Bazoches, and interred in the Invalides in Paris. (Of course after 101 years there wouldn’t have been much left of his heart, but it was the symbolic gesture that mattered.)

    Second photo: These are two books about Vauban that I have read recently. I bought them both second-hand at one of the big Gibert Joseph bookshops on the Boulevard Saint Michel in Paris.

    Third photo: Vauban’s fortifications in Lille, in the north of France, and Toulon, in the south.

    Fourth photo: Napoléon’s tomb and the altar in the Dôme des Invalides.

    Fifth photo: The Dôme des Invalides as seen from the garden of the Rodin Museum, across the street.

    Address: Dôme des Invalides, Avenue de Tourville, 75007 Paris
    Directions: Location and photo of Dôme des Invalides on monumentum.fr
    Vélib' 7015 or 7014
    Métro Varenne or La Tour-Maubourg
    Website: http://www.musee-armee.fr/collections/les-espaces-du-musee/dome-des-invalides-tombeau-de-napoleon-ier.html

    Next Paris review from March 2014: Hôtel Fieubet (École Massillon)

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo

    Tomb of l'Emperrrreurrrrr

    by Nemorino Updated Apr 5, 2014

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Tomb of Napol��on I
    4 more images

    My first visit to Napoléon’s tomb was in the 1960s. It was a memorable visit because of the elderly gentleman who told us in great detail about the glorious life and victories of “l’Emperrrreurrrrr”. For fifty years now I have been trying (occasionally) to say it that way, but it doesn’t work because my French pronunciation isn’t good enough and especially because I can’t work up anything approaching our guide’s impassioned imperial fervor.

    Actually I don’t know if he was really a guide or just a guard or maybe one of the disabled veterans of the French army who lived and still live in one wing of the Invalides. In any case, he was a true believer in the greatness of Napoléon and seemed determined to wretch us degenerate modern visitors out of our lethargy and transport us back to those golden years in the early nineteenth century when Napoléon was the Emperor of the French and the ruler of much of Europe.

    Second photo: The altar and the tomb. Originally Napoléon was buried on the island of Sainte-Hélène, where he lived in exile for the last six years of his life. VirtualTourist member wabat has been to Sainte-Hélène and has written four very interesting tips about Napoléon’s exile and about his original tomb, which still exists but of course is now empty. Nineteen years after Napoléon’s death his casket was dug up and transported to Paris, where it was interred with great pomp, first in St. Jerome’s chapel and later here in the Dôme des Invalides.

    Third photo: On one of the side walls there is this quotation from Napoléon, meaning roughly: "In all the places where my reign has passed through, it has left durable traces of its benefit." (Which is probably true. In Frankfurt am Main, for instance, he ordered that old city walls be torn down and replaced by a ring of parks, most of which still exist today. And his legal code was certainly an improvement over the feudal laws that were still in force in many parts of Europe until Napoléon came through.)

    Fourth photo: Altar of the Dôme des Invalides, above Napoléon’s tomb.

    Fifth photo: Les Invalides from the front.

    In one of the side niches near Napoléon’s tomb there is a monument to another remarkable man, Sebastian le Prestre de Vauban (1633-1707), a French military engineer and adviser to King Louis XIV. See my review Vauban memorial in the Dôme des Invalides.

    Next review from June 2012: The Army Museum 1643-1870

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • breughel's Profile Photo

    MUSEE DE L'ARMEE - The best in the world!

    by breughel Updated Feb 22, 2014

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Cuirassier et Guide de la Garde Imp��riale 1860.
    2 more images

    MUSEE DE L'ARMEE - The best in the world!
    Now that the Département Moderne (1648 - 1870) with the splendid collections from the French military history starting with Louis XIV, XV, XVI, continuing with the Revolution, Napoleon I, the Restoration, Napoleon III have been renovated and displayed in a new museography I can say that this is the best museum of military history in the world.

    Furthermore the Invalides are one of the most beautiful architectural complexes of Paris. Approaching by the Seine and the Esplanade or by the back from the south, with the Dome, a great harmony of proportions emanates from the Hôtel des Invalides. (Ref my tip Invalides outside).

    The various museums of the Invalides cover in several departments the military history of France, and consequently an important part of Europe, under the following museums or departments now all renovated:

    Musée de l'Armée.
    - Antique armours and arms department -13th - 17 the century (ref. my tip)
    - Modern Department from Louis XIV to Napoleon III (ref. my tip Modern Department )
    - The World Wars department 1871-1945 (ref. my tip WW I and II)

    Musée des Plans-Reliefs (ref. my tip Plans -reliefs).
    Musée de l'Ordre de la Libération (ref. my tip Order of Liberation). (presently closed).

    L' Historial Charles De Gaulle.
    The Dome Church with the Tomb of Napoleon (ref. my tips Napoleon's deification and Napoleon ).
    Artillery (outside).

    Open every day (2013): 10 - 17 h from 1/10 to 31/03; 10 - 18 h from 1/04 to 30/09.
    Closed: 1st Monday of each month except July, August & September.
    Evening opening on Tuesday until 21 h from 1/04 to 30/09.
    The Dome Church (Napoleon's tomb) is opened until 18.45 h in July and in August.

    The ticket office is located on the south side just left of the Dome. No queues from my experience.
    Price full: 9,50 €
    Discount fee : 7,50 € on Tuesday evenings from 17 h.
    Free : under 18 years old.
    - 18 to 25 years old, EU citizens.

    ONE SINGLE TICKET gives access to the Musée de l'Armée, to the Tomb of Napoleon I, to the Historial Charles de Gaulle (closed on Mondays), the Scale-Models Museum and to the Order of the Liberation Museum (closed till 18/06/2014).

    Photos allowed.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Napoléon at the Musée de l'Armée.

    by breughel Updated Dec 22, 2013

    5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Emperor Napoleon I by Ingres.
    3 more images

    You will not be surprised that a large part of the Modern Department 1648 - 1870 (ref. my tip Modern department 1648 - 1870) is about Napoleon Bonaparte and his army in the campaigns of the First French Empire against Austria, Germany, Great-Britain, Prussia, Russia, Spain, etc.

    Uniforms, weapons, horse harnesses, emblems are exhibited as well as the personal belongings of Napoleon and his marshals and generals. There are also historical paintings of battle scenes and portraits (photo 1).
    Remarkable are the objects belonging to Napoleon when he was on campaign (photo 2).

    I got struck by two objects:
    - The uniform which belonged to a "Grenadier de la Garde Impériale" called Simplet (photo 4).
    It's a funny name for a member of the élite Imperial Grenadiers à Pied 1st Regiment as in French "simplet" means simple-minded. I don't think that grenadier Simplet was simple-minded. To be admitted as a Grenadier one needed a high moral and military reputation and to measure at least 1,76 m.
    - The white horse of Napoleon. The stuffed horse shown at the museum (photo 3) is more beige than white but I was very pleased to see that famous white horse from Napoleon.
    When I was a kid teachers at primary school used to ask their pupils:" quelle était la couleur du cheval blanc de Napoléon" . It seems that the question "what is the colour of Napoleon's white horse" is still in usage in a number of schools.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Musée de l'Armée - Modern department 1648 - 1870.

    by breughel Updated Dec 22, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Colonel du 3e R��giment de Cuirassiers 1810
    2 more images

    After 3 years of renovation works the Département Moderne (1648 - 1870) is again open in the Eastern wing of the Invalides court yard with the splendid collections from the French military history starting with Louis XIV, XV, XVI, continuing with the Revolution, Napoleon I, the Restoration to end with Napoleon III.

    It was a real pleasure to see again all these brilliant uniforms (photo 1) from a time where soldiers did not mind about camouflage. Glitter and colours were the rule even for the ordinary soldier.
    The museography has been markedly improved although some rooms are too dark.
    I can agree that the colour of the uniforms has to be preserved from discoloration by light but is this necessary for arms? Some display windows are so dark that it is difficult to distinguish the details of the weapons (see my photo 2).

    A great improvement is the use of video means to show some of the famous battles of that time. I could finally understand why Napoleon lost the battle of Waterloo.
    Terrible souvenir from that battle is the breast-plate from a French carabineer pierced by a cannonball (photo 3).

    Historical explanations are in French and English. Indications on individual items are in French.

    The two other departments: Antique armours and arms 13-17 th century and the World Wars department 1871-1945 (ref. my tips) are located in the opposite West wing.

    Open every day: 10 - 17 h from 1/10 to 31/03; 10 - 18 h from 1/04 to 30/09.
    Closed: 1st Monday of each month, except July, August & September.
    Evening opening on Tuesday until 21 h from 1/04 to 30/09.

    The ticket office is located on the south side just left of the Dome. No queues from my experience.
    Price (2013) full: 9,50 €
    Discount fee: 7,50 € on Tuesday evenings from 17 h.
    Free: children under 18 years old.
    - 18 to 25 years old nationals of the EU.

    ONE SINGLE TICKET gives access to the Musée de l'Armée, to the Tomb of Napoleon I, to the Historial Charles de Gaulle (closed on Mondays), the Scale-Models Museum and to the Order of the Liberation Museum (closed till 18/06/2014).

    Photos allowed.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Order of Liberation Museum.

    by breughel Updated Dec 22, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Appel du 18 juin 1940.
    1 more image

    This museum is housed in a wing of the Invalides. It will interest all those who want to know more about the Free French Forces, the Resistance, the Order of Liberation (a gallery and 6 rooms on the ground floor) and the Deportation (first floor) during WW II.

    The free French Forces were formed in the UK after the Appeal of General de Gaulle on 18/06/1940. Volunteers, escaped from occupied France, formed companies, battalions and finally two divisions: the 1st Free French Division and the 2nd Armoured Division (which liberated Paris) as well as Free French Naval Forces, Free French AirForce with the famous Normandy-Niemen Fighter Squadron (fighting with the Russians), the Commandos.

    The Order of Liberation was instituted by the General de Gaulle in 1940 to reward men, towns and fighting units who had distinguished themselves in the fight to liberate France and her Empire. The insignia of the Order, the prestigious Cross of Liberation, was awarded to only 1038 men and women, 5 towns and 18 fighting units. They carry the rank of "Compagnon de la Libération".
    The Commemoration Room is devoted to General de Gaulle and General Leclerc

    The Resistance within France, the "Maquis" are illustrated in the gallery. Among the great figures stands Jean Moulin.

    The Deportation is illustrated by a number of objects from concentration and extermination camps.

    THE MUSEUM OF THE ORDER OF LIBERATION IS CLOSED FROM 1/01/2012 TILL 1/06/2014.
    "Le Musée de l'Ordre de la Libération est fermé pour rénovation du 1er janvier 2012 au 18 juin 2014."

    Price: combined ticket Invalides (to be bought at the Army Museum ticket office)
    9,50 €, reduced 7,50€, free less than 26 years old. Paris Museum Pass.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Musée des plans-reliefs.

    by breughel Updated Dec 22, 2013

    5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Relief map museum - Ch��teau Trompette, Bordeaux
    2 more images

    The relief map museum, part of the Invalides, is located on the 4th floor of the east wing (same ticket as the Invalides army museum). It is a museum for amateurs of the history of fortifications with its main figure Vauban. Amateurs of scale-model making will also be interested by the techniques and scale of models in the 18th c.
    Relief maps are accurate scale-models of fortified sites. It were strategic tools used for the defence of the territory and responding to the advances of the artillery. The first were made under King Louis XIV and later expanded to conquered sites on the frontiers of France.
    The collection comprises 100 relief maps on a 1/600 scale, and models of fortifications.
    About 25 of them can be seen in the museum under reduced light to conserve the colours of the painted paper.
    There are 4 areas: the Channel, the Atlantic coast, the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean.
    The northern area of France with towns fortified by Vauban in Belgium is exposed in Lille.
    Most spectacular are the models of fortifications such as the Mont-Saint-Michel, the citadel of Belle-Ile, the port of Bayonne on a huge surface of 8,50 m x 6,60 m, the Château d'If at Marseille, etc.
    The precision of these relief-maps made them a source of information about the history of urban development.

    Open: 10 - 17 h from 1/10 to 31/03
    10 - 18 h from 1/04 to 30/09
    Closed: 1st Monday of each month.
    Price: combined ticket Invalides 9,5 €, reduced 7,5€, free less than 26 years old. Includes entry to the Tomb of Napoleon, Army museum and Museum of the Order of Liberation.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Invalides St-Louis Church.

    by breughel Updated Dec 22, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    St-Louis des Invalides - nave
    3 more images

    The Saint-Louis Church of the Invalids has something unique in Europe by the fact that the building is double: the nave constitutes the Church of the Soldiers, while the chorus, under the cupola, is called the Dome. Up to the Revolution, the two churches used the same high altar. The distinction was concretized by the installation, in 1873, of a large window separating the two parts.

    There is presently a marked contrast between the Church of the Soldiers with a clear and sober décor (and few visitors) and the much visited Dome with the tomb of Napoleon and its magnificent marble decors but there exists an architectural continuity particularly visible from aerial views.

    The architect was Jules Hardouin-Mansart who produced in 1680 the final design for the Dome des Invalides, a Greek cross inscribed in a square with an attached circular presbytery. It is a highlight of the French classical architecture and a point of reference in the Parisian landscape culminating at 101 meters. In 1989, at the time of the bicentenary of the French revolution, the dome was regilded with 550.000 sheets of gold, i.e. more than ten kilos.
    The Saint-Louis church (presently a cathedral) was completed in 1679 and intended for the worship and the daily offices of the disabled army veterans.
    Another unique characteristic is the fact that the vault is decorated with military trophies of France, and contains the tombs of Marshals of France, important military chiefs as well as many governors of the Invalides.
    Saint-Louis des Invalides is attached administratively to the museum of the Army and is today the seat of vicariate to the French Armies and used each year for commemorative masses among which the mass remembering the death of Napoleon I.

    The Organ built by Alexandre Thierry in 1679 is famous but was repaired and modified on several occasions. It is in this church that the world's première of Hector Berlioz's Requiem was given in 1837.

    Open:10 - 17 or 18 h. Entry is free.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Musée de l'Armée - The only tank.

    by breughel Updated Dec 22, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Invalides - Tank from 1918

    The department devoted to the world wars does not comprise heavy material such as tanks except some elements of tank turrets at the upper floor of WWII. The amateurs must go to the Tank Museum of Saumur (on the river Loire - www.musee-des-blindes.asso.fr ).
    However there is one tank in the army museum of the Invalides but hidden in a hall at the angle of the Army museum and the Saint-Louis church.
    The visit is really worth it because the tank is one of the first operational tanks used successfully in WWI. My photo shows this famous light tank Renault FT 17 used since 1918 and produced to several thousands of specimens. Nearly 500 such tanks were engaged in the battle of Soissons (1918).
    Those who have put their feet in a tank will appreciate the characteristics of this ancestor:
    Weight 7 to, length 5 m, shielding 22 mm and maximum speed 7,5 km/h. Crew of 2 men. Canon of 37 mm and machine-gun under rotating turret of 360°. The FT 17 fixed the type of tanks for the wars to come.

    ============================

    Le département consacré aux guerres mondiales ne comporte pas de matériel lourd tels que des chars sauf quelques éléments de tourelles de char à l'étage supérieur de la guerre 40 -45. Les amateurs doivent se rendre au Musée des Blindés à Saumur.
    Pourtant il y un char au musée des Invalides mais caché dans un hall à l'angle du musée de l'Armée et de l'église Saint-Louis. Sa visite vaut la peine car il s'agit d'un des premiers chars opérationnels utilisés avec succès à la guerre de 1914-18. Près de 500 chars furent engagés dans la bataille de Soissons. Ma photo montre ce fameux char léger Renault FT 17 utilisé dès 1918 et produit à plusieurs milliers d'exemplaires.
    Ceux qui par obligation de milice ou métier auront mis leurs pieds dans un char apprécieront ses caractéristiques:
    Poids 7 to, longueur 5 m, blindage 22 mm et vitesse maximum 7,5 km/h. Equipage de 2 hommes
    Canon de 37 mm et mitrailleuse sous tourelle à rotation de 360°. Il fixa ainsi le type même du char de combat pour les guerres à venir.

    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Musée de l'Armée - WW I & 2 Department.

    by breughel Updated Dec 22, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Invalides - Taxi de la Marne 1914
    4 more images

    The WW I and WW II departments have been renovated and extended what is a good thing because this part of the Invalides Army Museum was somewhat short in the previous years.
    This department deals with the military history from 1871 to 1945 on an expanded surface of 3500 m2 since July 2006.

    I was pleased to see that this period of history in which France had a central position is now up to other museums WW departments like the ones of Brussels, London or Vienna for example.
    Are exposed French and foreign uniforms, certain having belonged to major figures - Foch, Joffre, de Lattre, Leclerc - diverse armaments and objects of the everyday equipment of the soldier.
    I found very interesting the windows showing proposals around 1900 for less visible uniforms as those inherited from Napoleon III. (see cavalry helms around 1900 on photo 1). But they were finally refused so that the French soldiers went into the WW I with "garance" red coloured trousers (photo 2) what made of them quite visible targets for the German riflemen.

    I was much impressed by a model of the famous German heavy howitzer called "Grosse Bertha". My grand parents told me about that howitzer used in Belgium against the forts of Liège and Namur in 1914. It would fire 800 kg shells at 9 Km distance (photo 3).
    Is also shown one of the "taxis de la Marne" (photo 4). In September 1914, 600 taxis from Paris were requisitioned to bring troops to the Marne battlefield. The movement started at the Invalides and conveyed 5 infantry battalions (total 5000 man).

    What is not shown in this museum are heavy weapons like tanks or planes. For the tanks one should visit the "Musée des Blindés" in Saumur (on the Loire) where there are more than 800 tanks!

    Open (2013): 10 - 17 h from 1/10 to 31/03
    10 - 18 h from 1/04 to 30/09
    Closed: 1st Monday of each month (except July, August, September).
    Price (2013): combined ticket Invalides 9 € 50, reduced 7 € 50, free less than 26 years old. Includes entry to the Tomb of Napoleon, Army museum, Relief Map museum and Museum of the Order of Liberation.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Musée de l'Armée - Ancient arms

    by breughel Updated Dec 22, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Invalides - Suit of armour of knight
    2 more images

    This department of medieval arms has been renovated in 2005 and with 2500 m2 has now one of the best collections in the world after Vienna "Hofjagd-und Rüstkammer" and Madrid (now transferred to Toledo) (ref. my reviews of these museums).

    The new circuit of visit evokes the military history of France between the 13th and the 17th century, combined with thematic spaces about the productions of the big European workshops in Milan, Augsbourg and Innsbruck in the 16th century, the suits of armours of joust and tournaments, the weapons for hunting, the oriental weapons. Most spectacular are the suits of armour of the French kings in the Royal room - Crown Collections. This former dining hall gathers together prestigious pieces from French and foreign royal collections of ornate weapons from princely arms manufacturers

    This department is really worthwhile visiting.

    Open: 10 - 17 h from 1/10 to 31/03
    10 - 18 h from 1/04 to 30/09
    Closed: 1st Monday of each month (except July, August, September).

    Price (2013): combined ticket Invalides 9 € 50, reduced 7 € 50, free less than 26 years old. Includes entry to the Tomb of Napoleon, Army museum, Relief Map museum and Museum of the Order of Liberation.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Napoleon's deification.

    by breughel Updated Dec 22, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    D��me with Napoleon's tomb.
    1 more image

    As I am not an admirer of Napoleon, or of the other potentates who put Europe in fire and in blood, I visited several times the Invalides leaving aside Napoleon's tomb.
    Nevertheless Bonaparte is not unknown to me because he lost the definitive battle in Waterloo, that is not far from my home.
    During my recent visit to the museum of the army at the Invalides, I took advantage of my museum pass to enter under the dome. No doubt that the dome with its gilts is one of the grandiose Paris' monuments. Furthermore the flowery gardens in front of the monument are beautiful

    Inside I was unpleasantly surprised by the almost deification of the emperor Napoleon, the monumental sarcophagus, the souvenirs of Bonaparte presented as saint's relics.
    The worship of the emperor is not for me; too many people suffered because of his megalomania. However I recognize that his rationalization of antiquated legal systems in the "Code Napoléon" was a great progress for the principle of equality before the law and is still influencing present European legal systems.

    There are also tombs from French military heroes such as Maréchal Foch, Allied Supreme Commander in the First World War, Maréchal Leclerc and Maréchal de Lattre de Tassigny heroes of World War II but the most outstanding Frenchman of WW II and the 20th c. the General Charles de Gaulle has no tomb here, nor in the Pantheon. He is modestly buried at the parish cemetery of the small town Colombey- Les-Deux-Eglises as he wanted.

    Open: 10 - 17 h from 1/10 to 31/03
    10 - 18 h from 1/04 to 30/09
    Closed: 1st Monday of each month.

    Price: combined ticket Invalides 9 €, reduced 7€, free less than 26 years old. Includes entry to the Tomb of Napoleon, Army museum, Relief Map museum and Museum of the Order of Liberation.

    ====================================

    La déification de Napoléon.

    N'étant pas un admirateur de Napoléon, ni des autres potentats qui ont mis l'Europe à feu et à sang, j'ai visité plusieurs fois les Invalides en laissant de côté le tombeau de Napoléon. Pourtant le personnage ne m'est pas inconnu puisqu'il a perdu la bataille définitive à Waterloo, c'est-à-dire pas loin de ma demeure.

    Lors de ma récente visite au musée de l'armée aux Invalides, j'ai profité de mon museum pass pour entrer sous le dôme resplendissant de ses dorures. Le dôme est incontestablement un des monuments grandioses de Paris. De plus les jardins fleuris qui le précèdent sont de toute beauté.

    J'ai été désagréablement surpris à l'intérieur par la quasi déification de l'empereur Napoléon, le sarcophage monumental, les souvenirs de Bonaparte présentes comme des reliques de saint.
    Le culte de l'empereur n'est pas pour moi; trop de gens ont souffert à cause de sa folie des grandeurs.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • solopes's Profile Photo

    Military Museum

    by solopes Updated Dec 19, 2013

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Paris - France
    2 more images

    We went to Invalides a little bit short of time, in this my second visit, and we skipped the military museum.

    Bad idea! For familiar reasons I would like to see the collection about WW1. I will not miss it in my third visit.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

  • Maryimelda's Profile Photo

    Hotel des Invalides

    by Maryimelda Written Dec 4, 2013

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    2 more images

    This is a striking complex which is famous for housing all things military from museums to tombs and anything else in between. It began life as a hospital of sorts for disabled military personnel but its main claim to fame these days is that it is the final resting place of Napoleon 1 whose ashes are entombed in a magnificent structure under the famous dome.

    Napoleon was of course originally buried under a tree in St Helena where he died in about 1821 but in 1840 King Louis-Philippe ordered his remains to be laid to rest under the dome of Les Invalides. The remains of several military giants such as Foch and Vauban and others can be found here as well.

    The complex can be found in the 7 eme facing the Seine, not too far from the Eiffel Tower. It can be reached by Metro or RER on lines 8 and 13. Alight at the station called Invalides. It is also a featured stop on the Hop on Hop off L'Open Tour buses (the green ones) and probably Cars Rouges the red ones) as well though I can't vouch for this as I travelled on the green one.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Invalides - Extérieurs/Outside.

    by breughel Updated Sep 25, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Invalides - View from the Esplanade
    4 more images

    The Invalides are in my opinion one of the most beautiful architectural complexes of Paris. Approaching by the Seine and the Esplanade or by the back from the south, with the Dome, a great harmony of proportions emanates from the Hôtel des Invalides. The architect Bruant was appointed by Louvois secretary of War under the reign of Louis XIV.

    The wall in the front part of the garden is surmounted with ancient guns showing a beautiful green patina (photo 1). From the gate the visitor has a fine view on the whole frontage with the top of the gilded Dome above the roofs.
    The garden aligns tubes of old guns. The sight towards the Seine and the Grand Palais in the axis of this gun (photo 2) whose back represents a head of smiling lion is superb.
    The interior courtyard is at the same time sober and elegant (photo 3). Tubes of guns are aligned on the sides. Under the arcades stand an old gun on wheels (photo 4). The Invalides is since 1871 also an Artillery museum.
    As for the back of the Invalides, the Dome Church is magnificent. The architect was Jules Hardouin-Mansart under Louis XIV (photo 5).

    Open: 10 - 17 h from 1/10 to 31/03
    10 - 18 h from 1/04 to 30/09
    Closed: 1st Monday of each month.
    Price (2013): combined ticket Invalides 9,50 €, reduced 7,50 €, free less than 26 years old. Includes entry to the Tomb of Napoleon, Army museum, Relief Map museum and Museum of the Order of Liberation.
    Inner courtyard: free
    ===============================

    Les Invalides constituent à mes yeux un des plus beaux ensembles architecturaux de Paris. Que l'on s'approche par le côté Seine, par l'esplanade, ou par l'arrière, par le Dôme, il se dégage de l'Hôtel des Invalides une grande harmonie de proportions.

    A l'avant plan se détache le mur surmonté de quelques cannons à la belle patine verte derrière lequel s'étend le jardin qui ouvre une belle perspective sur l'ensemble de la façade (photo 1) due à l'architecte Libéral Bruant choisi par Louvois ministre de la Guerre de Louis XIV.
    Au dessus des toits se détache le Dôme avec ses dorures. Le jardin aligne des tubes de canons anciens. La vue vers la Seine et le Grand Palais dans l'axe de ce canon (photo 2) dont l'arrière représente une tête de lion grimaçant est superbe. Depuis 1871 se trouve ici le Musée d'Artillerie.
    La cour intérieure est à la fois sobre et élégante (photo 3). Des tubes de canons sont alignés sur les côtés. Sous les arcades se trouve une belle pièce d'artillerie ancienne sur roues (photo 4).
    Quant à l'arrière des Invalides au sud, la vue du Dôme n'a pas son égal en Europe à mon avis. C''est l'architecte du Roi Louis XIV Jules Hardouin-Mansart qui réalise la grande église royale en 1676 (photo 5).

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Paris

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

106 travelers online now

Comments

View all Paris hotels