Les Invalides - Hotel des Invalides, Paris
Louis XIV built this "hotel" to shelter the disable soldiers of his numerous campaigns.
One of my ancesters, a gendarme (French horserider policeman) died there in 1847. At this time, it was a house for retired soldiers.
Napoleon's tomb is here. The emperor's body is protected by 6 coffins and nobody dares to make an autopsy to discover if he was poisened by Hudson Lowe, his jailer, in 1821.
Les Invalides are also the Army Museum which is open from 10AM to 6PM (5PM and 5:30PM on Sunday, on low season).
Ticket : 7 euros
The museum presents uniforms, arms and paintings from the Middle Age to the contemporary time.
During my last visit I was with a couple of American VTers and we had the chance to see a re-enactment in memory of the Napoleon's coronation, 200 years later, on December 2, 1804. I saw a grenadier of the Napolenic guard taking his cellular out of his pocket to answer a call...
My advice : for history lovers (I am)
In 1671, Louis XIV decided to create the 'Hotel des Invalides' designed to welcome his war veterans.
At the end of the XVIIth century, the hotel, a true miniature city, governed by a religious & military system, housed up to 400 guests. The soldiers were divided into companies and operated workshops (cobbling, tapestry, illumination). Today, the national institution still persues its initial vocation for which it was founded.
While at L'Hotel national des Invalides be sure to see:
1. The Soldier's Church (St. Louis Church)
2. The Dome Church
3. The Emperor's Tomb where Napolean's remains were placed
4. Weapons and Armour from Antiquity to the XVIIth C. (ground floor, west wing)
5. The First and Second World War Rooms (2nd floor, west wing)
6. Artillery Dept. (1st floor, west room)
7. Emblem Dept. (ground floor, east wing)
8. Vauban Room (French Army from 1680 to present)
9. Rooms devoted to the Ancient Monarchy
10. The Revolution & Empire Rooms
11. The Bugeaud Room
12. The Chanzy & Pelissier Rooms
13. The Boutique
14. The Cafeteria
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from October to March (check for exact dates as they will vary year to year)
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April to September
Napolean's Tomb can be visited until 7 p.m., from June to September.
Hotel des Invalides was built in the 1670s by order of King Louis XIV as a hospital and nursing home for the thousands of French war veterans - it still serves as such for about a hundred people. Most of the complex has now been turned into a war museum, and the majestic Dome des Invalides is where Emperor Napoleon I has been laid to rest.
Although it is free to walk around Les Invalides and to enter the church Saint-Louis-des-Invalides, it costs 8 Euros to visit the Dome and the war museum (but you can use your Museum Pass if you have one). Saint-Louis-des-Invalides, otherwise knows as the soldiers' church was completed in 1708. Its only ornaments are flags that were taken from the enemy in the course of France's numerous wars. Napoleon Bonaparte's tomb sits underneath the Dome des invalides and is surrounded by the tombs of other French war heroes, such as Marshal Foch.
As for the war museum, we only visited the part of the exhibition that covered the two World Wars. We thought we'd just take a quick peak as we didn't feel like getting into something this heavy when we were so light-hearted but we ended up visiting the whole thing. The exhibition was captivating and very moving - I will always remember the uniform of a French soldier killed during the 1914-18 war, still covered in mud from the trenches, as well as the German street signs that were put up in Paris during the 1939-45 war.
Les Invalides is complex of buildings devoted to military history of France. It is consist of Military museums and monuments and there are hospital and a retirement home for war veterans. The church at the Invalides is look like Basilica San Petro in Rome. The most famous tomb in the Invalides is tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte
The 7th district is the location for a few sights and among them is Les Invalides. This was created by Louis XIV as a home for disabled soldiers. The huge, ornate dome was designed my Mansart after the death of the king.
If you approach Les Invalides from the Pont Alexandre III it is a very impressive sight to behold. Long entranceway with a huge lawn with the building in the center. You can also approach it via rue de Varenne to the side. No matter what approach you take the building is huge and it actually resembles the Pantheon.
Not only is Les Invalides still housing the retired military personnel but it's famous for Napleon's tomb and the army museum. You pay one entrance fee to see both the tomb and museum.
Napoleon's tomb is in the main building that has the dome. It's directly in the center of the building and is huge. His remains are interred in several coffins within the tomb. The tomb itself is red and is made from Finnish porphyry. It's funny to think of this small emperor within this enormous tomb.
Above Napoleon's tomb is an altar and to one side there is another tomb, that of his brother, Joseph Bonaparte, Commander Foch, and the Vicompte de Turenne. There are also model displays of the French Army and some examples of military dress.
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).
Walking through the streets of Paris is a great way to discover the city, and you don't have to pay a dime! Here are some tips for a quick walking tour of Les Invalides:
This walking tour actually starts by lying down on the Champ-de-Mars! Located in front of the Military Academy, this area once served as a parade square for the cadets. On a nice day or on a warm evening, hundreds of people come to the Champ-de-Mars to have a picnic while enjoying the view of the Eiffel Tower. The only problem is: don't try to find a square feet of grass that doesn't have a cigarette stub on it - we've tried and failed.
From the Champ-de-Mars, exit on Avenue Bouvard, cross Avenue Bourdonnais, turn onto Avenue Rapp, and locate No. 29. There you'll see a house that was built in 1901 by architect Jules Laviolette. It has a richly decorated facade and is a great example of Art Nouveau.
Go back to Bourdonnais and turn onto rue Saint-Dominique. By then you might be getting a little hungry so turn on Rue Cler, a nice little pedestrian streets well known for its cafes and fine products boutiques.
When you're done drinking that half-liter of French wine you can go back on rue Saint-Dominique and keep walking in the direction of Boulevard Saint-Germain until you come across rue de Martignac. There sits Sainte-Clotilde, the first neogothic church built in Paris. Architect Francois-Christian Gau started building the church in 1846 but passed away before its completion. Theodore Ballu took over and the church was finally finished in 1856.
From there you'll be a step away from the next neighborhood, Saint-Germain-des-Prés!
The Invalides were created under Louis XIV, the Sun King, to come to the aid of old soldiers who had been forced into either panhandling or subsiding on church charity especially those who had been wounded in battle (hence `invalides’); . So the institution of the Invalides was created in 1670 and quickly became home to 4000 wounded soldiers. Many of the arms used by the mob when it attacked the Bastille on 14 July 1789 were taken from Les Invalide on the morning of that day. Despite resistance by the posted sentries, they were overwhelmed by the mob which finally entered the underground rifle storehouse. Roughly 28,000 arms were taken.
Napoleon’s tomb is a fairly imposing structure, housed in red porphyry, laid on a slab of green granite and consisting of seven coffins set one inside the other, the tomb is at the center of the room, atop a high pedestal which stands in a cellar . All around the room are friezes depicting Napoleon’s many deeds, with the emperor himself represented in each as the Emperor of Rome
Today, some handicapped people still live in a part of it, while the rest has been turned into museums. Among them are a War Museum dedicated to Charles DeGaulle; a museum dedicated to the horse soldiers; another one of armor; one filled with military banners and flags that had actually been carried into war, and the church of St. Louis which houses the tomb of Napoleon as well as his brother, Joseph, who had been the King of Spain.
What stuck me most was the row after row of the flags of napoleons grand army, each representing thousands of men who fought for this megalomaniac. You could almost feel the pride and pomp they must have had on their way to Moscow 500,000 strong and the humiliation they experienced leaving their pennants on the snow as only 50,000 returned,
In 1670, the Sun King (Louis XIV) decided to build this "hotel" to house disabled soldiers. It wasn't an entirely benevolent gesture, considering that the men had been injured, crippled, or blinded while fighting his battles. A gilded dome by Jules Hardouin-Mansart crowns it and its corridors stretch for miles.
The best way to approach the Invalides is by crossing over the Right Bank via the early-1900s pont Alexander-III and entering the cobblestone forecourt, where a display of massive cannons makes a formidable welcome.
There are many things to see here with Napolean's tomb probably the top of most peoples list. It sits on a pedestal in a round room and is a suitable monument to France's most famous war soldier.
the hotel des invalides was built in 1676 by louis XIV for wounded and homeless war veterans. in the center of the building is the golden dome of the sun king's dome church. in 1840 napoleon's body was interned in a magnificent red tomb in the center of the dome. the hotel des invalides has an excellent museum the covers military history from the stone age to WWII.
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.
One of the most striking features of the Paris skyline is the ornately decorated golden Dome Church at Invalides. Built from 1671 to 1676 by Louis XIV for wounded and homeless veterans (and as a monument to his own glory), Invalides is a sprawling structure with well-manicured gardens and courtyards near the south bank of the Seine in the Eiffel Tower Quarter. The Dome Church is also the final resting place of Napolean Bonaparte, and visitors can see his giant tomb up close.
Invalides still functions as a veterans' hospital to this day, though there is plenty of room for other things as well, including a very large military history museum that can easily consume much of a day to see in its entirety. And just east of Invalides is the spectacular Rodin Museum, which no visitor to Paris should miss. An excellent photo opportunity is to take a picture of Rodin's The Thinker with the Dome Church in the background.
When I arrived in Paris in the seventies, coming by train from Versailles, the Hotel des Invalides was the first huge building I saw. The view at its long facade dominated by the chapel dome together with the large open space of the Esplanade des Invalides in front are engraved in my memory as an unforgettable impression.
Les Invalides, originally a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, contains museums like the military museum of the Army of France and monuments, all related to France's military history.
The Invalides is most known because of the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821). In 1861 Napoleon, initially interred on Saint Helena, was moved to this most prominent location under the dome. The Invalides is also the burial site for some other members of Napoleon's family, for several military officers who served under him and other French military heroes.
Les Invalides is an impressive ensemble including the beautiful Dome with Napoleon's tomb and the Army Museum displaying a rich collection of weapons and other souvenirs.
Les Invalided was built between 1671-1676 following Louis XIV's order and using funds raised from soldiers.
It was suppossed to house 4,000 persons.
During Napoleon, Les Invalides became a military mausoleum and since 1840 Napoleon's tomb can be found in the Dome.
The Invalides complex were first built in 1670 by King Louis XIV of France. He wanted to build a place for those who were in the military but unable to serve any longer in the army either through disability or old age and undertook other activities in the complex. Over the centuries, the complex was used for similar military purposes by various French leaders including Napoleon. In fact a statue of Napoleon is placed above on one the buildings and looking across the courtyard.
Today, you can visit the Musee de L'Armee which has an interesting World Wars Department and military history exhibitions from Louis XIV to Napoloen III. There is the Soldiers Church worth visiting in the complex. My highlight was visiting the Dome Church, also in the complex, where you can see Napoleon's tom that was transported to France from St Helena in 1840 and admired the interior decor of the dome.
It cost 9 Euros (October 2010) to visit the Invalides Complex