Les Invalides- Paris
Les Invalides, officially known as « L’hôtel national des invalids », was founded in 1970 by Louis XIV, the sun king, to shelter disabled and impoverished war veterans.
back to the monuments
Les Invalides is a building complex with three major parts: the museum area, the church and the dome area and is easily recognized by its magnificent golden glimmering dome considered one of the tallest monuments in Paris.
The dome is known not only for being one of the finest examples of French Baroque architecture, but also for providing a final resting place for a number of French military leaders, the most famous of which the great Napoleon Bonaparte.
Napoleon was initially interred on Saint Helena, but King Louis-Philippe arranged for his remains to be brought to France in 1840, an event known as « le retour des cendres ».
Once near the tomb and surrounded by beautiful white marble statues, don't let the magic of the moment distract you from looking up, otherwise you will miss one of the most beautifully painted domes ever. The roof is amazingly decorated by magnificent paintings from the late 17th and early 18th century by the well-known Charles De La Fosse. The dome also houses the tombs of Napoleon’s brothers, joseph and Jerome, and Ferdinand Foch the French military leader during WWI.
The complex at Les Invalides also houses the Army Museum (Le musée de l’armée).
Touring this museum you will find impressive armour exhibit where you'll see the evolution of French knight armour from the time of the Merovingian kings and Charlemagne up to the 17th century. The excellent presentation continues at the Two World Wars exhibit, as context and background are presented years before the actual events.
A fascinating presentation of wars involving France that guide the viewer through the significant times that influenced French History.
After building The Hotel of the Invalids, Louis XIV decided that the veterans needed a place to pray in, thus the church of the invalids, or also known as the church of Saint Louis, opened in 1677.
Differently from many other gothic churches, the church of Saint Louis is very light, much of its interior is made up of white shining marble.
The soldiers' church is distinguished from other French churches not only by its military background but also for housing one of the largest instruments in France, a very beautiful big organ located at the back of the chapel just above the entrance.
Without a doubt you will leave Les invalides with a better understanding of the French history.