||Hotel Des Invalides
Musee de L'Armee
Web site: http://www.invalides.org/ (the French version is much more complete than the english version).
This used to be the military hospital. Louis XIV built it in the late 1600's to house
the wounded soldiers from his wars. That is why you will see it referred to as the
"Hotel des Invalides" - Hotel of Invalids! It still has some soldiers living
there from World War I & II. The buildings were completed in five years (1671-76). The
gold-plated dome that rises above the hospital buildings belong to the Church of
Saint-Louis (1675-1706), designed by Jules Hardouin-Mansart.
The military museum is very interesting and well worth walking through. Inside the
courtyard are many old cannons. Pay attention to the way they were cast with sculptures in
them. At the back of the inner courtyard there is a cannon that has a man and a woman in
an embrace as the two handles. See if you can find it - there's a picture near the bottom
of the page. When you walk up to the front of the building, check out the sculptures on
In the chapels of Saint-Louis are the tombs of Napoleons brothers Joseph and Jérôme,
of his son (whose body was returned from Vienna in 1940 by Adolf Hitler), and of the
marshals of France. Immediately beneath the cupola is a red porphyry sarcophagus that
covers the six coffins enclosing the body of Napoleon I, which was returned from
Saint-Helena in 1840 through the efforts of King Louis-Philippe. Napoleons uniforms,
personal arms, and death bed are displayed in the Musée de l'Armée (Army Museum) at the
front of the Invalides.
Below is the general route you will follow if you approach from the Seine: