The Hotel des Invalides includes a chapel, cathedral and three museums all of which are military related. A section is dedicated to the health care of French soldiers and veterans.
I guess the first thing that caught my eye when we approached this complex was the array of huge patina cannons on trolleys. Very impressive, and you even get a view of the Eiffel Tower as well. These cannons form the Triumphal Battery of the Hotel Les Invalides museum.
In fact there are several cannons in this area. These Prussian cannons date back to around 1700. Take a close look at the intricate details of these.
The smaller cannons are Turkish howitzers from the 1500’s.
I guess I really liked the “green” colour and the patterns of the cannons. Lots of photos here.
The Musee de L’Armee is a national military museum of France located at Les Invalides. It was created in 1905 and is one of the three largest arms museums in the world.
The architecture with its many arches and balconies is traditional Baroque style. The roof is adorned with many intricately carved statues. Try to zoom in to see these. They all seem to be a different design.
The main courtyard displays artillery gathered during the French Revolution and traces 200 years of French field artillery history.
Inside the museum is a huge weaponry collection. This place would be great to bring children to. It is difficult to comprehend how men (and horses) in the 13th to 17th centuries actually wore this incredibly heavy armour.
Some of the exhibits were in glass cases, therefore a little difficult to photograph.
There is lots information in both English and French telling you about the artefacts. A good idea is to photograph this information if you don’t have the time to stop and ready everything.
Lots of armour – so much to photograph.
A great way to spend a few hours if you (or your husband) is interested in this.
The Dôme des Invalides is a large former church in the centre of the Les Invalides complex. Inspired by St Peters Basilica in Rome, it is one of the triumphs of French Baroque architecture.
The dome itself is a prominent feature on the Paris landscape and features oranate gilded military helmets and trophies. A cross sits atop a three-sided obelisk.
Entry to Les Invalides Dome church is impressive with its wide staircase and beautifully restored front doors.
The “SL” refers to Saint-Louis, the King of France. The fleurs-de-lys refers to all the kings of France.
Stepping inside, the main altar is a huge standout with its beauty. At the top of the steps leading to the altar is a marble and bronze 7m high canopy supported by spiral columns. So ornate.
Behind the altar is a glass screen that looks into the original church.
The ceilings seem to match with magnificent paintings and beautiful carvings.
Look down at the many different patterns of the marble floors.
Zoom in on the little details.
The dome was designated to become the funeral place of Napoleon. Ousted in 1815 by the allied armies, Napoleon had stayed so popular that King Louis-Philippe had his remains returned to France to this final resting place under the dome in 1861.
The sarcophagus of Napoleon Bonaparte was sculpted from blocks of purple quartzite and sits on a plinth of green granite.
Facing the tomb are twelve female statues carrying attributes of victory referring to Napoleon’s successful military campaigns.
As you wander around, you will see the crypts of other famous military leaders. These are the tombs of Foch and Lyautey.
Another is the grave of Napoleon’s son, Napoleon II who died in 1832. On top stands his statue.
While Les Invalides may not be as popular as other Paris landmarks, it is definitely worth the visit for its history and for the opulence of it all. The surrounding grounds are also a pleasant place to walk around and perhaps have a picnic.
IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, CHECK OUT MORE ON PARIS