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Les Invalides

Gain insight into French military history at this Baroque complex, which contains several museums and military monuments, including the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte.

Les Invalides is a historic military complex that includes several museums, monuments and churches. Brush up on French military history at its trio of museums, stroll along the grand lawns of the Esplanade des Invalides and see the ostentatious tomb of the famous French dictator Napoleon Bonaparte.\n

The structure was originally built as an army hospital between 1670 and 1676 under orders from Louis XIV. During the French Revolution, the complex was stormed by rioters who seized weaponry on their way to the Bastille. Today, parts of the complex are still reserved for French war veterans, with a hospital and military retirement residence on-site.\n

Before entering Les Invalides, stroll along the lawns of Esplanade des Invalides, which stretch for 1,640 feet (500 meters) in front of the main entrance. This space is a popular picnic and sunbathing spot.\n

Inside the complex, explore three separate museums: the Mus\u00E9e de l\u2019Arm\u00E9e (the Army Museum), the Mus\u00E9e des Plans-Reliefs (the Museum of Military Models) and the Mus\u00E9e d\u2019Histoire Contemporain (the Museum of Contemporary History). Devote most time to the Mus\u00E9e de l\u2019Arm\u00E9e, the largest and most comprehensive of the three. Examine military armor and artifacts from ancient to modern times, including Napoleon\u2019s lavish pistols and Joseph Parrocel\u2019s Battle of Cassel painting.\n

Save time to see the \u00C9glise du D\u00F4me church, located at the back of the complex. Gaze up at its dazzling gold cupola, which was a source of inspiration for the United States Capitol building. Investigate Napoleon Bonaparte\u2019s extravagant tomb, which is located in the church. The emperor\u2019s remains are entombed in six Russian doll-style coffins located inside a red quartzite sarcophagus that sits on a green granite base.\n

Les Invalides is located in the 7th arrondissement. Reach it with a short walk from the La Tour Maubourg, Invalides, Varenne or Saint-Fran\u00E7oise-Xavier metro stations. Les Invalides is open daily, although the Mus\u00E9e de l\u2019Arm\u00E9e is closed on the first Monday of every month between October and June.


Guide to Exploring around Les Invalides


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Lodging Near Les Invalides

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