Les Invalides - www.paris-pages.com

click for separate Assemblee Nationale/Palais Bourbon, St. Clotilde, Musée d'Orsay, and architecture.

The history of Les Invalides

In an ordinance of 1670 Louis XIV announced te building of a shelter for old soldiers, "to construct a royal building of sufficient size and space to receive and lodge all officers and men who are crippled or old and frail and to guarantee sufficient funds for their subsistance and upkeep."

Louis himself chose the design of Liberal Bruant. The first stone was laid in 1671, and in 1674 the first old soldiers entered, and were received in person by Louis.

On the left you can see this part of the building, however the church had not yet been built. This was designed by Jules Hardouin-Mansart.

Invalides, dome and church


On the left is the church with a close up of the famous dome on the right.

On being accepted the candidate was given a comb, wooden spoon, knife, uniform and shoes.

Two or three officers shared a room, while soldiers had small dormitories of four or six beds.

No wine or food was allowed in the rooms, and smoking and women were not allowed anywhere inside Invalides.

Married soldiers were allowed to sleep out twice a week. All were obliged to attend mass on Sunday.

The gold covered dome houses Napoleon's tomb. The gold is real, and was applied to celebrate the bicentenary of the revolution.

Napoleon's ashes were brought to Les Invalides from St. Helena on 15/12/1840. On 14/4/1861 they were moved to the crypt, where they were housed in a tomb designed by Visconti.

The tomb is six nested coffins, rather like a Russian doll. The ceremony was attended by Napoleon III.



Invalides dome
Cannon outside Invalides, Paris

Museums in Les Invalides

The Invalides is also home to the Musée de l'Arme, and Musée des Plans-Relifs. It is a fascinating place for anyone interested in the military history of the world.

On the left part of the moat with the cannon.

Invalides roof statue

On the left one of the many statues located around the roof.

Right is top planel of a wooden door with a charming carving.


Les Invalides door detail
On the right, Louis XIV visiting the Hotel Royal des Invalides (as it was then known), on 26th Agust 1706. Oil on canvas. This painting can be seen in the Carnavalet Museum which is devoted to the histoy of Paris, and entry is free. Invalides, Louis XIV visiting the Hotel Royal des Invalides on 26th Agust 1706
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