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Built under the orders of Louis XIV, the Sun King, in the 17th century, Les Invalides was originally intended to accommodate wounded soldiers and war veterans.

However, beyond its initial function, the architectural complex has become a work of art in itself.

His history

The Hôtel des Invalides, a magnificent Parisian monument which has stood the test of time, is closely linked to the history of France. Its construction, ordered by King Louis XIV in the 17th century, is the result of a royal desire to provide for the needs of wounded soldiers and war veterans.

Les Invalides was designed as a grandiose architectural ensemble, which you will notice as soon as you pass the enclosure. It was intended to house French soldiers who dedicated their lives to the defense of the kingdom. The construction of this imposing building was entrusted to the architect Libéral Bruant, who created a masterpiece of classical French architecture.

The Invalides complex is characterized by its symmetrical plan and its majesty. The facades, built of cut stone, feature elegant colonnades and pediments which bear witness to the grandeur and power of the era of Louis XIV. The architecture reflects the codes of the time, harmoniously combining order and beauty.

When the work was completed, the Hôtel des Invalides became a place of refuge for wounded soldiers, providing them with a safe and comfortable environment. Their well-being was taken care of through medical infrastructure and appropriate housing.

Over time, the Invalides evolved to fulfill new functions. Beyond their initial role of welcoming veterans, they were used as an arsenal, barracks and even as a place of detention during the French Revolution.

The destiny of Les Invalides is inseparable from the emblematic figure of Napoleon Bonaparte. After his death in exile, his body was repatriated to France and buried in the building in 1840. Thus, the Dôme des Invalides, built especially to house his tomb, became a place of contemplation and memory for the famous emperor.

Today, Les Invalides continues to play an essential role in preserving France's military and artistic history. The Army Museum, an integral part of the complex, houses a collection of weapons, uniforms and historical artifacts that illustrate the nation's military exploits. If you want to visit everything, however, you will need at least 3 hours of your time!

Current exhibitions

Visit to the Invalides

Upon your arrival, you will be greeted by the grandeur of the Hôtel des Invalides, an imposing monument that bears witness to the power and majesty of the era of Louis XIV. The cut stone facades, elegant colonnades and harmonious proportions invite you to immerse yourself in a journey through the centuries.

As you enter the complex, you will discover an artistic treasure of inestimable value. The Army Museum, which is an integral part of Les Invalides, houses an impressive collection of weapons, uniforms, paintings and historical objects. You will be amazed by the unique pieces on display, which recount the great military epics of France and bear witness to the courage and bravery of its fighters.

The visit continues with the discovery of the chapel, a true architectural masterpiece. Its majestic vaults, colorful stained glass windows and delicate sculptures create a sacred atmosphere and immerse you in silent contemplation. You will be captivated by the meticulous details that adorn this space of worship, recalling the grandeur and influence of religion in the history of France.

The highlight of the visit is the encounter with the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte, located in the sumptuous Dôme des Invalides. The grandeur of this place of eternal rest is impressive. You will be surrounded by allegorical sculptures representing the glory, victory and fame of the emperor. This solemn moment will allow you to immerse yourself in the Napoleonic epic and meditate on power and posterity.

His architecture

This monumental complex, designed by the architect Libéral Bruant under the orders of Louis XIV, is a masterpiece that combines harmony, symmetry and elegance.

The facades of Les Invalides, created with remarkable technical and aesthetic mastery, are an eloquent example of classical French architecture. The cut stone, used with care, gives nobility and solidity to the entire building. The pure lines and balanced proportions reflect the rigor and discipline of the time.

The plan of Les Invalides is designed according to a symmetrical diagram, a characteristic specific to classical architecture. The entire complex is organized around a main courtyard, the true heart of the building, which offers a monumental perspective and highlights the grandeur of the whole.

The colonnades, which frame the main facades, bring a classic elegance and give an impression of lightness despite the imposing size of the building. The columns, with Corinthian capitals, represent a reference to the architectural orders of Antiquity, thus recalling the tradition and foundations of classical architecture.

The Dôme des Invalides, crowning the whole, is an emblematic element of the architecture of the monument. It is an impressive technical achievement, with its masonry structure and imposing dome. The Dome, which houses the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte, is richly decorated with bas-reliefs, sculptures and ornamental motifs which illustrate the glory of the emperor and of France.

Inside, the spaces are arranged with artistic attention to detail. The chapel, for example, is a true architectural and artistic feat. Its generous dimensions, its elegant vaults and its ornamental details bear witness to the know-how of the craftsmen of the time.

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