Hotel des Invalides: A History


A History Major's Disneyland

L'Hotel des Invalides is something that I could go to again and again. Inside it has the tomb of Napoleon, a necropolis of high ranking military officials, and artifacts galore. It has a beautiful gold dome that can be seen from many different vantages in Paris. And it was all built as a resting place to honor the great men who served France. Did I mention there is a museum too?

It all started with the Sun King

Louis XIV wanted past military men to rest in tranquility and honor, so he had the Hotel des Invalides built. It was built in the late 1600s in the baroque style. It's style has inspired other buildings, such as the capitol and San Francisco City Hall.

Les Invalides seen from the inside

It wasn't safe with the French Revolution

Since les Invalides is a military place, there are plenty of weapons and ammunition stored there. This meant that during the French Revolution, it too was stormed in order for people to gain an advantage against their enemies. While it wasn't destroyed, it served as a battle ground.

It is a military necropolis

Many military officials are buried there. One name that many people might recognize is Napoleon. Even though Napoleon died and was buried elsewhere, in 1840 he was moved to his final resting place. Rumor has it that he is buried within six coffins. Also there are military generals, some family members, and other important people to the French army.

Armor from Medieval Times

It serves as an army museum

Inside the museum has artifacts dating before the Middle Ages. Since this is a place to honor those in the military, all the artifacts demonstrate how wars were fought, beginning with the time of knights and going all the way through World War II. Trust me, if you are a World War I or World War II museum addict like me, you'll fall in love with this.

The church has captured flags from all major wars

Inside the church, which serves for mass for military personnel, are dozens of captured flags. These flags were taken when battles were won, and yes, there are a lot of them. Many flags are unrecognizable, but some, such as a Nazi flag, are clearly from the last century.

There are usually expositions which cost more to visit. You can visit the main museum, but sometimes the exposition is worth it. Check in advance to see what expositions will be there when you visit.

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