Everything you need to know about the Hôtel national des Invalides
Embodying the essence of French military grandeur, the Hôtel national des Invalides attracts thousands of visitors each year. Discover French military history through this emblematic monument with its many secrets and precious treasures. Relive centuries of military glory at the Hôtel national des Invalides .The history of the Hôtel des InvalidesThe history of Les Invalides stretches over several centuries, but its primary mission as a hospital-hospice will never cease to be respected.The birth of the Hôtel des InvalidesLes Invalides was created in 1670, at the request of Louis XIV. The objective was to provide a place of welcome for the “ crippled, old and decrepit officers and soldiers of our troops”. Built on the model of La Salpêtrière, the site then became a hospice, a hospital, a barracks, and even a monastery , and accommodated up to 1,500 residents.In 1674, after several years of work, the historic monument was erected perpendicular to the Seine, and is made up of a central pavilion, a forecourt, a royal courtyard and a church. On each side of the courtyard, we find the refectory, while the dormitory is located in the buildings forming square courtyards.In 1678, the soldiers’ church opened its doors. It was not until 1706 that the royal church was inaugurated.From the French Revolution to 1830: commemorating French victoriesIn 1793, the Saint-Louis des Invalides church began to house all the flags taken from the enemy during various battles. Under the First Empire, more than 1,500 flags and trophies were placed in the Temple of Mars, before everything was destroyed on March 30, 1814, during the Battle of Paris. From 1830, all the trophies were placed directly in the crypt of the Invalides church, or in the Invalides museum.The vocation of the Invalides necropolisFrom 1800, Napoleon I decided to transform the place into a necropolis, first with the tomb of Marshal Turenne exposed in the royal church, followed by the heart of Vauban. Napoleon’s tomb was itself installed under the dome of the Invalides in 1861. From 1853, the royal chapel, which became the imperial mausoleum , was separated from the soldiers’ church, with the installation of a large glass roof.From the hospital institution to the national education museumAfter 1870, the number of residents became fewer, while the monument saw the creation of two museums: the Historical Museum of the Army and the Artillery Museum. These two museums merged in 1905 to become the Army Museum . Then follow the Museum of Plans – Reliefs and the Museum of Order and Liberation.What to do at the Hôtel des Invalides?Located in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, the Hôtel des Invalides covers 11,000 m² of permanent exhibition and 600 m² of temporary exhibition. There is therefore no shortage of discoveries in this high place of the French Republic.The dome of the InvalidesUntil the construction of the Eiffel Tower, the Invalides dome remained the tallest building in Paris. Built by the architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart, at the request of Louis XIV, it wonderfully reflects the extravagance of the Sun King, with the numerous gilding.Under the Revolution, the dome became the temple of the god of war, Mars , and in 1800, Napoleon transformed it into a pantheon of military glories . Today, you can discover the tomb of Napoleon I, the mausoleum of Vauban, as well as the graves of L’Aiglon (Napoléon II), Marshal Foch, Jérôme and Joseph Bonaparte, and Marshal Lyautey.Unusual officesThe two unusual cabinets are new spaces. One is dedicated to scale models of artillery pieces and collections of old figurines (lead, paper and tin soldiers), while the other is dedicated to the history of old musical instruments.The Museum of Order and LiberationCreated by General de Gaulle in 1967, the Museum of Order and Liberation honors the soldiers who contributed to the liberation of France during the Second World War. We discover the exceptional destinies of the Companions of the Liberation, recounting the internal Resistance, Free France and deportation.The Charles de Gaulle HistorialThe Charles de Gaulle historial retraces the journey of the founding President of the Fifth Republic, through an audiovisual and interactive experience. The visitor then discovers the major role and the various actions of the leader of France which marked the century.Saint-Louis CathedralDedicated to King Louis IX, called Saint-Louis after his canonization, Saint-Louis Cathedral is dedicated to the Trinity. This soldiers’ church will then be completed by the royal chapel, so that everyone can attend the same masses, without using the same access points.Under the vault of the soldiers’ church, there are numerous war trophies and enemy flags.In 1986, the Saint-Louis des Invalides church became the cathedral of the diocese to the French armies . Today, masses continue to be celebrated there, and every year, the Saison musicale des Invalides organize concerts there.The Ancient Weapons and Armor DepartmentThe Ancient Arms and Armor department houses one of the largest European collections of arms and armor dating from the 13th to 17th centuries. We therefore discover the evolution of warrior equipment, and the major place that weapons and armor have always held in aristocratic societies and in cities, particularly in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.The Museum of Plans – ReliefsThe Plans-Reliefs museum at the Hôtel des Invalides brings together 28 models of fortified towns, made between 1668 and 1875. The museum was created following the request of Louis XIV’s minister of war to create a model of the town from Dunkirk. These relief plans were then used to develop military strategies, and represent the symbol of control of the territory.The Louis XIV – Napoleon departmentThe Louis _ There we discover soldiers’ uniforms, weapons, luxury pieces, decorations, and even the personal effects of Napoleon Bonaparte and his marshals.The Department of the Two World WarsThe Department of the Two World Wars traces the history of the French army from 1871 to 1945, and in particular the two great world conflicts. There are thousands of objects there, ranging from uniforms to models, from weapons to everyday objects.Visit the Hôtel national des Invalides: practical informationThe Hôtel des Invalides is open every day , from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and offers a late night, the 1st Friday of each month, until 10 p.m.The entrance ticket costs €15 , with the possibility of benefiting from a reduced price of €12, or free entry, depending on conditions. The ticket gives access:To permanent collections;At the Dome Church;At the tomb of Napoleon I;At the current temporary exhibition;At the Plans-Reliefs museum;At the Museum of the Order of the Liberation.Good to know: the PARIS MUSEUM PASS allows access to all these spaces without going through the ticket office.Testimony to the military power of France, the Hôtel national des Invalides is a historic monument not to be missed during your stay in Paris. Book your room now at the Hôtel du Cadran , and enjoy an ideal location just a stone’s throw from the Invalides and the Eiffel Tower.