Hôtel des Invalides, Paris

The Tomb of Napoleon, Les Invalides, Paris – © David H. Enzel, 2023

The Hôtel des Invalides, commonly called Les Invalides, is a complex of buildings in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building’s original purpose. The buildings house the Musée de l’Armée, the military museum of the Army of France, the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, and the Musée d’Histoire Contemporaine. The complex also includes the former hospital chapel, now the national cathedral of the French military, and the adjacent former Royal Chapel known as the Dôme des Invalides, the tallest church building in Paris at a height of 107 meters. The latter has been converted into a shrine of some of France’s leading military figures, most notably the tomb of Napoleon.

The main courtyard is the central space of Les Invalides. It is 102 meters (335 feet) long and 64 meters (210 feet) wide, This courtyard is the largest of the Invalides. It is an example of classical architecture of the 17th century. 

Courtyard, Les Invalides – © David H. Enzel, 2023

The Invalides has served as the scene for key events in French history.  For example, on July 14, 1789 it was stormed by Parisian rioters who seized the cannons and muskets stored in its cellars to use against the Bastille later the same day. Napoleon was entombed under the dome of the Invalides in 1840. The rehabilitation ceremony of Alfred Dreyfus took place in a courtyard of the complex in 1906.

More photos of Les Invalides (click to view in a lightbox):

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