Musée de l'Armée (Military Museum)

Situated in the Hotel des Invalides, this museum is dedicated to military history from the Stone Age to the end of World War II. Besides armour, weapons, the collection of swords you will find Chinese and Japanese war costumes and Napoleon's campaign tent as well as a reproduction of the room he died in, while in exile. His stuffed dog and horse are on display to.

Don’t miss the collections of  old models and maps in the Musée des Plans-Relief . The oldest model, representing the town of Perpignan, dates back to 1866, other models cover several centuries.

Saint-Louis des Invalides

Built between 1679 and 1708, this religious building is commonly known as the "soldiers' church", in honour of the great military leaders who have been laid to rest here.

One of them is Rouget de Lisle the composer of the French national anthem (La Marseillaise). 

Despite being overshadowed by the Eglise du Dome, St-Louis is still a breathtaking church, with military flags, taken from enemies during the course of numerous battles, highlighting the height of the ceiling.

The flags were once displayed in Notre-Dame Cathedral and had to be hidden from the Nazi Occupation army in World War II.

L’Eglise du Dôme

This large church, famous for its magnificent dome, is a typical example of baroque architecture. Louis XIV (the Sun King) built it for himself, between 1679 and 1706.

In 1840, it was dedicated to the glory of Napoleon Bonapart and became his final resting place. His body now lies in set of coffins made of mahogany ,tin, lead, ebony and oak, in the middle of the church, beneath the dome.

Other famous military figures are also here, like field-marshals Foch and Lyautey.

The dome's exterior was gilted in 1715 and its ceiling decorated by a frescoe representing Saint-Louis and Christ.

Napoléon Bonaparte (1769-1821) 

Napoleon Bonaparte, was a little man who had big plans for France. During his rule, France was continuously at war and the empire he built was huge so he decided to became the Emperor of France by crowning himself in Notre Dame Church (see page….)

By the year 1812, Napoleon had the major part of Western Europe under his control. He was finally defeated when the British, Austrian, Prussian, and Russian armies invaded France.

Napoleon was then exiled to the island of Elba from where he escaped and then went on to rule France once again. It only lasted  for a hundred days, when he was defeated at Waterloo by Wellington. This time he was sent to St. Helena, as a prisoner, and died there in 1821.

In his years of exile on St-Helena's Island, Napoleon expressed his wish to be buried near the Seine. He died and was buried there. Later on Louis-Philippe, the Citizen King, had Napoleon's remains brought back to Paris in to be entombed at Les Invalides (overlooking the Seine).

His gravestone from St-Helena has been placed beneath willow trees in the enclosed gardens, as it was on the island before his exhumation.

The whole Invalides complex is surrounded by gardens. On the edge of the complex, is the 18th Century Garden, lined with bronze cannons from the 17th and 18th centuries.

In front is the formal lawn with cone-shaped yews and cannons that Napoleon brought back from the battlefields. 

Next to these are two informal, English-style  gardens added in the 1860s under Baron Haussmann's urban re-planning of the city. Square Ajaccio and Square Santiago have little play areas for children.

Napoleon took 14,000 French decrees and simplified them into a unified set of 7 laws. For the first time in modern history  a nation's laws applied equally to all citizens. Napoleon's 7 laws are so impressive that by 1960 more than 70 governments had patterned their own laws after them.

Bonaparte Family

  The last member of the famous Bonaparte family, Jerome Napoleon Bonaparte, died in 1945, of injuries sustained from tripping over his dog's leash.

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Paris , France


Esplanade des Invalides Paris, 75007
Open: 10am-5pm daily. Closed public holidays

L’Eglise du Dôme
Open: Oct 1-Mar 31: 10am-5pm Mon-Sun, Apr 1-Sep 30: 10am-6pm Mon-Sun

Musée de l'Armée - Military history

129, rue de Grenelle, 7th
M° Latour-Maubourg, RER Invalides
Open: Apr-Sep: 10a-5:45p M-Su, Oct-Mar: 10a-4:45p M-Su

Musée des Plans-Relief
Open: 10am-6pm Mon-Sun

The ticket to the Army Museum and Napoleon's Tomb includes entrance to this scale-model museum.

More information

Les Invalides


Les Invalides

This vast complex was founded in 1675, by Louis XIV's, to take in French ex-servicemen and handicapped war veterans - from whom it gets its name, "Invalides". It also houses the church Saint-Louis des Invalides, the église du Dôme, the Musée de l'Armée, the Musée de l'Ordre de la Libération and the Musée des Plans-Relief.