The major dome of Paris hosting Napoleon’s ashes is part of a majestic hospital ordered by the Sun-king.
In 1670, founded a hospital for his invalid soldiers, the King Louis XIV adopted plans by Liberal Bruant and the work started in 1671 and was finished in 1676. This hospital could house up to 4000 patients.
The principal facade, which stretches on both sides of the immense semicircular-arched doorway, whose pilasters lie on statues of Mars and Minerva, Warring Valour and Armed Wisdom, by Guillaume Coustou. On the pediment there is a statue of Louis XIV on horseback, by the same Coustou a story with three large bay windows surmounts the main entrance. All of these openings are in the form of semicircular arches. The entrance is flanked by two doors under bulls’-eyes. The arch of the pediment, the tops of windows, and the bulls’-eyes windows are adorned with garlands and cable moulding. The sober blocks of buildings are given rythm by the openings, the higher ones smaller than the lower arched bays on the ground floor and rectangular bays on the three higher floors. A cornice emphasizes the third, and gable windows adorned with sculpted weapons border the roof. Two pavilions frame the facade. In front of it lies a garden enclosed by ramparts a la Vauban, lined with 17th and 18th century cannon. Created by Robert de Cotte between 1704 and 1720, beyond the garden extends the large esplanade.
Beneath the dome lies two churches : one for the soldiers, and the other intended as a vault for the king but now containing the mortal remains of Napoleon. The Esplanade leads from the Quai d’Orsay through a formal garden to the the majestic facade of Les Invalides. In an arch above the large central portal is an eques- trian portrait of the Sun King supported by Prudence and Justice. Behind this is the splendid cour d’honneur which now houses the Army Museum in its east and west wing.
Location : 129 Rue de Grenelle 75007 Paris
Phone : 01 30 83 78 00
How to get there :
- Metro line 8 : Latour-Maubourg, Varenne, Invalides
- RER C : Invalides
- Buses : 32, 63, 93
- The museum is open every day of the year except on January 1st, May 1st, November 1st, and December 25 – as well as the first monday of every month.
- October to March 31st included : from 10 am to 4:45 pm,
- April to September 30 included : from 10 am to 5:45 pm
- June 15 to September 15 included: the Dome church including the Tomb of Napoleon I are open from 10 am to 6:45 pm
Official website : https://www.musee-armee.fr