Unlocking Paris Secrets: Les Invalides and the Iconic Napoleons Tomb

21 Aug, 2023

Unlocking Paris Secrets: Les Invalides and the Iconic Napoleons Tomb

Aug 21, 2023

Exploring Les Invalides and Napoleon’s Tomb

If you’re visiting Paris, one attraction that should be on your list is Les Invalides. This historic complex is home to several notable sites, including Napoleon’s Tomb. Let’s take a closer look at Les Invalides and delve into its fascinating history.

Introduction to Les Invalides

Les Invalides, officially known as Hôtel national des Invalides, is a sprawling complex located in the 7th arrondissement of Paris. It was originally built in the 17th century as a hospital and retirement home for war veterans. Today, it serves multiple purposes, housing museums, monuments, and military-related institutions.

This impressive architectural masterpiece is a prime example of French Baroque style. Its golden dome, visible from various parts of the city, has become an iconic symbol of Paris. Les Invalides is not only historically significant but also offers visitors a glimpse into the military history of France.

The Fascinating History of Les Invalides

Les Invalides has a rich and fascinating history that spans over three centuries. It was commissioned by King Louis XIV to provide shelter, medical care, and support for injured and retired soldiers. Designed by architect Libéral Bruant, the complex was completed in 1676.

Over the years, Les Invalides played a significant role in various historical events. During the French Revolution, it became a symbol of the power of the people when the storming of the Bastille prison led to the discovery of a stockpile of weapons stored in Les Invalides.

One of the most notable features of Les Invalides is Napoleon’s Tomb. Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, who played a pivotal role in French history, chose Les Invalides as his final resting place. His tomb, located within the magnificent Dome Church, attracts visitors from around the world who come to pay their respects to this iconic figure.

Exploring Les Invalides and Napoleon’s Tomb provides a unique opportunity to delve into the history and heritage of France. From the grandeur of the architecture to the significance of the exhibits, a visit to this historic site is both educational and awe-inspiring.

As you plan your visit to Les Invalides, make sure to check the opening hours and ticket information. Additionally, be respectful of the sanctity of the site and follow the etiquette guidelines. Les Invalides is not only an architectural marvel but also a place of remembrance and reverence.

Continue your exploration of Paris by visiting other iconic attractions such as the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, and the Notre-Dame Cathedral. Paris offers a wealth of cultural, historical, and artistic experiences that are sure to captivate your senses.

Discovering Napoleon’s Tomb

When visiting Les Invalides, one of the highlights is undoubtedly Napoleon’s Tomb. This iconic site holds great historical significance and offers a glimpse into the life and legacy of one of France’s most renowned leaders.

The Magnificent Dome Church

At the heart of Les Invalides stands the magnificent Dome Church (Église du Dôme). Its golden dome, glistening in the sunlight, is an impressive sight that can be seen from afar. As you approach the church, you’ll be captivated by its grandeur and architectural beauty.

The Dome Church was originally constructed as a royal chapel and later became the final resting place for Napoleon Bonaparte. The interior of the church is equally breathtaking, adorned with stunning frescoes and intricate details. It provides a serene and solemn atmosphere, allowing visitors to reflect on the historical significance of the site.

Napoleon’s Final Resting Place

Within the Dome Church lies the final resting place of Napoleon Bonaparte himself. The tomb of this legendary French emperor is an awe-inspiring sight. Napoleon rests on a red quartzite pedestal, surrounded by six statues representing his victories. The tomb is a testament to his enduring legacy and serves as a reminder of his significant contributions to French history.

Visiting Napoleon’s Tomb at Les Invalides is a unique opportunity to pay homage to one of the most influential figures in European history. It allows you to gain a deeper understanding of Napoleon’s life and the impact he had on France and the world.

While exploring Les Invalides, be sure to allocate ample time to experience the magnificence of the Dome Church and witness the grandeur of Napoleon’s Tomb. It is an extraordinary experience that will leave a lasting impression on your visit to Paris.

Continue your Parisian adventure by checking out other attractions and landmarks in the city. Feel free to explore our article on things to do in Paris for more inspiration and recommendations.

What to See and Do at Les Invalides

When visiting Les Invalides, there are several captivating attractions to explore. From immersing yourself in military history to delving into the stories of bravery and sacrifice, Les Invalides offers a range of experiences. Here are three must-visit destinations within Les Invalides:

The Army Museum

The Army Museum is a treasure trove of military artifacts and exhibits, spanning centuries of French military history. As you wander through the museum’s halls, you’ll encounter an impressive collection of arms, armor, uniforms, and artwork that showcase the evolution of warfare. From ancient weapons to modern artillery, the museum provides a comprehensive look into the military heritage of France.

Additionally, the museum houses the Musée de l’Ordre de la Libération, which pays tribute to the heroes of the French Resistance during World War II. Here, you can explore the stories of those who fought for freedom and gain a deeper understanding of their courage and determination.

The Musée de l’Ordre de la Libération

The Musée de l’Ordre de la Libération is dedicated to preserving the memory of the French Resistance and the liberation of France during World War II. Through a remarkable collection of photographs, documents, and personal artifacts, the museum sheds light on the extraordinary efforts made by individuals who fought against oppression and contributed to the restoration of liberty.

Visiting this museum is a powerful and moving experience, allowing you to gain insight into the challenges faced by the resistance fighters and their significant contributions to history.

The Musée des Plans-Reliefs

For those with an interest in military strategy and historical maps, the Musée des Plans-Reliefs is a must-see. This unique museum showcases a collection of intricately detailed relief models, providing a three-dimensional representation of fortified cities and regions. These models were once used by military commanders to plan and strategize during times of conflict.

As you explore the museum, you’ll have the opportunity to marvel at the craftsmanship of these models and gain a deeper understanding of the military architecture and engineering of bygone eras.

By visiting the Army Museum, the Musée de l’Ordre de la Libération, and the Musée des Plans-Reliefs within Les Invalides, you’ll gain a comprehensive understanding of France’s military history and the bravery of its people. These attractions offer a unique glimpse into the past and provide an enriching experience for history enthusiasts of all ages.

Tips for Visiting Les Invalides

If you’re planning a visit to Les Invalides and Napoleon’s Tomb, here are some helpful tips to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience.

Getting There

Les Invalides is located in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, making it easily accessible by various modes of transportation. If you’re using public transportation, the closest metro station is Invalides (lines 8 and 13), which provides direct access to the site. Additionally, several bus lines serve the area, and taxis are readily available. If you prefer to explore the city on foot, Les Invalides is within walking distance of popular attractions like the Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, and Champs-Élysées.

Opening Hours and Tickets

Before planning your visit, it’s important to check the opening hours of Les Invalides. The site is typically open from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM, but the schedule may vary on certain days, such as holidays or during special events. It’s always a good idea to verify the current opening hours on the official website or by contacting the venue directly.

To enter Les Invalides and access Napoleon’s Tomb, you will need to purchase a ticket. The ticket prices can vary depending on the areas you wish to visit within Les Invalides, such as the Army Museum, the Musée de l’Ordre de la Libération, or the Musée des Plans-Reliefs. It’s advisable to check the official website for up-to-date ticket prices and any available discounts for students, seniors, or families.

Etiquette and Respect

While visiting Les Invalides and Napoleon’s Tomb, it’s important to maintain a respectful demeanor. Remember that this is a historic site and the final resting place of a significant figure in history. Keep noise levels to a minimum and refrain from touching or leaning on any exhibits or displays. Photography is typically allowed, but be mindful of any designated areas where photography may be restricted.

Additionally, dress appropriately for your visit. Les Invalides is a place of historical and cultural significance, so it’s advisable to dress in a respectful manner. Avoid wearing revealing or offensive clothing, and consider bringing a sweater or jacket, as the temperature inside the buildings may differ from the outside.

By following these tips, you can make the most of your visit to Les Invalides and Napoleon’s Tomb. Immerse yourself in the fascinating history, explore the various museums, and pay homage to the iconic figure of Napoleon Bonaparte. Don’t forget to check out the things to do in Paris to discover more exciting attractions and experiences in the City of Light.

Exploring the Surrounding Area

After immersing yourself in the rich history of Les Invalides and Napoleon’s Tomb, take the opportunity to explore the vibrant surrounding area. Here are some suggestions for nearby attractions, places to eat and drink, and shopping opportunities to enhance your visit to this iconic Parisian destination.

Nearby Attractions

Les Invalides is conveniently located near several other popular attractions in Paris. Take advantage of your time in the area to visit some of these notable sites:

  • Eiffel Tower: Just a short walk away, the Eiffel Tower offers breathtaking views of the city. Take an elevator ride to the top and marvel at the panoramic vistas. For more information, check out our article on things to do in Paris.
  • Louvre Museum: A short distance from Les Invalides, the Louvre Museum houses an extensive collection of art and historical artifacts. Don’t miss the chance to see iconic masterpieces like the Mona Lisa. Learn more about the Louvre in our dedicated article on the Louvre Museum.
  • Notre-Dame Cathedral: Explore the stunning Gothic architecture of Notre-Dame Cathedral, located on the Île de la Cité. Marvel at its intricate details and visit the famous gargoyles. Discover more about this architectural masterpiece in our guide on the Notre-Dame Cathedral.
  • Champs-Élysées: Take a leisurely stroll down the Champs-Élysées, one of the world’s most famous avenues. Enjoy the luxurious shops, cafes, and vibrant atmosphere. Find out more about this iconic street in our article on the Champs-Élysées.
  • Montmartre and the Sacré-Cœur Basilica: Explore the bohemian neighborhood of Montmartre, known for its artistic heritage. Visit the Sacré-Cœur Basilica, perched on top of the hill, and enjoy panoramic views of the city. Read our dedicated article on Montmartre and the Sacré-Cœur Basilica for more information.

Places to Eat and Drink

After a day of exploring, treat yourself to a delightful meal or refreshing drink at one of the many restaurants and cafes near Les Invalides. Here are a few recommendations to satisfy your culinary cravings:

  • Café de l’Esplanade: Enjoy classic French cuisine with a modern twist at this charming café located near Les Invalides. Indulge in delicious dishes while soaking up the Parisian atmosphere.
  • Le Petit Cler: This cozy restaurant offers a variety of French specialties, including traditional dishes like steak frites and escargots. Situated in the lively Rue Cler neighborhood, it’s a great spot to experience local flavors.
  • Les Cocottes: For a unique dining experience, try Les Cocottes, a restaurant known for its delectable dishes cooked in small cast-iron pots. Sample their famous French onion soup or other seasonal delights.
  • Café du Marché: Located near the Rue Cler market, this bustling café is perfect for a relaxed meal or a quick bite. Enjoy a wide range of French classics, from croque-monsieurs to crème brûlée.

Shopping Opportunities

If you’re in the mood for some retail therapy, the area surrounding Les Invalides offers a variety of shopping options. From high-end boutiques to charming markets, there’s something for everyone. Here are a few places to consider:

  • Rue Saint-Dominique: This vibrant street is lined with fashionable boutiques, specialty shops, and gourmet food stores. Explore the latest trends in fashion, accessories, and home decor.
  • Le Bon Marché: Head to Le Bon Marché, one of the oldest department stores in Paris. Browse through its luxurious offerings, including fashion, beauty products, and gourmet treats.
  • Rue de Grenelle: Discover a mix of trendy boutiques and unique shops on Rue de Grenelle. From clothing and accessories to home goods and antiques, you’re sure to find something special.
  • Rue Cler Market: Experience the charm of a traditional Parisian market on Rue Cler. Browse through stalls filled with fresh produce, local cheeses, flowers, and more. It’s the perfect place to pick up ingredients for a picnic or souvenirs to take home.

As you explore the surrounding area of Les Invalides, keep in mind that this is just a glimpse of what Paris has to offer. Don’t miss out on other famous attractions, such as the Musée d’Orsay, Palace of Versailles, Musée Rodin, and more. Paris is a city full of wonders, waiting to be explored.


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