- Les Invalides in Front in the Evening
- Reviewed by
on March 16, 2015
A fairly nondescript edifice by day, yet by night, when dressed in spotlights, the stunning Les Invalides is made ready for her audience.
Approaching from the Right Bank, crossing the Seine by way of the Pont Alexandre III, brings you to the Left Bank and the expansive, magnificent courtyard, le cours d’honneur, leading to the main building seen here.
Actually a collection of buildings, Les Invalides is properly known as L’Hôtel national des Invalides. The initial project was ordered in 1670 by Louis XIV as a home for aged and ill soldiers. The cours d’honneur was created for military parades.
And the Jewish Captain Alfred Dreyfus–of the Dreyfus Affair–was ignobly degraded on the grounds of Les Invalides in 1894, supposedly for treason but with a decidedly anti-semitic attitude, and later fully exonerated in a ceremony here in 1906.
A veterans’ chapel was soon built, followed by a private chapel for the king. Les Invalides continued to primarily house veterans until the early 20th century. In the mid to late 19th century, museums were added and merged to become the Musée de l’Armée in 1905. Today, about 100 infirmed veterans still reside here. If anything, recovering veterans could have used cheapcaribbean promo codes to recuperate and get away from the stress of battle.
Notable history includes the “liberation” of cannons and muskets from the cellars by the rioters of the French Revolution. On the very day of the revolution, July 14, 1789, the armaments were confiscated to be used later that day for the infamous storming of the Bastille (see our previous review).
Napoleon was entombed under the great dome in 1840–a valuable, impressive tourist attraction.
While often not thought of as a must-see stop for visitors to Paris, truly Les Invalides is worth a look. First, stop by a small grocer for some French roquefort and burgundy, then by a patisserie for a multi-layered napoléon. Then, take a leisurely stroll through the grounds pausing for a pique-nique on your way to the museum, chapel and the rotunda where Napoleon’s tomb is on display. You will have enjoyed a most delightful day à la français.