Resting place of Napoleon
Invalides is a stunning complex of buildings on the south side of the Seine. Many people almost miss seeing it – distracted by the nearby Eiffel Tower. But the Église du Dôme with its golden roof is an incredible sight. And your Paris bus tour lets you really appreciate it.
The history of L’Hôtel des Invalides
The buildings owe their existence to Louis XIV’s charitable nature. In 1670, touched by the plight of aged and injured soldiers, he commissioned Invalides to be built as a hospital.
The main buildings were completed in 1676 and are arranged around 15 courtyards. Louis XIV then commissioned a Royal Chapel to embellish the site: the Église du Dôme was finished in 1709.
The world’s grandest hospital?
With its baroque architecture and sculptured grounds, it’s hard to believe that some of the buildings are still used as a hospital for war veterans. It’s also home to venerated tombs (including Napoleon’s) and a variety of museums symbolising France’s military history.
Other interesting facts about the L'Hôtel des Invalides:
- The list of tombs reads like an honour roll for France’s military leaders
- Les Invalides is the largest single complex of monuments and museums in Paris
- It houses over 500,000 artefacts, including weapons, artillery and paintings from the Napoleonic Wars
- On the 14th July 1789, 28,000 weapons were stolen from Invalides by a crowd that used them to attack the Bastille