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Monument : Invalides


The Hotel des Invalides, founded by Louis XIV to shelter 7000 aged or crippled soldiers. This church is part of a large establishment built to house disabled veterans. Although it is generally classical in style, particularly in the rectilinearity of the lower facade, the church does have some Baroque elements. There is a dynamic movement toward the center, which culminates in the central pediment.

In the chapels of Saint-Louis are the tombs of Napoleons brothers Joseph and Jerome, of his son and of the marshals of France. Immediately beneath the cupola is a red porphyry sarcophagus that covers the six coffins enclosing the body of Napoleon I, which was returned from Saint-Helena island in 1840 through the efforts of King Louis-Philippe. Napoleons uniforms, personal arms, and death bed are displayed in the rich Musée de l'Armée (Army Museum) at the front of the Invalides.

The grassy, tree-lined Esplanade des Invalides slopes gently for 1400 feet to the Quai d'Orsay and the Pont Alexandre III. The first stone for the bridge was laid in 1897 by Alexanders son, Tsar Nicholas II. A steel span with upper works of stone, it embodies the Gay Nineties, la Belle Epoque, solid, sumptuous, and luxuriant, with its pomposity mocked by its own gaiety. Finished in time for the International Exposition of 1900, it leads to two faded souvenirs of that years fair, the Grand Palais and the Petit Palais.

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How to get there

To reach the invalides from hotel Elysees Union take bus line 92 at Charles de Gaulle to Vauban Invalides un approx 20 mn.