Hôtel des Invalides, église du Dôme et église Saint-Louis
The project to build a hotel to accommodate wounded soldiers or soldiers who are too old to serve was instigated by Louis XIV, who in 1670 charged his secretary of state for the Louvois war to complete this project. The latter chose architect, Liberal Bruant, who had worked on l’hôpital de la Salpêtrière (13th), and also l’église Notre-Dame des Victoires (2nd).
In only three years, the military compound was completed, and the first invalides (wounded soldiers) settled in October of 1674. In 1710, their population had grown to 3000 and continued up to 7000. Divided into companies, the work was completed in uniform, shoe, tapestry and illumination factories.
The hospital, which accomodates 100 injured individuals, is still active today. The hotel, established in 1905, has housed the musée de l’armée, which combines the Artillery Museum collection, founded during the Revolution and the Army Historical Museum (1896). The museum allows one to retrace the military history from the Middle Ages until the modern era.
In 1676, the church project in the south was entrusted to Jules Hardouin-Mansart, who completed it with taking the plans of his great-uncle François Mansart for the great royal church, Dome Church. Its decor is entrusted to the greatest artists of Louis XIV : Charles de la Fosse, Girardon and Jouvenet, who worked at Versailles.
Under Napoleon I, the dome became a pantheon of military glory. He ordered the transport of Turenne’s remains, one of the most famous marshals of France, and also erected a mausoleum where the heart of Sébastien Le Prestre was to be transferred, said Marquis de Vauban, architect, engineer and planner who Louis XIV appointed military Marshal of France.
In turn, Louis Philippe ordered the transport of Napoleon I’s remains in 1840, first to l’église du Dôme, which was based previously on Saint Helena island.
The dome was re-gilded for the fifth time since its creation for the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution; 550,000 gold leaves, weighing more than ten kilos, were necessary for the operation.
Completed in 1679, l’église Saint-Louis des Invalides, called the soldier’s church, houses the tomb of Governors for many governors of the Invalides, the marshals of France and military leaders. It is administratively attached to the Army Museum and is the seat for the vicariate of French armies. It is regularly used for commemorations, such as mass on May 5 for the anniversary of the death of Napoleon I.
For the record, the guns placed in front of the Hotel des Invalides on the esplanade, were brought by Napoleon 1st from Vienna. They were actually abducted by the Germans in 1940 before being returned in 1946.
Hôtel des Invalides – 129 Rue de Grenelle – 75007 Paris
Telephone. 01 44 42 37 72
Open 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM from April to September and 10:00 AM 5:00 PM from October to March
Invalides Métro (lines 8 & 13)