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Invalides - Paris 7th

Introduction

Eiffel Tower

Musée d'Orsay

Musée de l'Armée

Musée Rodin

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History

The INVALIDES is a huge ensemble. Different parts constitute this monumental ensemble. The most famous of the four museums housed in the Hôtel National des Invalides, the Army Museum displays a complete collection of military history and war art. The visitor is invited to discover the major technical advances, weapons and arms from the Palaeolithic period up to World War II. A special retrospective is devoted to the two world wars

It’s in 1671 that Louis XIV decides the construction of a “hotel-barrack” for war invalids. He creates l'Institut National des Invalides that houses up to 4000 people. This was the idea of the king:" let's not cut out of the world, those who served the nation so well). But instead of the first planned barrack, the architect Bruant builds an immense severe but harmonious façade, making it one of the greatest achievements of the reign of Louis XIV. As the hotel is built far from the Seine shore, Robert de Cotte organizes a splendid esplanade in 1704 (500 meters long, 250 meters wide.

The wrought-iron access gate opens a view on flower-beds towards the hotel des Invalides with its dome and the church Saint-Louis. Penetrate now in the " cour d'honneur" (court of honour) of the hotel des Invalides, very austere, with as only decorations the sculpted garret-windows. It is in this square that great military parades and prestigious bourgeois weddings take place. Look around, at one side, the Musee de l'Armee, at the other side, Musee des Plans-Reliefs. In fundum, the church Saint-Louis.


Cour d'honneur Invalides

The MUSEE DE L’ARMEE occupies the two sides of the cour d’honneur, making it one of the richest in the world. It exposes harnesses, uniforms, swords, old rifles and other arms, of which the rapier of Francois 1er and the martial equipment of Henri II. A section is dedicated to WWI and WWII. For this last war a lot of testimonies and documents. (Quote Routard de Paris): you can see the original edition of "Mein Kampf". Also an incredible nazi propaganda leaflet trying to demonstrate that the dollar paid the Jewish war and discovering the proof on the bill itself! Moving section the clandestine press, fake papers, etc... Terrible photographs of the Pathology museum of Buchenwald.
The MUSEE DES PLANS RELIEFS with 24 remarkable small-scale models of fortresses and fortified cities in French history (Mont Saint Michel, Belle-Ile, Ile de Ré, Oléron, Bayonne, Perpignan, Chateau-d’If, Antibes, Iles des Lérins…..)is located on the 4th floor. Last time I was there it was in renovation.
But now it’s time to have a peek in the Eglise Saint-Louis and the famous Dome des Invalides where Napoleon was transported from Sainte-Hélène. But that’s for next article.

Bibliography:

Vie et histoire des arrondissements de Paris, ed.Hervas, 1985-1988, 20 volumes- Le piéton de Paris, by L.P. Fargue, ed.Gallimard 1997—Rive Gauche, une expérience unique, by Cl.Evrard, ed.Albin 1991-Dictionnaire historique des rues de Paris, by J.Hillairet, ed.Minuit 1985, Guides du Routard 1998-99, ed.Hachette, Napoleon, by Jacques Bainville, ed.Rencontres.

Practical information:
Metro: INVALIDES, LA TOUR MAUBOURG

Address:
Hôtel National des Invalides
Esplanade des Invalides
75007 Paris
Tél. : 01 44 42 37 72

Opening hours:
Daily 10 a.m. to 4.45 p.m. from 1/10 to 31/03.
Daily 10 a.m. to 5.45 p.m. from 1/04 to 30/09.

Entrance fees:
6 Euros; Concessions : 4.50 Euros.
Free under 12.




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