The beautiful view from the street

If you’re looking to learn about the history of France and its military history, then head to the Hotel Des Invalides. It was once an old military barracks, and has since been converted into a museum. Walking here from the Eiffel Tower takes around 25-minutes. You can cut through Champ de Mars, head down Rue de Belgrade, and turn down Boulevard de la Tour-Mars Bourge and voila! You have arrived at your destination. Of course, you could just follow the road which runs along the Seine river, which is a lovely walk, but it will take longer.

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The beautiful front facade
Come in! Welcome! Don’t mind the canons pointing at you 😀

The grounds are magnificent and cover quite a large area, including spacious manicured gardens at the front of the building. As soon as we approached, I was struck by how grand the building was and the way the impressive gilded dome in the center glistened in the afternoon sun.

The manicured front gardens

Its full name is Hotel National des Invalides, and this is the place you come to learn about France’s history. Housed on the grounds is the Musee de L’armee’s. Louis XIV commissioned the Hotel in 1670 to provide accommodation and care for currently serving soldiers, as well as those who have become disabled and retired. Louis knew that in order to protect France, he had to have a well-cared-for army. The complex is absolutely huge. At one point, 4000 soldiers lived here, whereas today, it functions strictly as a museum.

At the edge of the gardens, facing out to the River Seine, there was a wall of cannons pointing towards the street. Were they expecting an invasion, perhaps? Mind you, in this day and age, you can never be too careful. There is a cobblestone central walkway, flanked by pointed manicured trees, which leads up to the entrance, making it look very grand. The whole front façade is decorated with stunning floral stonework with sculptured horses and God-like figures to complete the look.

Once through the grand entrance, you find yourself in a large courtyard where you can walk amongst artillery collections and sculptures. Some of the detail on the canons was so beautiful that I almost laughed. The French even killed their enemies in style. Nothing in this beautiful city is plain and boring. I love Paris! This courtyard is a perfect example of 17th-century classical architecture, which can be found throughout Paris. Don’t forget to look up to the far end of the square, or you might miss out on the sculpture of Napoleon (I), looking down on you as you explore.

Napoleon looking down on everyone

The Musee de l’Armee is housed in the complex too, but we never got the chance to look inside, as it was closing soon, and we had dawdled all the way here. I blame Paris as it’s so beautiful. We kept stopping to look at everything! We did have a walk around to see Napoleon’s tomb, but again we missed out due to time constraints. Although we didn’t get in, we did manage to catch a sneaky glimpse through the double doors which led inside, and his mausoleum looked spectacular!

Check out the elaborate doors leading to Napoléon’s Mausoleum
I could only get this view from the door, as you had to pay to get in, and we had a limited budget.

This is where you will find the beautiful dome I mentioned earlier. The room reminds me of the Pantheon in Rome [>>>>> Click Here For Full Article <<<<<], due to its round-shaped interior with columns around the side. His coffin is right in the centre of the room, but it’s not like you will miss it! It’s constructed entirely from a burgundy marble and raised high off the ground by a huge plinth constructed in contrasting forest green. Part of the reason this room has been decorated so lavishly is because it was also once used by King Louis (XIV) as his royal chapel.

129 Rue de Grenelle, 75007 Paris, France |

Thanks for reading my post on the Hotel Des Invalides in Paris. I wanted to visit this fascinating army barracks since buying a travel book on Paris, and I knew nothing about it but thought it looks really interesting, and I wasn’t wrong! As I was only in Paris for one full day, there were some parts which I never got to explore as it is so massive. You could easily spend a few hours here. Are you going to visit the Hotel Des Invalides on your next trip to Paris? Have you visited here before? Let me know in the comments section below!

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