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Les Invalides - French Army Museum

Attractions Articles
Les Ivalides and French Army Museum

Les Ivalides and French Army Museum

Les Invalides in Paris

Les Invalides in Paris was built to house disabled and injured French soldiers, from the various campaigns they had fought in, at the request of King Louis XIV. Work started in 1671 and finally finished in 1706. As well as housing injured soldiers, Les Invalides became the final resting place of Napoleon's body after being moved from St Helena to Paris in 1840. Les Invalides is also home to the French Army Museum which has a great many exhibits from the period.

In 1840 the British Government finally agreed that Napoleon's body be transferred from the island of St Helena to rest in St Jerome's Chapel then later at the Dome Church at les Invalides. The funeral procession moved from the Arc de Triomphe down the Champs-Elysees, across the Place de la Concorde to the Esplanade and then to St Jerome's Chapel where his body lay until the tomb was completed. The sculptor Visconti finished the monument in 1861 and on this date the Emperor's remains were laid to rest. The body rests in five successive coffins - one in tin, one in mahogany, two in lead and one in ebony. These are arranged in a massive block of red porphyry which came from Finland.

Until the reign of King Louis XIV there was no specific place or building for housing disabled soldiers from the various French Army campaigns. In 1671 the king decided to create the Hotel des Invalides in Paris to accommodate the disabled and injured French soldiers. The architect Liberal Bruant was put in charge of the construction work and the first soldiers took up residence in 1674. Work was started on a church in 1677 which was later to be split into the Soldiers' Church and the Dome Church. The building work finished in 1706 under the supervision of Jules Hardouin-Mansart.

Within the complex of Les Invalides are the Musee de l'Armee and Musee des Plans-Reliefs, Musee de l'Ordre de la Liberation and L'Eglise de St Louis. Les Invalides is also the final resting place for some of Napoleon's family, several military officers who served with him, and other French heroes such as: Joseph Bonaparte (1768 - 1845) Napoleon's eldest brother, Jerome Bonaparte (1785 - 1851) Napoleon's youngest brother, Napoleon II of France (1812 - 1833) who was Napoleon's son, Geraud Duroc (1774 - 1814) Serving officer, Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle (1760 - 1836) was an army captain and also the author of the French national anthem La Marseillaise and Ferdinand Foch (1851 - 1929) French marshall during the first world war.

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