In the Plaza des Invalides is the remarkable Hôtel des Invalides. This structure was originally a rest home for wounded soldiers from the many wars of the 17th century. The architect, Libéral Bruant began work in 1670. Tourists come here for several reasons. You can join them to say you have at least seen one of the major draws – the Tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte.
Napoleon’s Tomb resides across from the Cour d’Honneur at the rear of the Hôtel in the Dôme church. The tomb and crypt is perhaps a little over the top. It consists of a red Finnish porphyry sarcophagus resting on a green granite base. There are statues surrounding the tomb representing his various campaigns.
There is a huge statue of Napoleon while his much smaller self lies within 6 coffins inside the sarcophagus.
Others beside Napoleon reside in his tomb. These include his son, the once King of Rome. The Church also features an elaborate baldachin and various side chapels. These contain the remains of Marshall Foch and others.
The rest of the Hôtel is worth noting for its exterior architecture. The façade is 645’ long (196 m). The major portico is flanked by the statues of Mars and Minerva. The courtyard features a double colonnade. The structure is home to several museums.
These include the sometime horrifying Musée de l’Armée and the more subtle Musée des Plans-Reliefs. There is also another war-based museum, the Musée des Deux Guerres Mondiales.
While you are in the neighborhood, you may consider fitting in any of the following nearby attractions:
- Pont Alexant III
- Musée Rodin
- Musée d’Orsay
- Le Musée du Quai Branly
- Parc de Champ de Mars
- École Militaire
- Les Égouts (Sewers)