We continued to explore the city and so we came to Napoleon's tomb, which is located in the complex known as the Hotel des Invalides. It was founded in 1671 by Louis XIV, the Sun King. He wanted to provide accommodation for disabled and impoverished war veterans. Originally only a number of barracks were planned, but King Louis XIV chose a design by architect Liberal Bruant which consisted of a large impressive building with a royal courtyard and church. The front facade facing the Seine river is 196 meters long. The whole complex features 15 courtyards, the largest being the court of honor. This courtyard was used for military parades.
The building was completed in 1676 and housed up to 4,000 war veterans. A wide, 500 meters long esplanade separates the Hotel des Invalides from the Pont Alexandre III and Seine river. Later the church of Saint-Louis was added as an annex to the complex.
The church is connected directly with the Royal chapel, better known as the Dome des Invalides. This chapel with a 107 meter high dome was for exclusive use of the royal family. Construction of the dome was completed in 1708, 27 years after the first stone was laid.
Plans to bury the remains of the Royal Family here were set aside after the death of king Louis XIV, and in 1840 king Louis-Philippe repatriated the remains of the Emperor Napoleon from st. Helena, where he was buried after his death 19 years earlier, to have Napoleon entombed here. The Dome des Invalides now also houses the tombs of several other military leaders like Turenne, Vauban and marshall Foch.
Hotel des Invalides is now home to several museums:
The Musee de l'Armee is a large military museum located on both sides of the cour d'honneur. It covers military history from the early Middle Ages to the second World War. It features weapons, uniforms, maps and banners, not only from the western world, but also from countries like Turkey, China, Japan and India, then a Musee des Plans-Reliefs, and the museum of genral Charles de Gaulle.
We managed to see Napoleon tomb and Mussee de l'Armee and that was enough for us. We were tired of war history and we went on to the Louvre, something more spiritually then this, at least for me.