Hotel des Invalides

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The Hôtel des Invalides is a large complex of buildings of the French baroque classicism built in the seventeenth century in Paris in order to accommodate wounded soldiers. The dome, the gilded, was built for the private chapel of Louis XIV, it now houses inside the tomb of Napoleon.

Currently, the property has retained some of its functions, hosting some elderly veterans; Building was transformed into the famous Army Museum (Musee de l’Armee) which retains weapons and trophies of French history from the seventeenth century to the Second World War; destination for tourists is also the royal chapel, where in 1840 they were transferred to the remains of Napoleon. The complex is also the burial site for some of France’s war heroes.

Louis XIV wanted, like his predecessors, Henry III and Henry IV, ensure help and assistance to the elderly or disabled soldiers of his armies; so that “those who have risked their lives and lavished their blood in the defense of the monarchy (…) to pass the rest of their days in peace,” says the royal edict of 1670.

In the plain of Grenelle, then the outskirts of Paris, the work of the main buildings were entrusted to Libéral Bruant by the Minister of War Louvois.

Libéral Bruant devised a complex divided into five courtyards, centered on the largest: the cour royale (“royal court”). The work took place between March 1671 and February 1677, but the first guests s’installarono already in October 1674). The front of the great court was nevertheless demolished a few months after being completed, to make way for the foundations of the great dome.

The church initially planned by Bruant was given in March 1676 Jules Hardouin Mansart, who also worked the halls of entry and infirmaries. The construction of the religious lasted about thirty years, and was not finished until August 28, 1706, since the keys are handed to the Sun King. The building is, in fact, twofold, but there is a structural continuity: the new église des soldats , and the choir, under the dome, called Eglise du dôme. The distinction was embodied in the implementation, in 1873, a large glass wall, separating the two sides.

L’hôtel des Invalides therefore includes, in addition to the church, a manufacturing (packaging of uniforms and printshop), a hospice (maison de retraite) and a military hospital. The premises of the factories were soon destined to additional accommodation.

On July 15, 1804 took place in the church the first delivery of the honors of the Legion of Honour by Napoleon’s officers deserve, during a lavish ceremony.

The hotel also assumed a role as a museum: Museum of Artillery in 1872 and the museum of the army in 1896, reunited in the present Musée de l’Armée in 1905.

The Hôtel des Invalides still welcomes hundreds of veterans and invalids of the French army, under the jurisdiction of the Institut National des Invalides.




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