Hotel des Invalides (House of Invalids), Paris

Hotel des Invalides (House of Invalids), Paris

Les Invalides is a spacious block of buildings in Paris comprising museums and monuments showcasing the military glory of France. It also played a significant role in the French Revolution. On 14 July 1789, prior to attacking the Bastille fortress, a mob broke into Les Invalides and seized 32,000 rifles, which proved crucial in starting the fight.

Originally designed as a hospital and retirement home for the aged and sick war veterans, the complex had 15 courtyards, with the largest one reserved for military parades. Completed in the 17th century, the hospital once housed up to 4,000 veterans at a time. Some of France's greatest generals and war heroes, including Napoleon Bonaparte himself, are buried here.

The tomb of Napoleon in the Royal Chapel is a standalone attraction and is a typically French interpretation of Baroque, with a huge dome, inspired by St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. The inner part of the dome is a sample of the French mastery in decorative arts, working on which was the army of painters and craftsmen. The sheer size of the dome, and that of the sarcophagus beneath it, vividly demonstrate the importance of Napoleon to the French people. If you come late, toward the closing hours, you may have a bit more space to walk around and explore this place on your own.

Inside the Museum, you will see the history of French might, arranged in a great series of halls and rooms and galleries stretching from the Middle Ages to more recent times. Renaissance armour for the horses as well as the men is a specialty, as well as their helmets and spears and halberds and cross-bows. The campaigns of Louis XIV as he strove to rule the whole of Europe is recorded in maps and manuscripts and period drawings. Climactically, the period of the French Revolution is represented most dramatically and in detail with flags and standards, cockade hats and the Guillotine.

The Napoleonic wars are also represented by cannon taken from the battle fields and all the military might that Napoleon was able to muster before his defeat at Waterloo by the Duke of Wellington and ignominious fall from power into exile. The age of photography enables us to see how devastating was the German attack on Paris in 1871 where newly built boulevards and their buildings stood in war ruins. And WWI/WWII are also evoked through photographs and contemporary film which record man's inhumanity to man.

Why You Should Visit:
From Napoleon's campaigns to the world wars, it is all there for you to see. The exhibits cover not just the military aspects of the wars, but also their economic, social and political aspects, their causes and the aftermath. Then, to top it all off, there is the tomb of Napoleon.

Tip:
The available on-site Angelina patisserie offers visitors a fairly good selection of teas and cakes, ideal for a quick snack and a nice break whenever one might need it.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Paris. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Hotel des Invalides (House of Invalids) on Map

Sight Name: Hotel des Invalides (House of Invalids)
Sight Location: Paris, France (See walking tours in Paris)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Paris, France

Create Your Own Walk in Paris

Create Your Own Walk in Paris

Creating your own self-guided walk in Paris is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Souvenirs Shopping Walk

Souvenirs Shopping Walk

Being one of the world's premier shopping destinations, the French capital attracts thousands of shopaholics every year. Even those who hate shopping, enjoy doing it here. Renowned for its luxury and sophistication, Paris is a great place for finding unique and elegant souvenirs to cherish. Here are some must-visit places for souvenir shopping in the City of Light.

Lafayette Galleries...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.0 Km or 3.1 Miles
Le Marais Walking Tour

Le Marais Walking Tour

The district known to locals as "Le Marais" used to be a bourgeois area in the past and a major center of the Paris Jewish community that still exists today. Here, you will find different bookshops specializing in Jewish books, restaurants with traditional Jewish food and a synagogue. As one of the hippest neighborhoods in the city, it also has no shortage of narrow medieval streets,...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.4 Km or 1.5 Miles
Paris Introduction Walking Tour II

Paris Introduction Walking Tour II

From the Louvre to the Notre-Dame Cathedral to Place de la Bastille, the evolution of Paris and its history is literally visible on the banks of the river Seine, the linking thread winding its way through the city, as if keeping a watchful eye on its architectural marvels.

This walk is centered around Île de la Cité and Le Marais, which together form the historical core of power in Paris....  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.4 Km or 2.7 Miles
St-Germain-des-Pres Walking Tour

St-Germain-des-Pres Walking Tour

This self-guided walk takes you to explore the 6th arrondissement, covering the quarter of St-Germain-des-Prés, the riverside districts and the areas nearby the Luxembourg Garden. It is one of the most expensive districts of Paris, home to posh boutiques, eateries and iconic cafes once favored by philosophers and legendary writers, the likes of Hemingway and Camus. The area is likewise renowned...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Eiffel Tower Walking Tour

Eiffel Tower Walking Tour

The 7th arrondissement of Paris is the most affluent and prestigious residential area in France, home to world-famous Eiffel Tower and the French upper class alongside a number of French national institutions, government offices and diplomatic missions. This historical neighborhood boasts typically Parisian architecture complete with vibrant cafés, restaurants and gourmet shops which draw foodies...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.6 Km or 2.9 Miles
Champs-Elysees Walking Tour

Champs-Elysees Walking Tour

On this self-guided walk you will witness the grandeur of the 8th arrondissement of the French capital – one of its busiest and chic neighborhoods, thanks to the presence of Avenue des Champs-Elysées, Arc de Triomphe, and Place de la Concorde.

Your best plan would be to start with the Triumphal Arch and walk up to its viewing area for great sights down the Champs-Élysées – a lovely...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.7 Km or 2.9 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


9 Must Try Cafes in Paris

9 Must Try Cafes in Paris

Discovering the best coffee and cafes in Paris can be difficult. The city is filled to the brim with brasseries and cafes, but very few offer the Anglophone standard of a good cup of coffee. This is a guide to inform tourists and Parisians alike of the new and somewhat established cafes in Paris...
8 Best Food Markets in Paris for Authentic French Produce

8 Best Food Markets in Paris for Authentic French Produce

The image of Parisians that you may have in your head as strolling through a colourful market with a basket on their arm, chatting to vendors and picking up fresh produce, is quite accurate. Most Parisians do visit local markets at least once a week to stock up on the freshest fruit, vegetables,...
10 Unusual Things to Do in Paris, France

10 Unusual Things to Do in Paris, France

If you've visited Paris, you've probably seen the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and Versailles. You probably whizzed through some world-class art, ate delicious food in restaurants with English menus, and bought crepes from a street cart. However, Paris has a lot of things to do that...
Top 16 Vegetarian Restaurants in Paris

Top 16 Vegetarian Restaurants in Paris

The French have great respect for the fresh, organic produce yet France isn’t famous for its vegetarian cooking. Hence it’s a good idea for vegetarian visitors to Paris to come prepared in advance. This guide shows you places around the city which serve vegetarian food, complete with the...
15 Places for Tasting Best French Desserts in Paris

15 Places for Tasting Best French Desserts in Paris

If you have a sweet tooth and it wishes to "eat your way" through Paris, this guide will show you how! Featured here are some of the most famous and prominent dessert spots in the French capital, where you can grab something sweet to enjoy. With 20 listed recommendations, you should be...
18 Must-Visit Cafes in Paris, France

18 Must-Visit Cafes in Paris, France

Paris is home to thousands of cafes; there is a café on practically every street corner you turn, in every square you stumble across, on every boulevard you stroll along. The age-old Parisian tradition of sitting around at rickety tables and shooting back espressos is a fundamental part of everyday...