The Invalides is a very underrated landmark of Paris. If your plan is to visit only the Eiffel Tower, the Champs-Elysées and the Louvre museum, you will surely miss one of the most majestic landmarks of Paris, which is the Invalides. Check out our list of things to do around the Invalides.
The construction of this monument has been ordered by King Louis XIV on February 24th 1670 to be a hospital and retirement home for injured militaries (“Invalides” in French). It remains today a haven for militaries, but is also now the military museum of the Army of France as well as the burial site for some of France’s war heroes, like Napoleon Bonaparte. As you may be now convinced that this monument is a major landmark, the point of this article will be to show you that its neighborhood is fantastic too.
Chill in the gardens behind the building
This place is one of the greatest in Paris to have a picnic. This is one of the only grass areas where you can freely stay, have a snack or play football. When you lay on this grass, you feel like a real Parisian, eating some cheese inside a fresh baguette.
But you have to know that this garden is a bit noisy because of traffic. Some would rather go on the Champ de Mars, just before the Eiffel Tower to have a picnic, but this is not my opinion. The great value of this garden is the fact that this is much more a locals’ spot than a touristic one. So it is up to you, but anyway a picnic in Paris is always one of the best things to do in the afternoon.
Visit the Rodin Museum, an interesting inside/outside piece of culture
The Rodin museum is one of my personal favorites. When you are on the Boulevard des Invalides, look for the Varenne metro station. Then, turn to the Rue de Varenne, and you cannot miss the big Rodin museum. What is great with this sculpture museum is the fact that it is both inside and outside. You wander randomly in the gardens and meet up with the masterpieces that stand there, as if they were simple statues.
You will see all the “Bourgeois de Calais” statues, but also the Gate of Inferno (“La porte des enfers”), from Dante’s Inferno, and obviously the “Thinker”, which is way bigger than usually expected! Inside, the biggest masterpiece may be “The Kiss”, which is according to me one of the most powerful pieces of art I have ever seen. So do not hesitate anymore, one of the best things to do around the Invalides is to visit the Rodin museum!
Have a Coffee at Cafe Des Officiers
In front of the Military School, between the Invalides and the Eiffel Tower, one of the best things to do is to visit the Café des Officiers. This famous café used to be the one where officers had a coffee with their lovers, when they had free time outside of the School.
At the end of the day, go to the north of the Invalides on the Alexandre III bridge
The picture says it all. And you, what do you like to do around this neighborhood?