Here are five amazing things you can do around the Invalides
1.) Have a picnic in the Invalides Garden
Feel like a true Parisian and have a break enjoying a Jambon-Beurre with cheese in a French baguette, on the green lawns of the Invalides, among the students having their lunch break and playing football. The lawns are between the Invalides Hotel and the Invalides Bridge: you will, therefore, be able to enjoy both views of the Seine and of the golden dome!
2.) Discover the Left Bank
Discover Paris in an hour with some dynamic Parisian guides: Explore the Latin Quarter following a local, walking down the alleys recalling the ancient history of Paris. In this tour, you will see Paris is a cosmopolitan city but you will also meet the medieval Paris. You will also discover the Parisian student’s life as this neighborhood hosts many universities and is cherished by all generations of Parisian students since the Middle Ages.
3.) Visit the Army Museum
Explore the history of military strategy and weapons visiting the Army museum in one of the Invalides’ wing. It is one of the greatest and most complete military collection in the world: you will discover the developments of the art of war through several ages from Napoleon’s battles to WWII and the Resistance period.
4.) Discover Napoleon’s Tomb
Napoleon’s tomb is the most notable one hosted by the Invalides. He was at first buried on the Sainte-Hélène island where he died in 1821. But in 1840 his ashes were sent back to Paris (“le retour des cendres”) and a huge red quartzite tomb was built to receive the famous ashes.
5.) Have a Cafe at the Cafe Des Officiers
In front of the Military School (l’Ecole Militaire), you can have a break at the famous Café des Officiers where officers used to enjoy a drink and join their fiancées during their military leaves.
- Do not go and sit on the grass behind the Invalides (the Seine Side) because it is really noisy. If you walk towards the Tour Eiffel, you will reach the “Champs de Mars” which is free of cars.
- Going straight to the north from the Invalides will make you cross one of the most beautiful bridges of Paris (Pont Alexandre III) and then the Petit and the Grand Palais, and eventually the Champs Elysées.
Facts about the Invalides
The National Residence of the Invalids (The Hôtel national des Invalides), is a set of buildings in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, housing museums and monuments, which describe the military history of France.The original purpose of the building was to be a hospital for the soldiers injured in battles and a retirement home for veterans. French architect Bruant designed the building as a hospital in 1670 under the orders of Louis XIV. Then, Mansart built the chapel in 1679 and Lebrun’s disciple, Charles de La Fosse, painted the inside with a Baroque illusion of space. The building was finished by 1708.
The Invalides became a place where famous heroes were buried. The most famous one, Napoleon, was buried here in 1840.
The dome of the United States Capitol, designed by Thomas U. Walter, was partly inspired by the golden dome of Les Invalides.
Every Parisian has been really impressed by the magnificence of the building the first time he saw it: the golden dome is just splendid! The architecture outside is extraordinary, as is the chapel and the area surrounding Napoleon’s tomb. The tomb itself is huge (perhaps reflecting his ego) as you will notice from other Napoleon-inspired monuments in Paris. The army museum is a great place to learn more about military history through ages, especially about Napoleon’s battles, like Austerlitz.Maylis
How to get there
Stations: La Tour Maubourg and Invalides
Stations: Saint-Francois-Xavier, Invalides and Varenne
By RER Train:
Lines 28, 63, 69, 80, 82, 83, 87, 92, 93, stop Invalides.
Car Parking: Esplanade des Invalides
- 13 million visitors a year 99%
- Incredibly detailed 80%
- Contains hidden mysteries 70%
Open every day except; 1st Monday of each month (apart from July, August, September), January 1st, May 1st, December 25th
October – March: 10 am – 5 pm
April – September: 10 am – 6 pm
1.) Cheese food store Cantin:
One of the best cheese stores in Paris, Cantin has even catered for French Presidents.
2.) Go to the Rodin Museum:
Visit one of the most beautiful secret gardens in Paris, and come across some of the artist’s masterpieces.
3.) Have lunch at the Simple Restaurant:
A traditional French restaurant where you can enjoy some tartines.
Why it’s worth visiting
- The architecture is magnificent, and the shining dome is even more impressive under the sunlight.
- In front of it, the “Pelouse de Breteuil” (Breteuil Lawn) is the place where a lot of students are used to hanging out. The atmosphere is really friendly.
- It is a historical landmark not to be missed.