The Les Invalides Military Museum was commissioned by Louis XIV in 1670. It was primarily used to accommodate and provide hospital care for wounded soldiers. In 1815, after Napoleon’s exit from the throne, The Les Invalides Military Museum accommodated over 5000 survivors from the Great Army. It said that Napoleon visited his men here in 1808, 1813 and 1805.
The Hotel Bowmann in Paris provides easy access to the Les Invalides Military Museum which is France’s greatest military museum and is perhaps one of the largest in the world. This was due to the Artillery Museum and the Historical Museums coming together and opening as one in 1905 to the public. After 100 years or so the Army museum also came together with the existing museums and now the museum extends over 8000m2. In its entirety, it consists of the museum and two churches with over 500.000 items of historical importance.
In one of the chapels built in the 17th century, now houses Napoleon’s tomb. The chapel was built by Jules-Hardouin Mansart. In 1840 due to the passing of a law, Napoleon’s tomb was constructed below the dome of the Invalides.
Initially, Napoleon’s body was laid to rest temporarily at the chapel of Saint-Jerôme. It was after this it was then moved to the chapel on 2nd April 1861. It was done in the presence of Napoleon III and set up in a red porphyry sarcophagus in the middle of a circular uncovered crypt.
A staircase leads up to crypt. At the top of the stairs, you can see a heavy bronze door with two statues on both sides. Upon entering you can see Napoleon in his Colonel’s Uniform with his Légion d’Honneur sash and his hat on his legs. The Dome is also home to the tombs of his brothers Joseph and Jérome Bonaparte, his son, the King of Rome, generals Bertrand and Duroc and marshalls Foch and Lyautey.
The rooms on the second floor are presented in chronological order and showcase objects belonging to a certain theme (emblems, paintings, military decorations…). The Boulogne room contains a few of the Emperor’s personal possessions. Meanwhile, the Turenne Room on the ground floor served as the former dining hall for soldiers now displays trophies, flags and other memorabilia from antiquity to the end of the Second World War.
After a day of much rich history, come on back to the hotel and spa in Paris 8, and relax.