5 Invalides secrets

A unique place, at once museum and hospital... Built between 1670 and 1706, the Hôtel des Invalides is well-known, yet hides a few inaccessible secret places. Let's check them out!

The lanternon and its panoramic view 

An unmistakable landmark! The lanternon offers one of the most beautiful views of Paris. At 107 meters, it was for a long time the highest point in the city until the construction of the Eiffel tower in 1889.

Look up to see the whole structure, decorated with nearly 13kg of gold. 

A mysterious attic 

A more confidential, less luminous place: the attic of Saint-Louis Cathedral is inaccessible to the general public. During the Second World War, pilots of the Royal Air Force took refuge here. 

A well-hidden cathedral

Yes, the Invalides is not only a military site but also home to the diocese aux armées.
An unusual fact: around the altar, you can see French flags and war trophies belonging to France's enemies throughout history.

Dizzying frescoes

Under the lanternon, at the very top of the Dome, are paintings by Jean Jouvenet, as well as a magnificent fresco painted on the ceiling by Charles de la Fosse. It is rare to see them so close! 
See if you can spot the sketches and signature of the artists on the wall. 

And if you have vertigo, don't bend over too much!

A stroll on the roof

What a pleasure to be able to contemplate the Paris skyline, from the First terrace… Can you recognize its most famous monuments?

The Tomb of Napoleon I

Let's come back down to walk softly in the crypt which shelters the iconic tomb of the Emperor Napoleon 1st, shaped in blocks of red quartzite, placed on a plinth of green dolerite from the Vosges.

Now you just need to come visit the museum...

... to discover its many other secrets!

Credits: Story

A story written and edited by the teams of the Army Museum. 
© Musée de l’Armée 


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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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