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Les Invalides

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The Hotel National des Invalides (National Residence of the Invalids) not only houses a number of important museums and tombs, it is also a military hospital and retirement home for French military veterans. Built during the era of King Louis XIV, the property and building reflects the pomp and excesses during the pre French Revolutionary War, similar in grandeur to Versailles.

The Hotel National des Invalides or simply Les Invalides is located across the River Seine from the Grand Palais near the most famous street in Paris, the Champs Elysees and 2 km from the Eiffel Tower. However unless you aren't a good walker, it isn't advised to walk the distance from the Champs Elysees to Les Invalides, as it is just over 1 km. A better option is to consider is by using the Paris Metro subway system, which offers 3 stops nearby, one of which is actually called Invalides. However the recommended subway station to disembark would be either the Metro station known as Varenne or the station known as La Tour-Maubourg. Metro Line #8 serves both the Invalides and La Tour Maubourg stops and Metro Line #13 serves both the Invalides and Varenne stop. The advantage to using the Varenne stop is that it is also in close proximity to another important museum, the RodinMuseum, in honour of one of France's most important sculptors.

The single most important tomb at Les Invalides is the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte inside the distinctive Elise du Dome Church (the Church of the Dome). The church and tomb is part of the Musee de l'Armee section of Les Invalides. Napoleon's Tomb is enormous sarcophagus about the size of a large truck, and is made of a brownish-reddish stone known as porphyry and carved into an incredibly ornate presentation. The famous dome has inspired other important buildings throughout the world,most notably the United States Capitol Building in Washington DC. The church is also the final resting place for Napoleon's oldest son, Napoleon II, who fled to Austria with his mother shortly after his father's military defeat at Waterloo, Belgium. Also located within the church are two of Napoleon Bonaparte's brothers: his older brother Joseph, who was named King of Spain by Napoleon, and Jerome, Napoleon's youngest brother, who was named King of Westphalia, which is now part of Germany is the north-western portion of the country. In the vaults of the church are the remains of many other important French military officers who fought in wars from the Napoleonic era to World War II.

The Musee de l'Armee (Army Museum), houses an impressive collection of military artefacts from the early part of France's history to present day France. You will be able to view military uniforms, rifles and pistols and even artillery. Additionally on display are a wide assortment of military emblems, flags, photographs, paintings and sculptures such as the impressive statue of Napoleon that greets you upon your arrival. In a large section of the Army Museum, there is an impressive collection of military ancient swords and armour as well as military artefacts from the era of King Louis XIV and Napoleon himself, which features some his authentic military clothing.

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