April 1st to October 31st: every day from 10 am to 6 pm
November 1st to March 31st: every day from 10 am to 5 pm
Further information regarding the opening of the museum:
Warning! The admission desk closes 30 minutes before the museum closes.
The first stone of the Invalides was laid by the Sun King himself in 1671. It is the second most important building of his reign, second only to the Palace of Versailles. The Royal Hotel of the Invalides was a bequest of Louis XIV after his death. For the first time in history, a sovereign organised a place of retreat for the relief of veteran soldiers in the event of old age or illness.
Before the Invalides opened, soldiers were housed in monasteries or wandered in towns, causing social problems. Thus, when Louis XIV created the Hotel des Invalides, he was responding to a genuine security problem with modern solutions.
The 100 metres high dome is a marvel of art and architecture. Its most original element was the inclusion of cupolas that were generously adorned with gilding and celestial allegories. Saint-Louis is depicted in an ermine mantle at the foot of Christ, along with a sword and coat of arms - both symbols of power.
On December 15, 1840, the ashes of the Emperor Napoleon I were interred with great pomp at the Invalides. At this point in history, the Royal Church of the Dome changed its vocation to become the mausoleum of the Emperor. The sarcophagus is very impressive: 18 tons of red porphyry from Siberia were laid on a granite base while, on the ground a laurel wreath recalls the great victories of the empire. The circular gallery also lists the works of Napoleon, his codes, laws and his greatest achievements.