Invalides

Invalides isn’t one of the most well-known Paris monuments, but I think it should be.  Louix XIV built it as a hospital for war veterans in the 17th century and it is now used as a war museum and is the final resting place of Napoleon.

the famous gold dome of Invalides
the famous gold dome of Invalides

We toured the World Wars and Charles de Gaulle exhibits, both of which were very interesting and made use of multimedia to explain their subject.  I have always liked learning about the World Wars and it was different to hear it from a European, not US, perspective.  It really put into perspective just how damaged and vulnerable the countries were after WWI and how they directly contributed to WWII.

a model of the trenches in WWI
a model of the trenches in WWI
It was chilling knowing that an actual Nazi once wore that uniform
It was chilling knowing that an actual Nazi once wore that uniform

 

The Charles de Gaulle exhibit opened in 2008 and has interactive screens and information projected on the walls.  Your headphones picked up the audio of a video you were within the sensor area for so you could wander the rooms and watch videos in topics in de Gaulle’s life that you found interesting.

The Charles de Gaulle exhibit
The Charles de Gaulle exhibit

Napoleon’s tomb is in the tomb of Invalides, and while I had a general idea of what it looked like I was surprised by its design.  His tomb is on a platform on the bottom floor, so when you walk in the main entrance you are actually looking down at it.  It also is a simple (albeit large) coffin without the ornamentation or grandeur that is characteristic of him.

Also, a random historical tidbit I learned today from Prof. Savage–Napoleon may not have actually been very short (I read that he was 5’2″, which is my height, so I was very excited).  He was just self-conscious of his stature and the papers of the time made fun of him in political cartoons about it.

Napoleon's tomb.  The names that surround it on the floor are names of his battles
Napoleon’s tomb. The names that surround it on the floor are names of his battles
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