Spend a day in the footsteps of one of the most famous men in history - Napoleon Bonaparte. This full day saver tour combines a visit to the spectacular gold-domed Invalides, home of the army museum and Napoleon's final resting place, the charming Chateau de Malmaison where he shared his private life with the love of his life Josephine, and the monumental Arc de Triomphe, built to celebrate his glorious victories. Get a glimpse into both his remarkable public persona and the more confidential side of his life. End your day enjoying the sweeping views from the top of the Arch, and spend your evening on the Champs Elysées, one of the most famous avenues in the world.
As you might guess from its name, the Invalides was constructed in the 17th century to provide a retirement home and care center for the thousands of soldiers wounded and maimed fighting for their country under the Old Regime. Commissioned by the Sun King Louis XIV, the Invalides was the world’s first veteran’s home on such a large scale. In addition to the museum, tombs, and military ceremonies that keep the site relevant today, its original vocation is still respected and a number of disabled soldiers are currently lodged in this 300-year-old barracks.
Your expert guide will take you on a historical journey. Hear of the exploits of General Bonaparte and learn how he became Emperor Napoleon. During La Resistance under German occupation in the 1940s, two British pilots were hidden in this very structure! Charles de Gaulle kept up French morale while directing the Free French Forces, and D-Day was a success thanks to our allies.
After the museum, you’ll enter the church to discover the tomb of the most famous military leader in European history. After taking the imperial crown for himself in 1804, Napoleon continued his program of European conquest right up to his ultimate defeat at the Battle of Waterloo. Napoleon died in exile in 1821, but his remains were returned to France in 1840 and entombed according to his wishes in the heart of his capital. Napoleon’s son, nicknamed the Eaglet, also died on foreign soil; his body was reinterred here by Hitler in 1940.
After a break for lunch (at your own expense), it’s time to re-join your guide and take a car or minivan (depending on group size) for the short trip to Malmaison, the enchanting chateau that was once the countryside home of Napoleon and the love of his life, his first wife Josephine de Beauharnais. Step back in time as your guide leads you around the house, its luxurious rooms still furnished as they would have been at the time of this legendary couple. Admire their remarkable portraits, intricately decorated rooms and furniture. Learn of their love affair through to the tragedy of their divorce, all set within the pomp and grandeur of Napoleon’s public life as General and Emperor.
You will also see the gardens where Josephine lovingly nurtured her now famous roses, and be able to enjoy the tranquility of this exquisite corner of countryside, seemingly so far from the noise and power of the city. Yet this house also became a place of power when Napoleon was in residence, with many influential visitors passing through its doors. After their divorce, Josephine continued to live at Malmaison, and the power and prestige of Napoleon slowly declined, ending with his exile in 1814.
Board your taxi for the short trip back to Paris, where your guide will lead you to one of the greatest monuments to Napoleon’s glories, and now one of the iconic symbols of Paris, the Arc de Triomphe. Enjoy skip the line access to the viewing platform on the top of the Arch, offering some of the best views of the city, including spectacular views of the Eiffel Tower. Don't miss the unique panorama of the star shaped boulevards radiating out below you, then spend your evening on one of the world’s most elegant streets, the Avenue des Champs Elysées. Your guide will be glad to provide suggestions to ensure you enjoy an unforgettable Parisian evening.