French Military History & Napoleon, the Army Museum and Dome Church Private Tour - Welcome to Memories DMC France

French Military History & Napoleon, the Army Museum and Dome Church Private Tour

From EUR 243.80

This amazing gilded dome popping out from Paris’ skyline is the cathedral of the Invalides where Napoleon has been resting since 1840.

The building that surrounds it shelters the museum of the Army telling you the military history of mainly France but also of some foreign countries. Designed in the XVIIth century for the wounded veterans of the wars led by Louis XIV, it has become the proud symbol of the French Armies. Meet our licensed guide for a wonderful tour in this old building dedicated to war since its origins. From medieval armours to World War II machine guns, follow the path of history between invasions and resistance, jousts, duels or bombings...

From EUR 243.80

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What to expect during this tour ?

Commissioned in 1670 by king Louis XIV for his retired and wounded soldiers, the Invalides had a social aim and in the XVIIth century it was not common coming from the State. But the king knew that he owed most of his glory to his troops. As a catholic, he had to give a church for those “invalides” or wounded veterans. He did more than that and commissioned Jules Hardouin Mansart, who conceived the Hall of Mirrors in his palace of Versailles, to build a Cathedral named Saint Louis, after the most prestigious ancestor of the king. Paris is then the only city that has two cathedrals : Notre-Dame, the cathedral of the city, seat of the bishop of Paris on one hand and Saint Louis, the cathedral of the army and seat of the bishop of the armies on the other. Our licensed guide, after telling you all about the origins and architecture of this huge and unmissable building will take you inside the monument.

Two different places are to be discovered : The Museum of the Army and the Cathedral. The classical architecture will without a doubt astonish you. The king literally built a Palace for his troops. Today, a few veteran soldiers still live in the building but most of it is dedicated to the museum of the military history of France. Our guide knows where to take you.

From the armour of the Middle Ages and Renaissance to the weapons of World War II, follow us on this journey that will show you world history, mostly through the French perspective. Francis I, Louis XIV, Napoleon, Georges Clémenceau and Charles de Gaulle are the main figures in French war history. How did the French and their allies resist the constant push of the German army on French soil during World War I ? When and why did Uncle Sam decide to come and help ? During World War II how did the French Resistance organised itself while the country was occupied ? Who is this Charles de Gaulle, strong figure of national pride today ? How was D-Day organised and how was it perceived in France and more so in Paris ? These and many more questions will be answered to you by our specialist guide using all sorts of objects or pieces of arts illustrating the time, all of this taking place in this unmissable building in the skyline of Paris.  

After seeing the museum, our guide will take you to the Cathedral that will without a doubt amaze you. Notre-Dame is gothic with its stained glass windows, but Saint Louis is classical in style, the height of modernity in the XVIIth century. The most noticeable from the outside is obviously the dome with its 107 meters high (351 feet) covered with 12 kgs of gold (26 lbs). It is situated right over the part of the church dedicated to the Royals whereas the less prestigious part was for the soldiers. As a result there are two different entrances; etiquette was everywhere.

Today, the Cathedral shelters the tomb of the most famous general in European history : Napoleon. After crowning himself emperor in 1804, Napoleon kept his thirst for conquests until the battle of Waterloo in 1815. Then, the deposed emperor was kept away from Europe in Saint Helena, an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean where he died in 1821. 

After 19 years his body was given to the French government and now rests in a huge sarcophagus in an excavation built for the occasion.

In 1940, Hitler decided to bring the body of Napoleon’s son, who had died at 21 years old in Austria, and buried him next to his glorious father.


Caution:

Note that increased security measures may affect lines as we can't avoid them. However due to our Skip the Line privilege, we do have access to shortcuts to the security check.

Highlights

  • Main courtyard, artillery collection
  • Cathedral of Saint-Louis des Invalides
  • Dôme des Invalides, tomb of Napoleon I
  • Army Museum
    • Old department, old armour and weapons, 13th - 17th century
    • Modern department, from Louis XIV to Napoleon III, 1643 - 1870
    • Contemporary department, the Two World Wars 1871-1945

Inclusions

  • Informative, friendly and professional guide
  • All entrance & transportation fees included
  • Perfect introduction for first-time visitors
  • Step back in time on a history tour
  • Hear every word (audio headsets when appropriate)

Schedule

Duration: 2:30 Hours

Operating days and start time:

Every day at 9:00 am, 10:00 am, 11:00 am, 12:00 am, 01:00 pm and 02:00 pm (closed on Mondays) 

Meeting point:

Meet us 15 minutes prior to the starting time of the tour at Invalides metro exit ( ). Facing it is a kiosk where you will find us. Should you choose to come by train ( RER C), you will have to walk from your exit (which is "Rue Esnault Pelterie") to the meeting point. To do so, you need to walk away from the River Seine, first on your right is the kiosk.

Route

  1. Invalides