Musée de l'Armée - Paris - France

Address: Hôtel National des Invalides, Rue de Grenelle 129, Paris (See map)
Telephone: +33 (0)1-44423772

Shop: shop present
Restaurant/refreshments: restaurant
Size of the museum/site: large
Year of visit: 2004
Overall rating:

Description: The Musée de l'Armée is definitely amongst the most impressive buildings in the list of museums we've visited. Louis XIV had it built specially for his disabled soldiers. Construction started in 1671. This 'Home for the disabled' was a small town of its own, where more than 4000 veterans lived together. Part of the monumental building is still in use as a military hospital. The French Army Museum is housed in the central part of the building, which is subdivided into three wings.

The first wing is dedicated to the period from the middle of the 17th century, via the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars to the second half of the 19th century. Here, a lot of (lighter) weapons, like (ceremonial) sabres, rifles and pistols, from this period can be seen. There's also a pretty wide range of uniforms and equipment on display in this part of the museum. Then there are some scenes, like Napoleons tent (when in the fields) along with some more personal items, which are quite nice to get an idea of how this nasty character in European history lived during his campaigns. Maybe the most interesting pieces of this wing are the several richly decorated colours and flags, that enclose the entire period.

The second wing, sadly enough, was closed when we visited the museum. According to the museum plan this part deals with armour and helmets, the Fist World War and the history of artillery.

Finally, seeing the Eglise du Dôme, or Dôme des Invalides, is something not to be missed. Inside the Dôme is the tomb of Napoleon. His remains were placed here in 1861. A visit to the Dôme is included in the entrance fee for the museum.

We don't recommend travelling around half the world to see this museum, but when you're visiting Paris anyway it's a nice addition to your program, especially because it's located in the city-centre and can therefore be reached easily.

Front view of the Hôtel des Invalides in which the Musée de l'Armée is housed.

A typical battle-dress of the Napoleontic era.

Different outfits of the French army adjusted to the different environments in which they had to operate.

German machine gun.

A Russian mortar piece.

Grenade mounted on a rifle.

Napoleon's tomb inside the Dôme des Invalides.

The Dôme des Invalides from the outside.