How about the école militaire and Invalides! Paris of course!!!

In my walks of Paris I come to see many nice buildings, some I passed by and at first do not even know what they are, so many gorgeous architecture. However ,there are two that have always caught my mind. One is even with museum in it and the other well is near where my current HQ office is so even visiting now takes extra time around there. Of course, I am talking about the école militaire and the invalides of Paris.

Today in my neck of the woods is a bit sunny not so cool and temps around 10C or 50F nice for Spring.  Let me tell you about my previous blog post on this subject : ecole militaire and invalides

I like to tell you a bit about the history I like. First ,on the Invalides and then the école militaire.

The Hôtel des Invalides  was ordered by king Louis XIV in 1670 to house the wounded soldiers of his armies.  Today, it is still with the same functions but also the Cathedral of  Saint-Louis des Invalides, several museums , and a military necropolis especially the tomb of emperor Napoléon Ier.  This huge architectural complex is one of the most important Classical style design in France, been the work of architect  Jules Hardouin-Mansart (Versailles and al fame).  Interesting to note, it takes the concept from the Monastery of El Escorial outside Madrid Spain (you can see my post on this too) ordered built by king Felipe II of Spain , but also takes ideas from other hospitals in Paris such as the Salpêtrièr.

Paris

north entrance Invalides on esplanade des invalides credit paris1900

In 1659, after the treaty of the Pyrénées (marking the frontiers even today of France and Spain) ,king Louis XIV  took again the idea from Cardinal Richelieu that had done one in 1634 at the Château de Bicêtre  to take care of handicap soldiers under the commanderie Saint-Louis.  The project finally saw the light several years later by ordered of the king in 1670  to built a hospital/Hotel des Invalides to the ageing military, wounded or inapt for war soldiers . The establishement works as a hospital and hospice, military barrack, and convent is all exempted from taxes and administered by a governor.  The soldiers are cure with funds coming from the revenue of the parishes and abbeys starting in 1676; the building was not fully completed that until August 28 1706,when the keys of the hotel was given to the sun king Louis XIV.

In French formalities for entering as patient in the Invalides : http://www.invalides.fr/patients/droits-et-informations/les-formalites-dadmissions

The Hôtel des Invalides also has museums such as the artillery museum or  musée d’artillerie est. 1872, army history museum or musée historique des armées ,est. 1896, and both united in 1905 as the army museum or musée de l’armée. The Church is link directly to the Royal Chapel better known as the Dôme des Invalides.  This Chapel with the Dome has a large lantern of 107 meters high that was used only by the Royal family. Finally, the dome is cover completely in gold in a gothic style.  It is a square pavilion facing the street at decorated angles of columns where there are statues and has an obelisk finished by a Cross on top.  The construction of the dome was finished in 1708.

Army museum Invalides

The dome was renovated in gold in 1807, 1830, 1839, 1937 , and lastly in 1989, needing 12 kg of gold or about 26 pounds. It has two cupolas in stone with two scenic drawings decorated with several Saints and a large one representing  Saint Louis  in its mantle of Royal ermine ( fleur de lys=Lilys) giving his sword to Jésus-Christ in person surrounded by musical angels.

Since 1861, under the dome and its cupolas rest in peace emperor  Napoléon Ier  inside six coffins follow by a sarcophagus of red quartz in a open sky crypt in the center of the building.  The choir of the Cathedral of  Saint-Louis  is the only one in France of all its Churches and Cathedrals that has a permanent French flag. In December 1940, the ashes of his son known as the king of Rome or Napoléon II or the Aiglon (English) were transfered from Vienna in a funerary urn by an adviser to Hitler and the govt of Vichy (collaborator) as Paris was in occupied zone.  Here lies as well the remains of brothers Joseph and Jérome Bonaparte as well as the queen of Westphalia and other members of the Bonaparte family. Other commanders of the First and Second World War are also here such as marshals of France Ferdinand Foch, Hubert Lyautey, Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque, Alphonse Juin, , the generals Robert Nivelle, Charles Mangin, Pierre Auguste Roques, and Henri Giraud, and the admirals Boué de Lapeyrère ,and Gauchet.

Paris

CAthedral Saint Louis

In the neighborhood of Gros Caillou,and district 7éme you can reach it on Metro Invalides (lines 8 and 13) , Varenne (line 13)  ,and La Tour-Maubourg (line 8).

The École militaire is a huge assamblage of buildings housing several learning and training military tactics also in the 7éme arrondissement closing the perspective of the southeast towards the Champ-de-Mars.  It was built on orders of king  Louis XV by the architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel.  The idea came from the wars of successions in Austria by  1748 where it was evident that if France wanted to come out victoriuos it needed to train its Royal officers. The marshal de Saxe having fought in those wars proposes to the king Louis XV to create a royal military school.  The marshal received the support of the king mistresses Madame de Pompadour as well as financial guru Joseph Pâris Duverney (brother of Jean Pâris, marquis de Brunoy  and godfather of the madame), that was enough to convince the king to start with the introduction of 500 young noble soldiers born without wealth; for the king it was an opportunity to leave a grand work of his reign.

Paris

Artillery door ent ecole militaire

Cavalerie ent ecole militaire

However, the Royal Military college wanted by king  Louis XV  did not survided the death of the king and seven years later the college is closed and plans to transfered it to the Hôtel-Dieu hospital near Notre Dame. Finally, the move did not took place but the buildings were left in abandon and later looted during the French revolution. The building goes thru a bad period where it served as a deposit, then soldiers hq especially for the Imperial Guard  under the name of the caserne de École militaire, caserne Impériale, and caserne des Grenadiers.  After this , it cames back slowly and later enlarged to the building we know today. By 1878 it opened the superior war school or École supérieure de guerre. Later in 1911 it brings here the center for upper military studies or the centre des hautes études militaires. It has never stop doing this ever since to today. It housed the defense college unter NATO or Nato college from 1951 to 1966 (when De Gaulle had France leave NATO) and the college was transfered to Rome.

A site on the memorial aspect of it (in French). Memorial école militaire

The Chapel of the École militaire  was done inside the castle from designs of architect Jacques-Ange Gabriel in honor of  Saint Louis, Patron Saint of the Arms forces. It was probably looted during the French revolution and for a long time without use but serving as ammunition stock and clothing depot as well as the ballroom dance for the second anniversary of the coronation of emperor Napoléon Ier. Finally, the Chapel was given back to the religious activities in 1952. The rotonde Gabriel was the initial Chapel of the École militaire, thought to be the Chapel of the students,houses today one of the two cafeterias in the École militaire.  There is a beautiful library located in the Chateau part and also work of architect Jacques Ange Gabriel.

The hallways are a lineup of rooms that were the previous reception rooms and you can see in the lecture hall ,the wooden work sculpture on the ceilings and portraits, marbre chimney Louis XVI style, where one represent two cadets around the arms of the military Royal school.  You can see on one of the glass two impacts from bullets from the assault on Paris in August 25 1944.  The École militaire is located in one of the better perspectives views of the city of Paris on the axis  Trocadéro- Breteuil, that starts from the Palais de Chaillot, crossing the pont d’Iéna and the Champ-de-Mars to finish at the place de Breteuil.  All square on the Tour Eiffel , and the seat of UNESCO. The École militaire, master work of the Classical architecture from the 18C is at the heart of the city and its history like a symbol of the Nation in arms. OF course, I did not say that but its true, walk by zillions times already. The metro station here is the École Militaire (line 8). There are two  nice parking Indigo above ground paying just across dandy! More on the parking here from my favorite parking site Neoparking: Neoparking Indigo école militaire

Paris tourist office info.  Paris tourism école Militaire

Hope you have enjoy this brief tour of history and two great French institutions that goes beyond the museums but into the veins of the French. Hope you have a great weekend , happy Easter, ,happy travels, good health and plenty of cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

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