Saint Louis Cathedral, Invalides!!

Ok I admit do not know how to tackle this monument. I past by it many times and my office lately is not far , I even eat my lunch nearby restos; but so far only briefly mention in my blog. I will do my best to tell you a bit more on the Saint Louis Cathedral, Invalides, of course Paris.

The Saint-Louis-des-Invalides Church or Soldiers’ Church attracts many visitors. It is even one of the most frequented churches in Paris. This is due, of course, to the presence, nearby, of the dome of the Invalides, created by Jules Hardouin-Mansart, which hosts the tomb of Napoleon I. It is also due to the presence of the Army museum in the buildings that surround the magnificent courtyard. The Church of Saint Louis des Invalides is under the responsibility of the museum, it houses the burial of Napoleon I, his two brothers,Joseph and Jérome; his son (the Aiglon), which 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. As well as the queen of Westphalia and other members of the Bonaparte family. Marshals of France , Vauban, Turenne, 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.

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The Saint-Louis des Invalides Church has the most traditional classical style architecture, like many of the churches and buildings erected at that time. The first architect draws up the general plan of the Invalides and ensures the realization of the buildings as well as that of the Saint-Louis Church. In 1676, Jules Hardouin-Mansart designed the famous dome and ensured its construction; the Dome rises to 101 meters The notable feature of the Saint-Louis Church is to have a series of flags, taken from the enemy in the 19-20C, suspended from the cornice, on both sides of the elevation.

The Saint Louis des Invalides Church and the dome, where the tomb of Napoleon rests, in fact constitute a single building with the nave; the dome and the choir. In the Grand Siècle, the high altar was common to attend the service, Louis XIV returned by the dome, the disabled soldiers returned by the nave. Today the separation is ensured by a large glass roof through which we can see, among the reflections, the tomb of Napoleon. Visitors cannot go from one to the other as entry to the church is obviously free, the visit to the dome is with admission. Let me add that all of these imposing buildings created in the 17C, surrounded by green spaces, constitute one of the most chic districts of Paris. There are ministries and many private mansions all over.

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A bit on the construction Architecture I like

The nave is punctuated by semicircular arcades which separate it from the aisles. In keeping with the classical style, the pilasters are topped with Corinthian capitals. On the second level of the elevation, the large grandstands open onto the nave by a series of arcades with basket handles. There is no side chapel. Only two side altars, without projection, break the monotony of the aisles. The choir is surmounted by a triumphal arch which, in the Grand Siècle, gave access to the choir of the old church. Finally, the barrel vault is enriched with fine double arches decorated with royal crowns, fleur-de-lis and rosettes. This beautiful set offers an impression of great artistic coherence.

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And some anecdotes on the Saint Louis des Invalides Church.

The boundaries of the two world wars in the fore-nave and in the right aisle are placed two stone posts. The first dedicates the Sacred Way of War 1914-1918 . You can read the inscription: “In tribute to their sacrifice, there is enclosed in this marker a parcel of sacred land from the battlefields of 1914-1918”. The second stone post consecrates the Way of Freedom in 1944. The inscription at the bottom recalls that it contains plots of land from American cemeteries in France.

The grandstand organ was built between 1679 and 1687, and restored several times since. The buffet dates from 1683. Note that the first representation of Berlioz’s Requiem was given at the Saint-Louis-des-Invalides Church in 1837.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and is a must in Paris are

Official Army museum on the Saint Louis des Invalides Churcharmy museum on the St Louis des Invalides Church

The tourist office of Paris on the Saint Louis des Invalides Church : Tourist office of Paris on the Saint Louis des Invalides Church

The official Diocese of the Armed Forces on the Saint Louis des Invalides Church (they recognise as Cathedral of the armed forces) in French: Diocese of the Armed Forces on Saint Louis Cathedral of Paris

Here you can surely have an apero or lunch at Le Vauban just facing the Church/Cathedral. And my favorite hangout in the area Le Café de l’Esplanade just off the side seeing all the canons of the army museum! great service and glorious food.

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There you go a wonderful monument in my eternal Paris , that for some reason, left it untold until now. See my previous posts on the army museum and Invalides in general. Hope you enjoy the visit to the Saint Louis des Invalides Church! 

And remember, happy travels ,good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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2 Comments to “Saint Louis Cathedral, Invalides!!”

  1. Les Invalides are so impressive. Especially Napoleon’s Tomb.

    Liked by 1 person

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