Paris Adventures Ch. 22 – Invalides; Musée de l’Armée

This is going to be a short post with a lot of pictures because honestly it was a long time ago… I’ve just been busy with stuff (as you probably know if you’ve been following my blog).

Anyway, on May 26th, 2014, I decided to do one final Paris adventure (for the time being, at least) and go to Invalides, the Museum of the Army (Arms museum?), which not only contains a lot of information/artifacts from the French military, but is also where the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte is found.

I didn’t end up going to Giverny due either to the weather or unavailability of my friends, so I decided to come here instead.  I had no idea what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised by the size and variety that the museum had – everything ranging from the middle ages to WWII.

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Outer wall with cannons

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I got in, waited for a pretty long time in line (about 20 minutes), before I finally got my free ticket to visit the museum!

The first part of the museum that I visited was filled with suits of armor – for kids, for men, for women – and it really made me appreciate how much work and really, artistry, goes into smithing.

Chain Mail - gift to French Royalty

Mail shirt – 17th Century, decorated with silver

Armor for Louis XIV, as a gift from the Republic of Venice

Armor for Louis XIV, as a gift from the Republic of Venice

Japanese Armor, gift

Japanese Armor, gift to France

Armor made for François I and his horse.  Innsbruck, 1539-1540

Armor made for François I and his horse. Innsbruck, 1539-1540

There was also some weaponry in this room – swords and a lot of rifles, which pretty much summed up the rest of the museum, too.

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Sword made for Henry IV, Parisian Work, Near 1600

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The next room was the same – filled with armor and weapons.

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Armor G8

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Armor G7, Both suits were made in Milan, in 1510

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Halberds!

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Pistol set

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The next couple of rooms were all showing pretty much the same thing – more weapons, from more regions.

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Middle Eastern Weapons

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Field Armor and Horse Bard, Egyptian, 1550s

Field Armor and Horse Bard, Egyptian, 1550s

After seeing so many suits of armor and weapons, I decided (probably quite wisely) that instead of going to yet another room full of weapons, I would go and take a look at Napoleon’s tomb.

It was located in a large church-like building, very regal

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Aerial view of his.. coffin, I guess you’d call it?

 

Close up of the altar

Close up of the altar

Beside the altar there was a set of stairs that led down to the actual entrance to Napoleon’s tomb.

The entrance was farmed by two large statues, holding some religious symbols (I didn’t do too much investigation here) on a cushion.   2014-05-26 15.44.57

Above them was the inscription:

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“I desire that my ashes rest on the shores of the Seine, in the midst of this French people that I loved so much.”

Quite beautiful.

I didn’t really see the point of taking another photo of the coffin, but while I was downstairs I noticed that the ceiling was actually incredibly beautiful as well (I wonder how they got all the way up there to paint that stuff??), so I snapped a quick shot.

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After that, I visited another section of the museum that was concerned with slightly more modern military history (1800s and beyond).

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Restoration Period (1830-1848) Lancer

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Restoration Period (1830-1848) Carabiner

There was another section, on a different floor, that had some large scale videos that described the military tactics used in various battles.   I wasn’t too interested, but I did watch the end of one battle, the Battle of  Fontenoy, May 11th 1745.

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And that’s about it!  There were a lot more guns and swords and spears on display, but I didn’t really bother taking more photos of the same stuff over and over again.  After the museum I went to my friend Joe’s house to practice two exam dishes – the rabbit and the veal – and afterwards we Karaoked!  Although personally I’m not a big fan of military history or ancient weaponry, I think that for anyone who is interested in the slightest, this museum is worth a visit.  There’s something quite enchanting about walking through a dark corridor, surrounded by beautiful antique weapons and armor in glass cases, that’s almost soothing.

It’s also a stark reminder of how much money, time, and effort humans have wasted trying to kill each other.

 

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