Within the compound of the Les Invalides Hotel in Paris, France, there is a museum which is called Musée de l’Armée (or in English, Museum of the Army). The structure was originally built as a hospital and also a home for disabled soldiers by Louis XIV. However, at present, it displays the Tomb of Napoleon as well as the museum of the Army of France. The collections which can be found at the museum include those from the time of antiquity all the way up to the 20th century. It also has the le Musée de l’Ordre de la Libération (the Museum of the Liberation Orde) and le Musée des Plans-Relief (English: the Museum of Relief Maps).
History: Musée de l’Armée – Museum of the Army
It was after the French Revolution when the Artillery Museum was made. The artifacts were then brought in and stored there in the Les Invalides by the year 1852. The whole collection continued to see improvement as it collected items from other major Paris museums such as the Louvre, the National Library, the Vincennes along with the private collections of wealthy Frenchmen. It was in the year 1871 when the Artillery Museum was installed officially at the museum.
By the year 1896, the Sabretache Society introduced the Museum of the Historic Army. Its piles of material that were on display such as antique arms and armor were known to be the third most important such collection in the whole world during that period of time. The museum also included the only collection of little artillery models throughout the world, including some unique pieces which had been gathered from the army of Napoleon.
In 1905, the museum was built by combining the Museum of the Historic Army with the Artillery Museum.
In the modern day, items that can be seen when visiting the Museum of the Army include collections of antique arms and armor, arms from the reign of Louis XIV, weapons from the 19th century, along with a full artillery department. There are also flags, emblems, paintings, , sketches, historical figurines, sculptures and pictures displayed in the museum. The museum also looks back at the military history of France starting from Louis XIV to Napoleon III, in the years 1650-1851. An overview is provided regarding the French mounted troops of 1803 until 1939.
In Nov. 16, 1940, General Charles de Gaulle introduced le Musée de l’Ordre de la Libération or The Museum of the Liberation Order. It was built to honor the people who fought exceptionally during the World War to regain the independence of France.
The Order of the Liberation is identified as the second national Order in France. The first one was the Legion of Honor. The ground area of the museum is more than 1,000 square meters with six halls, three galleries, more than 150 showcases, plus 3,700 documents and artifacts exhibited.
The museum’s Hall of Honor was made for General Charles de Gaulle. The place displayed his 78 decorations, his last worn military uniform, and even the original text of his broadcast on the radio as he appealed to the French People during his exile on June 18, 1940.
The happenings in the military during the Thirty Years War and the time of Louis XVI have been studied by the museum. Moreover, weapons and tools utilized by the armies, specially the royal guards are also put on display. Not only that, the evolution of the standardization of uniforms beginning the 17th century is also presented. There are 20 rooms that feature the years of the First empire, from 1789 to 1815. Given emphasis are the campaigns that happened in Italy and Egypt which were key points in molding the future of Napoleon. The explorer’s personal items like his hat and coat can also be seen at the museum.
Besides those mentioned above, the happenings in the city under the African Army during the July Monarchy is also recalled. The years of the Crimean War, the Second Empire, China and Mexico expeditions, also the Franco-Prussian War was also explored. By the year June 2000, some rooms honoring the World War II were revealed to the public.
Visitor Information for Musée de l’Armée
Hours of Operation:
The Museum is Open every day except Monday (with seasonal hours):
10 a.m.-5 p.m ( from October 1-March 31 )
10 a.m.-6 p.m (Between April 1-September from )
Closed on January 1, May 1, November 1 and December 25
Also available at the Museum of the Army are a cafeteria, a library, a bookstore and a boutique.
No tickets are sold 30 minutes before closing time
Getting to the Musée de l’Armée:
Invalides, La Tour Maubourg, Varenne
You can expect to pay about 9 Euros at the Musée de l’Armée