Call us a silly sausage if you like, but it was only today that we realised Les Invalides is called Les Invalides because it was built to house… invalids (more precisely, those injured while in the army).
350 years down the line, the huge, beautiful complex now houses three museums – the Armuy Museum, the Museum of the Companions of the Liberation and (seriously) the Scale Model Museum, as well as the bonkers Napoleon’s tomb, and has been called “the most remarkable monument on earth” (although that was in 1721 by Montesquieu, in his literary work The Persian Letters).
Whatever you think of the place, a host of festivities and events are planned throughout the year, celebrating 350 years since its founding on 24th February 1670.
Also, the huge painting (20m²!) L’Établissement de l’Hôtel des Invalides by Pierre Dulin, which he finished in 1715, will be restored throughout the year in a workshop visible to visitors, under the dome of les Invalides. The painting will then be subject to an HD scan before being put on show in the Vauban room in 2021.
From 8th July – 29th August 2020, La Nuit aux Invalides is back once again with its high definition 3D-mapped projections in the building’s magnificent courtyard. In this new version, you’ll get a glimpse of 350 years of history since the building was founded, and tickets are on sale now!
Celebrations continue after the summer holidays too:
— a talk – Already? 350 years of history of Les Invalides – on 22nd & 23rd September
— a photo exhibition from 19th September 2020 – 3rd January 2021 by Philippe de Poulpiquet – Invalides : Memories of War. Fifty-eight photos in this moving / troubling series can already be seen here on the photographer’s website.
— also in September, a new walk will be inaugurated, letting you investigate sixty cannons presented in the upper galleries of the main courtyard, retracing two centuries of the French artillery. ANother walk in the ground floor galleries will give more info on the 350 years of history that the building has lived through.
— and a special weekend is being planned for the Open House event on 18th & 20th September 2020, with visits of the private rooms and refectories that are usually closed to the public, a photo contest, visits of the restoration workshops…
Looks like a great lineup of events and a fascinating look through history!