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Musée de l'Armée Ancient Battle Vehicles

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Army Museum


Armors and firearms

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Why you will love it?

The monumental Hôtel des Invalides, easily spotted by its 107m (351 ft) golden dome, was constructed in the 17th century during the reign of Louis XIV and today houses the Musée de l'Armée (Army Museum). The highlight of the museum is no doubt Napoleon's tomb, but it also houses a collection of old medieval armours, objects of the periods ranging between the 17th century to the late 19th century and objects of the 2 World Wars. It would be simply to bad to miss out on such a great collection of military and cultural items during your stay in Paris.

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About this place

129 Rue de Grenelle, 75007 Paris
Line 8/13 - Invalides Line 8 - Le Tour Maubourg
Line C - Invalides

Tuesday : 10:00 am - 17:00 pm
more less
Monday : Closed Tuesday : 10:00 am - 17:00 pm Wednesday : 10:00 am - 17:00 pm Thursday : 10:00 am - 17:00 pm Friday : 10:00 am - 17:00 pm Saturday : 10:00 am - 17:00 pm Sunday : 10:00 am - 17:00 pm
1 January 1 May 25 December

Our Insiders' Article

Musée de l'Armée

L'Hôtel des Invalides was originally built under Louis XIV in 1670 to host veterans and those wounded during war. Although parts of the building are still used for military purposes (hospital, housing), it became a museum in 1905. Le Musée de l'Armée is divided into 5 parts. If you stand in the Cour d'Honneur (the large courtyard) facing Napoléon's statue, the section with midieval armors and weapons is on the right. The wing with artifacts from the periods of Napoléon I to Napoléon III is on the left, and the part dedicated to the two World Wars is straight ahead on the western side of the chapel. Napoleon's Tomb, as well as the Charles de Gaulle Memorial, are also part of the museum. One single ticket also gives access to the Musée des Plan-Reliefs, in the same building.

Medieval Armors

To the right of La Cour d'Honneur is the first section of the Musée de l'Armée and the third best collection of armor and weapons in the world. If you have never seen an armor before, this is the place to go! On display are full suits of armor and helmets from the Middle Ages that were worn both for battle and for games. Armor from far away lands such as Japan and Turkey is also on display. Within this wing there are royal suits of armor, including one belonging to François I (French King in the 16th century) and his horse called the "armor of lions" because of the many details carved on the armor.

Parisianist Fun Fact:  Armor for children was not uncommon. Several suits of armor for children, including one belonging to Louis XIII, a French king in the 17th century, are exposed here. Weighing 5kg (11lbs), the aim was to habituate children to wearing heavy garments.

World Wars

In this same wing you can enter the section of the museum that is devoted to the two world wars. Weapons, clothing, and other military objects from the wars are displayed. The chronology of events is clearly presented, explaining exactly how these major conflicts of the 20th century unfolded. Here you will see objects ranging from a miniature replica of Big Bertha, a big cannon used by the Germans during the First World War to full tanks used during WWII.

Napoleon 1 and 3

Across from the armor and weapons' section is an entire floor dedicated to the period from Napoléon I to Napoléon III. Here you will find military uniforms, weapons, and explanations of Napoléon Bonaparte's infamous war strategy. In the hallway you will also see Vizir, Napoléon's prized white battle horse that he stuffed and preserved. Not only is Napoléon Bonaparte's era well-documented, but so is the entire monarchic period extending all the way to Napoléon III's Second Empire.

Parisianist Fun Fact: Bonaparte's amazing strategy for victory at Austerlitz, requiring only nine hours of combat, is still taught today.


Le Musée des Plans-Reliefs, although a seperate museum, is in this same wing at the top of the stairs and can be accessed with the same entry ticket. In a room plunged in semi-darkness, only the gigantic 18th century models of fortified cities and strategic military locations in France are lit up. Don't go looking for these buildings today, since the models represent cityscapes from centuries ago! Created for military purposes, the detailed execution and sheer size of the models is astonishing. Unless you happen to love replicas, it's not worth staying here for hours, but it's certainly worth a visit if only to glimpse into a miniature world of centuries past.

Charles de Gaulle

L'Historical Charles de Gaulle is in the same wing, but this time in the basement. Both a museum and a memorial, it showcases the life of General de Gaulle, the French WWII hero turned President, with a modern flair. Here, history is transmitted through modern medias that allow visitors to discover this important historical character through video projections and light shows. This section merits a visit as well.

Parisianist Fun Fact: A replica of General de Gaulle's desk, from which he gave his famous speech the Appeal on 18 June in England, is on display in the section of the Musée des Armées dedicated to the world wars.

Napoleon's Tomb

The highlight of the Musée de l'Armée is Napoléon's tomb, built in 1861 by Visconti and located under the golden dome of the royal chapel. In 1840, exactly 19 years after the death of the Emperor, his body was brought from England’s Saint Helen’s Island (in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean) where Napoléon I died in exile as a British prisoner. Today Napoleon rests in a large coffin of red quartz stone. 12 statues, called Victoires (Victories), watch over Napoléon's eternal rest and symbolize his military campaigns. On the walls of the circular gallery are bas-reliefs outlining the Emperor's principal accomplishments such as the Civil Code. Other important military figures also rest in the vaults at the Invalides.

Parisianist Fun Fact: There are six coffins between the exterior red stone coffin and Napoleon's body.


With so many interesting things to see, you could easily spend an entire day in the Musée de l'Armée. If you'd rather keep up a brisk pace without doing a lightning-speed tour, it should take around three hours. Afterwards, perhaps you'll be tempted to enjoy a drink or a snack in the cafeteria located at the southeast end of the building. Otherwise, you might enjoy sitting in the Parc des Invaldies or in La Cour d'Honneur to admire the magnificient architecture. For a little challenge, try to find Napoléon I's original tombstone. To know more about this historic building and other fun facts about the Invalides, click here

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