Meeting point for two great megalomaniacs: Napoleon and Louis XIV.
Les Invalides is one of those places that is a little bit of everything: museums, mausoleum, Baroque church (or rather two), garden, hospital and architectural showcase. Built by Louis XIV as a grandiose gesture of munificence to retired and wounded soldiers (hence the name invalids) it is a grand ensemble of sculpted stone facades, arcaded courtyards, surrounded by cannons and topiaried bushes. The Eglise du Dôme – visible from all over Paris with its shiny gilding – contains the red porphyry tomb of Napoleon, surrounded by reliefs of his achievements as emperor, is a masterpiece of hagiography. Even the Musée de l'Armée can be taken on several levels from the swashbuckling appeal of suits of armour to powerful World War II film footage. The complex also contains the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, scale models of cities used to plot military strategy and the De Gaulle Historial.