Les Invalides & Army Museum (Paris)

The France Army Museum or the National Military Museum is located in Les Invalides Paris (built by order of Louis XIV for disabled wars). Located in the very center of Paris (cross the Seine from the Ferris wheel and go one block to the right) and is considered one of the best military history museums in France.

Paris map

Eiffel Tower, Invalides Army Museum, Military School, Order of the Legion of Honor

Les Invalides Army museum Paris

Les Invalides Army museum Paris in November

Les Invalides Paris and Musée de l’Armée is a whole military-historical complex, actually consisting of several museums from different eras, permanent and changing thematic exhibitions. The Museum of the Army officially opened in 1905 as a result of the merger of the Museum of Artillery and the Museum of Army History.

Paris, Les Invalides and Army Museum

Les Invalides and Army Museum, Paris

The Museum of Artillery, founded in 1871, inherited in turn two of the most famous collections: the collection of movable property of the French crown (French: la collection du garde-meuble de la Couronne) and the collection of armor and weapons of the Princes of Condé (previously exhibited in the Château de Chantilly). Since 1852, the collection of the Artillery Museum has been settled in Les Invalides, constantly enriched by exhibits from the National Library, the Louvre, the Artillery Museum of Vincennes, the Paris Mint, the Pierrefonds castle collection, as well as through numerous private donations.

The Museum of the Army History was founded in 1896 by the La Sabretache company, whose president (artist Edouard Detail – French Edouard Detaille) dreamed of creating such a museum based on his own collection, taking the historical halls of the Paris World Exhibition of 1889 as a model.
Army museum collection Guide

Les Invalides Army museum Paris trip

Les Invalides Paris, Army museum court

Museums map, entrance, tickets and practical information

How to visit, the cash desk and souvenir shop

Les Invalides Army museum Paris map

Paris, Les Invalides & Army museum map, entrance & tickets

– The main (Nord) entrance: the ticket office – cashbox, the information, souvenirs shop
– Luis XIV and Charles de Gaule Halls, Arms and Uniforms XVII- XIX age (left)
– Saint Louis Church and Napoleon’s Tomb (centre)
– Exit (or south entrance): the tickets, café
– Word War I & World War II, 1871-1945 section (on the right)
– Arms and armors XIII-XVIII century halls (on the right)
Update: in 2024, museum tickets are only sold at the entrance N2 next to the Cathedral and cafeteria, but the main entrance N1 from the Seine is also open.
Saint Louis Church, Napoleon’s Tomb, WW1 – WW2 memorials Photo gallery.

Napoleon’s grave in the crypt of the Les Invalides Cathedral

For fans of the Napoleonic Wars era, the Tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte is a sacred site that is essential to visit on your Army Museum tour. This attraction has a separate entrance from Place Vauban and the Quartermaster’s Garden. The square contains monuments and sculptures dedicated to the history of France and the First World War. The statue of Marshal Marie Emile Fayolle is the most beautiful and largest in size. From this point you can take great overview photos of the Cathedral and its golden dome before or after visiting Napoleon’s Tomb. After purchasing a ticket, you can enter the Cathedral and go down to the crypt through the ritual main entrance. The Cathedral and crypt contain the graves of other prominent personalities, as well as a description of some historical events. Below we post a photo gallery and reviews from the self-guided tour in 2024. Please note that you can visit the second part of the cathedral from the courtyard (see photo above).

Self-guided walking tour Place Vauban – Napoleon’s Tomb 2024 photo gallery.

Photo A: Marshal Marie Emile Fayolle and soldiers in WWI uniforms. Commander of the 6th Army during the Battle of the Somme in 1916, he was awarded the highest Allied decorations. The Russian Tsar awarded the Marshal Fayolle the Order of St. George, 4th degree. In 1917, he commanded British and French troops in Italy (see Mountain Front of the First World War in the Alps). Also took part in the Second Battle of the Marne in 1918. Died in Paris in 1928.

Photo D: entrance to the Museum and Ticket Office from Vauban Square. On the left side there is a Landscape Garden with sculptures. The Eiffel Tower is visible behind the houses..

World War One outdoor exhibition

In the courtyard of the Les Invalides there are rare examples of military equipment from the First World War, such as artillery, mortars and even a tank. Please note that the French Renault tank is the world’s first tank with a classic layout (chassis, turret, gun). It was his illegal copies that became the first tanks of the Red Army, called “Freedom Fighter Comrade Lenin”. The limited space does not allow Les Invalides to show all the exhibits of its collection, therefore, thematic exhibitions are periodically held in a special section of the Army Museum, as well as in other military museums. I would especially like to note and recommend visiting the tank museum in the city of Saumur (Loire Valley) and the Museum of the Great War (city of Meaux).