22.3.12

More about the "Invalides".



Sometimes I feel a need to add something about places I have already posted about. This is the case with the Invalides on which I made a post some four years ago.




The history of the place is very much dominated by Louis XIV, who decided to build it, and by Napoleon who came here regularly (and was quite directly responsible for the high number of occupants during a couple of years) and has his tomb here. We can find their monograms on the impressive marble floor.


As I have still rather much to say about the place, I will make two posts, the first one concentrating on the Louis XIV part.

First something about the building as such: It was thus built under Louis XIV’s reign as a hospital and a home for aged and unwell soldiers (with space for 4.000 of them). It was finished in 1676, including a chapel for the soldiers, known as “Saint Louis des Invalides”. A "Royal Chapel", under the dome, was finished only in 1708.


Other architects were involved, but there is always a special mention for Jules-Hardouin Mansart (also very present at Versailles, creator of Place Vendôme, Place des Victoires, the SaintRoch Church… and a number of other edifices), who designed the Royal Chapel.

One amazing feature, which you can't imagine when you just look up on it, concerns the dome of the "Royal Chapel". It can be explained by a model; the upper levels of windows cannot be seen - they are just there to give light to the dome.



Another “detail”: One of the superintendents of the works was Louvois (François Michel Le Tellier de Louvois), an eminent minister of Louis XIV, who died before the end of the works (in 1691). He wanted to be buried at the Invalides, but some intrigues made that finally he wasn’t. But… somehow his presence was arranged. One of the bull’s eyes shows a wolf… and the pronunciation in French of Louvois and “loup voit”, meaning “wolf sees” is the same.


It’s normal to find the presence of Louis XIV, the “Sun King” emblem can be seen all over the place. I had the pleasure to get into one of the more prestigious rooms, with a splendid view through the windows. One version of the perhaps most well-known painting of the King (other versions at the Louvre, at Versailles…) by Hyacinthe Rigaud (1701) could be seen on one of the walls.


Some views of the "Saint Louis Chapel". I will show more from the "Royal Chapel" in a next post, as it's now where you can find Napoleon's tomb. 


Under the chapel  you can find (but not easy to visit) the “Caveau des Gouverneurs”. This is the place where most of the military governors of the Invalides and a number of prominent militaries are buried. … and also Rouget de Lisle, who wrote the “Marseillaise”.


There are several sun-dials around; this is perhaps the more spectacular one. I will not try to explain exactly how to read it, only that it’s split in two, one for the morning hours (from 1770) - “Sub umbra quiescent” (Under the shade they rest) and one for the afternoon hours (from 1785) – “Sub luce gaudent” (Under the light they rejoice.) Did people get up late?


There will thus be a second post, more related to Napoleon.

18 comments:

Virginia said...

Well just put this on my "famous list" Peter! I must assume the rouge bows on the shoes you noted were for my future Paris Rouge series! :)
V

ALAIN said...

Tu as oublié de nous montrer la partie du cadran solaire qui donne l'heure pendant la nuit.

Thérèse said...

Bien conserve ce modillon de loup! Hommage donc a Louvois.

Olivier said...

magnifique, l'un des plus beaux monuments de Paris

Anonymous said...

Do you know why Louis xiv has got red heels? This http://www.histoire-en-ligne.com/spip.php?article994 might interest you.Anne

claude said...

Merci pour ce magistral cours d'histoire et pour la visite.

Ruth said...

Really incredible details. I have always loved this building and area. You do get special entree into privates areas! Your stature is established and growing.

hpy said...

Je ne sais pas si je vais retenir tout ça....

Anonymous said...

Now I know why the red heel of a male shoe was a prerogative of the aristocracy...

When Thomas Jefferson came back from France his friends and fellow signers of the American Independence could not believe their eyes when they saw him for the first time.

The still young and very handsome former Ambassador wore make up, was richly dressed in the latest style and his black patent leather shoes had RED heels!!!

John Adams, always outspoken asked him how he dared dress like that in his own country of all places. Such spectacle was never seen before in that young Republic...

On the other hand because they loved him they were relieved to see the former inconsolable widower looking like such a happy dandy...

Fantastic photos!

Fantastic post!

Thank you, Peter.

Maria O. Russell

Cezar and Léia said...

I'm thanking my notes, it's a place that I need to visit someday!
Thanks for all information and these adorable pictures!
Léia

Studio at the Farm said...

WONDERFUL!!! I can understand why you would come back for another post, Peter. What a very beautiful building, with so much fascinating history. If I ever get to Paris, this is a definite must-see.

Vagabonde said...

I have meant to eat at the Foyer de la Madeleine served by volunteer ladies but was never there at the right time as it closes at 14 h. I enjoyed your post on the Invalides. I went there years, no, decades ago and don’t remember it well. Plus I never saw all the beautiful places you show.

F.L. said...

Thank you Peter ! Beautiful pictures on the dome's interiors paintings.

Harriet said...

Always a delight to re-visit Paris monuments. Aren't you glad that red heels and bows are no longer the fashion for men! Enjoyed the interesting story about Louvois.

Yingying Xue said...

Good job!

lyliane said...

Toutes les salles doivent être réouvertes maintenant, il faut que j'y retourne aussi
Bises

Shionge said...

Your blog is too tempting for us to want to visit Paris over and over again.

It is equally tempting for my hubby when Air France is offering $998 ticket to Paris and we are stuck coz the dates of travelling is not ideal at the moment for me and the girls ;(

We love Paris too much :D

JM said...

Fantastic photos! Great post as usual, Peter.