The Invalides, built under Louis XIVIn 1670, Louis XIV adopted plans by Liberal Bruant to build a hospital for invalid soldiers, condamned for theft and mendicity. This site was the second in importance after that of Versailles and began in 1671. The church opened for the soldiers in 1677. However, it was in 1706 that the completion of the royal church, famous for its golden dome, marked the end of the work.
The main facade of the building extends from either side of a huge semi-circular portico of the main entrance guarded by statues of Mars, warlord in ancient Roman era and Minerva, goddess of wisdom ensuring the defense of the hospital. These two statues are the work of William Couston and the famous equestrian statue of Louis XIV.
It is among the papers of his uncle, that he noticed the plans of the Dome, originally designed into a mausoleum for France's kings in St Denis.
Two pavilions frame the facade decorated with a garden surrounded by walls built by Vauban, on which are aligned guns of the seventeenth and eighteenth century.The Hotel des Invalides is known for its dome covered during its restoration in 1989, of 550 000 gold leaves, laid by ten gilder masters. Today the Dome des Invalides houses the ashes of Napoleon, brought back in 1840.
The hospitality tradition continues with an advanced surgical hospital. The Northwest wing houses the Army Museum and the Esplanade des Invalides designed by Robert de Cotte which extends until the Seine.