Les Invalides was originally built by the order of Louis XIV as a hospital and home for ailing soldiers. This order was given on 24 November 1670, the building designed by architect Liberal Bruant and Les Invalides was completed in 1676. In fact Les Invalides still operates as an institution for war veterans, under the name Institution Nationale des Invalides.
Following its initial construction, several further additions were made to Les Invalids, including a chapel in 1679 and the striking Dome Church or ‘Église du Dôme’, which incorporates the royal chapel built by Louis XIV and completed in 1706.
One of the most significant dates in the history of Les Invalides was when the body of the Emperor Napoleon I (Napoleon Bonaparte) was brought there on December 15th 1840. His tomb, which was completed in 1861, remains there today and is housed in the Dome Church.
Les Invalides is made up of several buildings and now stands as the largest complex of monuments in Paris, including its comprehensive military museum, Musée de l’Armée.
Les Invalides operates numerous types of tours, including those specifically dealing with historical, cultural or artistic issues. There is even a tour dedicated entirely to Napoleon. The multimedia presentation on the life of Charles de Gaulle is also worth seeing.