Did you know that Napoleon ‘s tomb was in Paris ? More precisely in the Dôme des Invalides.
The highest building in Paris
With its golden lantern culminating at 107 meters, this chapel built under Louis XIV has a dome which remained the highest building in Paris until the erection of the Eiffel Tower. The many gildings recall the Sun King who ordered the construction of the Hôtel des Invalides by edict in order to accommodate the former soldiers of his army. He also inspired the architect of the Capitol, in the United States. Now part of the Army Museum, the Dôme des Invalides houses the final resting place of Napoleon I. The emperor’s brothers as well as the Aiglon, his son, also rest at his side. In 1815, Napoleon I lost the battle of Waterloo (in Belgium) against the English, the Russians and the Prussian allies. He must abdicate, that is to say, he renounces power. King Louis XVIII ascends the throne, and Napoleon is exiled to the island of Saint Helena, a small island lost in the South Atlantic, which belongs to the English. He died on May 5, 1821 and was buried on the island.
The construction of the vault took 20 years
In France, once the sufferings of the Napoleonic wars had subsided, part of the population was nostalgic for the greatness of the Empire, and regretted the Emperor. To take advantage of Napoleon’s popularity, King Louis-Philippe asks the British for permission to repatriate the body. The Emperor’s Tomb Above the stairs leading to the crypt, we can read the will of the emperor: “I want my ashes to rest on the banks of the Seine, in the middle of this French people that I loved so much. 20 years after his death on the island of Sainte-Hélène, his remains were repatriated to the Invalides by order of King Louis-Philippe, in 1840. The construction of the vault took nearly 20 additional years and the body of Napoleon I was not deposited there until 1861. The tomb, fashioned in blocks of red porphyry, is placed on a base of green granite. All around, twelve “Victoires” made by Pradier represent the military campaigns of the Emperor, and, in the circular gallery, bas-reliefs sculpted by Simart describe his main achievements, such as the Civil Code or the creation of the Legion of honor. At the back of the crypt sits a statue of Napoleon I dressed in imperial attire.
Musée de l’Armée
129 rue de Grenelle 75007 Paris 7th