Les Invalides

In my last blog I commented on my surprise trip to Paris to attend a gig which was cancelled. Undaunted, we made the best of the trip and decided to see the sights. One of the highlights of the trip was our visit to Les Invalides, home to the French Army Museum (Musée de l’Armée). 

French Cannon.

The museum covers most aspects of French history from Medieval times to the end of the Second World War, but focuses particularly on the latter part of the history from the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars to 1945.

French crossbowman’s equipment, circa 1480.

The museum really requires a day to fully look around. We arrived at 1pm and were pressed to see everything before closing time. We missed the 13th to 17th century armoury but managed to see the Knights and Bombards exhibition. 

Officer’s uniform circa 1780.

The Louis XIV to Napoleon III section had a large section of uniforms, including ones from the American War of Independence. They even had Napoleon’s favourite horse (stuffed of course).

Imperial Guard uniform.

The uniform sections were particularly good as you could see original uniforms in their original colours. As I had long suspected, French Napoleonic uniform blue took on many shades from a dark blue (faded to mid blue by light) to almost black. Is there a right shade for French uniforms? Probably, but then there are many right shades.

Napoleonic French artillery uniform.

 I did take many pictures in this section but only a few came out clear, which was a little annoying.

Dragoon’s greatcoat, retreat from Moscow.

The map room contained over a dozen three dimensional maps of the fortifications of European cities. They’d have been prefect to play 3mm scale or Kriegspiel style wargames on!

The map room.

This is only a record of part of my visit. The 1870 to 1945 section deserves a blog post all to itself. If you are in Paris, make time for Les Invalides, you won’t regret it! 

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