In 1670 King Louis XIV commissioned Libéral Bruant to design and build a military hospital and retirement home to be known as Les Invalides. The north side of the buildings which are located in the 7th arrondissement can be seen across the Pont Alexandre III from the Petit Palais and the Grand Palais in the 8th arrondissement.
Jules Hardouin Mansart completed the building of a chapel known as Église Saint-Louis des Invalides in 1679 shortly after Bruant’s death. Then King Louis asked Mansart to build a large royal chapel with a dome resembling St. Peter’s in Rome. The chapel was completed in 1706 and Napoleon turned it into a military pantheon in 1800. Then King Louis-Philippe decided that the great Napoleon should be buried in the chapel directly under the dome and Napoleon’s remains were brought to Paris from St Helena in 1840. Louis Visconti was hired to design the well containing Napoleon’s Tomb. He also had to move the altar, designed to resemble Bernini’s famous baldacchino in St. Peter’s Basilica, further back in the chapel to accommodate the well. Napoleon was buried in the well in 1861 during the reign of his nephew Napoleon III.
The Dome des Invalides is considered to be one of the finest examples of French Baroque architecture but I thought my photo of the altar with all that gold was just a wee too much and so I transformed the gilt to black and white and entered the result in this week’s Monochrome Madness Challenge developed by Laura Macky and Leanne Cole earlier this year and still running over on Leanne’s website.
I’ll have more postings on Les Invalides in a couple of weeks.