Saturday, June 15, 2013

Philatelic Photograph: Les Invalides - Paris, France

Interesting Places I've Photographed
Les Invalides
Paris, France
Topic: Philatelic Photographs

N 48° 51.447 E 002° 18.756

Quick Description: 

Les Invalides, officially L'Hôtel National des Invalides - The National Residence of the Invalids, is located on the left bank of the River Seine opposite the Pont Alexandre III in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, France.

Long Description:

Les Invalides a large complex of buildings consisting of the Musée de l'Armée, Église Saint-Louis-des-Invalides, a hospital, retirement home, mausoleum, and fifteen courtyards. Construction of the complex began in 1671 under the regime of King Louis XIV and based on a design by architects Libéral Bruant, Jules Hardouin Mansart. It was completed in 1676 and dedicated in 1678. It did not have chapel. In 1679, the veteran's chapel, Église Saint-Louis des Invalides, was added. Shortly after the veterans' chapel was completed, Louis XIV commissioned Mansart to construct a separate private royal chapel referred to as the Église du Dôme which was inspired by St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. The Baroque dome, which was finished in 1708, is the most prominent feature of the Invalides complex. The original purpose of Les Invalides was to provide a home for aged and sick soldiers.

Les Invalides has a fascinating history. On July 14, 1789 Les Invalides was seized by Parisian rioters who acquired the cannons and muskets to use, that day, against the Bastille. The mausoleum of Napoleon Bonaparte was located under the dome in 1840. In 1872, the Musée d'Artillerie (Artillery Museum) and later, in 1896, Musée Historique des Armées (Historical Museum of the Armies) was established within the complex. The two museums were merged in 1905 into the present day Musée de l'Armée. The buildings were used as a major retirement home and hospital for military veterans until the early twentieth century and still provides housing and care for about 100 former soldiers.

The view on the stamp and the photograph is from the north with the Baroque dome, designed by Mansart, above, behind, and offset to the left of the pediment of the central block designed by Bruant. The public esplanade (Esplanade des Invalides) stretches before the structure forming a large open public space in the middle of Paris. The stamp was issued by France on September 2, 2006 as part of set of 10 stamps in the ongoing Aspects of Life in French Regions series of stamps.

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