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Musée de l'Armée

Musée de l'Armée
Musée de l’Armée
Established 1905
Location Hôtel national des Invalides, 129 rue de Grenelle, 75007 Paris
Website [1]

The Musée de l'Armée (Army Museum) is a national military museum of France located at Les Invalides in the 7th arrondissement of Paris. It is served by Paris Métro stations Invalides, Varenne, and La Tour-Maubourg.

The Musée de l'Armée was created in 1905 with the merger of the Musée d'Artillerie and the Musée Historique de l'Armée.[1] The museum's seven main spaces and departments contain collections that span the period from antiquity through the 20th century.


  • History 1
  • Significant holdings 2
  • Main spaces 3
    • Main Courtyard and Artillery Collections 3.1
    • Old Armour and Weapons, 13th-17th Century 3.2
    • Modern Department, from Louis XIV to Napoleon III, 1643–1870 3.3
    • Contemporary Department, the Two World Wars 1871–1945 3.4
    • The Charles de Gaulle Monument 3.5
    • Musée des Plans-Reliefs 3.6
    • Cathedral of Saint-Louis des Invalides 3.7
    • The Dôme des Invalides 3.8
  • Collection 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


The Musée de l'Armée was created in 1905 with the merger of the Musée d'Artillerie and the Musée Historique de l'Armée.[1] The Musée de l'artillerie (Museum of Artillery - "artillerie" meaning all things related to weapons) was founded in 1795 in the aftermath of the French Revolution,and expanded under Napoleon. It was moved into the World War II.

In March 1878, the museum hosted an "unilineal evolution, putting the European man at the apex of human history.[2] Parts of this collection began to be transferred to the Ethnographic Museum of the Trocadéro in 1910 and in 1917; the last colonial rooms were closed just after the 1931 Paris Colonial Exhibition.[2] All remnants were transferred after the Second World War.[2]

Significant holdings

The Musée de l'Armée has identified 24 aesthetic, technical and symbolic "treasures," which are all closely linked to French military history from the late Middle Ages through World War II. They include weapons, armor, works of arts and technology.[3]

Main spaces

The museum consists of seven main spaces.

Main Courtyard and Artillery Collections

Gribeauval cannon (1780s)

The Main Courtyard is the center of the Hôtel National des Invalides and displays a large part of the artillery collections, gathered during the French Revolution. The collection traces 200 years of the history of French field artillery and enables visitors to discover how the equipment was manufactured, its role and the history of great French artillerymen.[4]


  • 60 French classical bronze cannons
  • A dozen howitzers and mortars

Old Armour and Weapons, 13th-17th Century

Gendarme heavy cavalry armour

The Musée de l'Armée has a rich ancient collection, which makes it one of the three largest arms museums in the world.[5]


  • The Royal Room: crown collections
  • The Medieval Room: artifacts from the feudal army to the royal army
  • The Louis XIII Room: the progress of the royal army)
  • A Themed Arsenal Gallery
  • An exhibit on Courtly Leisure Activities (late Middle Ages to mid-17th century)

Modern Department, from Louis XIV to Napoleon III, 1643–1870

This department covers the military, political, social and industrial history of France, reliving great battles, exploring the lives of soldiers, and tracing the development of technologies and tactics.[6]


  • Privates' uniforms
  • Luxury weapons and arms
  • Equipment of numerous French and foreign regiments
  • Illustrious figures, such as Napoleon Bonaparte and his marshals [6]

Contemporary Department, the Two World Wars 1871–1945

The contemporary department tells the story of the French Army from 1871 to 1945, and the two great conflicts of the 20th century.[7]


  • French and foreign uniforms, including some having belonged to illustrious military leaders (Foch, Joffre, de Lattre, Leclerc, etc.)
  • Objects used by soldiers in daily life
  • Prestige pieces: marshal's batons and ceremonial swords:
  • Emblems, paintings and elements from personal archives: letters, postcards, etc.[7]

The Charles de Gaulle Monument

The Multi-Screen Room

The Charles de Gaulle Monument is an interactive multimedia space dedicated the work of Charles de Gaulle, the leader of the Free French Forces and founding President of the Fifth Republic.[8]


  • The Multi-Screen Room
  • The Ring: "an overview of the century" projected onto a circular glass ring
  • The Permanent Exhibition [8]

Musée des Plans-Reliefs

Model of Château-d'Oléron in the Musée des Plans-Reliefs (1703)

The Musée des Plans-Reliefs is a museum of military models located within the Musée de l'Armée. About 100 models, created between 1668 and 1870,are currently on display in the museum. The construction of models dates to 1668 when the Marquis de Louvois, minister of war to Louis XIV, began a collection of three-dimensional models of fortified cities for military purposes, and kept growing until 1870 with the disappearance of fortifications bastionnées.

Cathedral of Saint-Louis des Invalides

In 1676, the Secretary of State for War, Marquis de Louvois, entrusted the young architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart with the construction of the chapel, which Libéral Bruant had been unable to complete. The architect designed a building which combined a royal chapel, the "Dôme des Invalides", and a veterans' chapel.[9] This way, the King and his soldiers could attend mass simultaneously, while entering the place of worship though different entrances, as prescribed by etiquette. This separation was reinforced in the 19th century with the erection of the tomb of Napoleon I, the creation of the two separate altars and then with the construction of a glass wall between the two chapels.[9]


  • The Veteran's Chapel [9]

The Dôme des Invalides

The Dôme des Invalides is the emblem of the Hôtel National des Invalides and an unmissable monument in the Parisian landscape.[10]


  • The Dome Church
  • The Tomb of Napoleon I [10]


Francis I's sword (16th century) 
Henry II's Burgonet (1550s) 
Emperor Qianlong's amour (18th century) 
Napoleon I's bicorne (c. 1800) 
Painting of the Battle of Magenta (1859) 
Japanese cannons captured during the Shimonoseki Campaign (1860s) 
Russian hussar cap (19th century) 
Pith helmet worn by soldiers in the army of Ranavalona III 
Renault FT17 tank (1917) 
Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress belly turret (1940s) 
Baton of a Marshal of France (20th century) 

See also


  1. ^ a b "Musée de l'Armée - Hôtel national des Invalides". Retrieved 17 April 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c Gilles Aubagnac, "En 1878, les "sauvages" entrent au musée de l'Armée" in Zoos humains. De la Vénus hottentote aux reality shows, Nicolas Bancel, Pascal Blanchard, Gilles Boëtsch, Eric Deroo, Sandrine Lemaire, edition La Découverte (2002), p.349-354 (French)
  3. ^ "Museum treasures". Retrieved 28 April 2013. 
  4. ^ "The Main Courtyard and artillery collections". Retrieved 17 April 2013. 
  5. ^ "Old armour and weapons, 13th-17th century". Retrieved 17 April 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "Modern department, from Louis XIV to Napoleon III, 1643-1870". Retrieved 17 April 2013. 
  7. ^ a b "Contemporary department, the Two World Ward 1871-1945". Retrieved 17 April 2013. 
  8. ^ a b "The Charles de Gaulle Monument". Retrieved 17 April 2013. 
  9. ^ a b c "Cathedral of Saint-Louis des Invalides". Retrieved 17 April 2013. 
  10. ^ a b "The Dome des Invalides". Retrieved 17 April 2013. 

External links

  • Official website
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