Saturday, April 28, 2012

Napoleon's Tomb and Au Revoir to Paris

We had a rainy last day and decided to do something inside so we headed to Musee de Larmee Hotel National Des Invalides, both a museum and a monument.  It houses the Tomb of Napoleon I, the Saint Louis des Invalides Chapel, a Charles DeGaulle Historical Exhibit and the Museum of the Two World Wars which they listed as 1871-1990.  After all my travels, I do believe someone was fighting with someone somewhere during all that time ... and before and since!

The building was originally intended to lodge veterans.  It was a town unto itself in that it contained a veteran's home, barracks, a convent, a hospital and a workshop.  Napoleon converted the chapel into a national military pantheon with the installation of the tombs of Viscount de Tureene (1800) and the Marquis de Vauban (1802).  In 1840, Louis-Phillippe ordered the remains of Napoleon to be returned to Paris and a tomb to be erected under the Dome.  It was completed in 1861 (the start of our Civil War). 

The Dome ceiling

Napoleon's sarcophagus of red quartzite resting on a green granite pedestal.  Around the sarcophagus, 12 victory statues symbolize his military campaigns, 8 famous victories are inscribed on the marble floor and civilian achievements are represented by 10 bas-reliefs decorating the walls of the crypt.

Saint Louis des Invalides Chapel

We toured the World Wars museum but I didn't take any pictures.  It's interesting to get another country's take on history.  It is true that the Victors Write History.  This was our final "tourist" stop for our trip.  We found our way to the Metro to return to a shop for Carol to purchase a gift she had seen previously and made our way back to the hotel via a different metro line.  We were getting good at this!

We were picked up at the hotel at 7 am the next day and the six of us were transported to Charles de Gaulle airport for our flights home.  It was 135 Euros or roughly $179 USD for the half hour ride to the airport.  Two cups of coffee and two croissants later we were on board for a 10 hour direct flight home with 30 Euros to save for Rome!.

We did OK with the 7 hour time change though I am still getting up early (~ 6 a.m.) and getting to bed earlier too.  But that has given me quiet time to finish this trip on my blog.

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