It’s our last day in Paris for my ten-year-old grandson and me, so I have planned what I hope will be an easy one since the next day will be long. We start at Les Invalides…so named because it was built to be a veterans hospital by Louis XIV. Today, it houses the tomb of Napoleon and the Musée de l’Armée…an army museum. It’s just a short walk from our hotel and is very recognizable because of its gold dome.
We visit the tomb first. Napoleon was originally buried on the island of St. Helena where he was exiled, but his body was later moved to this spot for a burial more befitting an emperor. Inside the tomb is an oak coffin holding an ebony coffin, then two lead coffins, a mahogany coffin and a tin coffin…and finally, the Emperor himself!
The tomb is actually on the first floor of the church, under this beautiful dome. Napoleon himself planned his final resting place so that we enter on the second floor…
…and lean over the railing, bowing to the emperor’s tomb in order to see it…as my grandson happily demonstrates! lol
We head around to the back of the church to see the alter…beautiful!..and have a little peek through the windows at what lies beyond…
…the Musee de l’Armée! When my grandson hears that there is an army museum, he is beside himself with joy, so we head off to visit it. You are first greeted by a real tank, at which point I can only tell you how his little face lit up!
And when he saw that there was a Medieval wing with a special display of armor, he was jumping up and down…Can we go there first? Of course! :-)
We study and photograph each and every weapon and artifact…including a sword with an interesting dog handle and a fabulously carved oliphant…a horn. I have to admit that I actually enjoyed this part much more than I ever thought I would. These were wonderful works of art!
Then we checked out the incredible collection of armor…amazing! There were even suits of armor for horses and every suit of armor that ever belonged to Louis XIII…from age four and up! The museum also included an amazing collection of military uniforms and a very thorough retelling of both World War I and II.
However, the most incredible of all to me was Napoleon’s last horse, le Vizir, stuffed and mounted for all posterity! He looks a little worse for the wear now, but was supposed to have been a magnificent animal, a gift to Napoleon from the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire.
Here, I have to make an addendum to Rick Steves’ guide book in which he allows two hours for women and three hours for men…how about five hours for a ten-year-old boy (and his tired Granny)!
We drag ourselves away finally for what was to be the last stop of the day…the gardens of the Rodin Museum to see Le Penseur…the Thinker. However, the line is long and we are exhausted and hungry…so, sadly, we opt to save it for next time. There will have to be a next time!
So we head back to our little hotel in Rue Cler for one last dinner at our favorite sidewalk café…
…one last French pastry for dessert! Sigh!
Now, sadly, it’s time to say au revoir to Paris! I have even been hesitating to write this last post because then it really is over! Sniff! It was the most wonderful trip I have ever made and I loved every minute of it! I will never forget sharing these memories with my special traveling buddy…my grandson! I can’t believe that after five years of planning and waiting, it has now come to an end. But don’t be sad for us! I am already planning another trip…maybe to New Orleans next! Hmmm…can you say swamp tours, pirates, riverboat rides and haunted mansions?! I can't wait!
Missed any Paris posts?
Back from Paris…or...My Grandson’s Favorites! Listing the must-see spots for a ten year old boy!
My Favorite Street in Paris…Rue Cler Great little street to use as your headquarters
In case you want to follow along, here is my plan for visiting Paris in seven days! I am linking each of the seven days as I complete the posts.
Day One…All about Eiffel! Eiffel Tower/ Champ de Mars park and play area
Day Two…Sightseeing by Subway! Arc de Triomphe/ Montmarte/ Sacré-Coeur
Day Three…Monsieur Monet, I Presume (and a lot of Louis)! Giverny/ Versailles minibus tour
Day Four…The Cradle of Paris! La Sainte Chapelle/ la Conciergerie/ Notre Dame/ Latin Quarter/ the book stalls/ ice cream on Ile St. Louis/ the bâteau mouche on the Seine
Day Five…Art Museum Madness…Plus Play in the Park! Louvre/ Tuileries Garden/ l’Orangerie/ Musée d’Orsay
Day Six…A Phantom, a Fountain and Some History! Opéra Garnier/ Pompidou Center/ Carnavalet Museum
Day Seven…A Tomb, a Tank and a Tower! Napoleon’s Tomb and the Musée de l’Armée at les Invalides/ Eiffel Tower at night
Thanks so much for stopping by! See you next time! A la prochaine!