Invalides district

Things to do in Invalides district

In Paris, the Esplanade des Invalides is to host the archery competitions of the 2024 Olympic & Paralympic Games. An honour indeed for this place of remembrance that has celebrated the greatest personalities. And an opportunity to discover the hidden...
  1. Paris 2024
  2. (Re)discover the districts around the Olympic sites
  3. Things to do in Invalides district

The Invalides district is at the very core of French administration and politics, oozing with grandeur in the heart of the city. Home to ministries, embassies and the military academy, its wide avenues and lovely little streets are almost intimidating as you explore. Not forgetting the famous museums that complete the majestic picture, standing on the banks of the Seine or occupying the sumptuous private mansions. But don’t be fooled! Behind this impressive façade, the district of Les Invalides has a few surprises in store. You can dance the swing on a barge with a view of the Eiffel Tower, dine at a trendy restaurant where a DJ set livens up the atmosphere, visit the Paris sewers, or savour a delicious Franco-Japanese pastry… In the Invalides district, rigour and frivolity coexist in perfect harmony.

In 2024, the Paris Region will play host to sport in all its splendour. Among the prestigious buildings, athletes will battle it out in the archery competition of the Olympic & Paralympic Games. Between two heats, go exploring the amazing Invalides district.

Hôtel des Invalides

This is where it all began. The district of Les Invalides takes its name from this building created at the initiative of Louis XIV, originally as a hospital for war veterans. This breathtaking building never fails to impress, not only by its sheer scale, but also by the prestige that it embodies.

Indeed, within its walls lies the musée de l’Armée, which displays the largest ever collection from French military history. Armour, helmets, maps and shields are among the hundreds of thousands of military objects on display that speak of wars and battles that have shaped the history of France. Whether you’re an expert or just have children who are mad about knights, you’ll be amazed by this museum’s outstanding heritage.

Musée de l&%2523039;Armée - Hôtel des Invalides
Musée de l'Armée - Hôtel des Invalides

In addition to these artefacts, you’ll have access to a whole room devoted to the two world wars, and to a section featuring films, photos and interactive maps relating to General de Gaulle. The museum also offers an immersive and inclusive experience through fun trails and investigations for the children, and various theme tours. Concerts, debates and cinema screenings complete the museum programme, for an alternative military history experience!

Among the exceptional items on display at the Army Museum, some are of particular interest, such as the famous bicorn hat worn by Napoleon I and his majestic portrait painted by Ingres in 1806. And for good reason, because the emperor resided here. Beneath the impressive dôme doré de l’Hôtel des Invalides lies one of the greatest political figures in the history of France. He wanted to be laid to rest near the French people, and his wish was granted. In 1840, nearly 20 years after Napoleon’s death on Saint Helena, his body was repatriated to Les Invalides by order of King Louis-Philippe. It took 20 years to build the vault that was to be Napoleon’s final resting place, beneath the dome. Decorated with gilding and sculptures (including a statue of the emperor himself), this crypt stands below the enormous cupola, offering awestruck onlookers a moment of contemplation.

Dôme des Invalides%252C tombeau de Napoléon.
Dôme des Invalides - Tomb of Napoléon I

Fancy an alternative way to visit this remembrance site? Buy tickets for an evening at Aura Invalides, a sound-and-light spectacle that brings out the full beauty of the chapels. As night falls, a display of colour and sounds plunges you into a surrealistic atmosphere and reveals vestiges of the past in a new light. Sublime and bewitching.

Until 31/12/2024
from22 €
Aura Invalides Show Ticket

Romantic Invalides tour

On a different note, soak up the atmosphere of romantic Paris.

The tour Eiffel is of course a key feature of your visit if you want to see the most beautiful and most graceful sights of the City of Light. Its curved metal structure, its perfect symmetry and its uppermost tip reaching for the stars… Truly a wonderful sight that you never get tired of seeing.

Tour Eiffel
Eiffel Tower

A stone’s throw from the Hôtel des Invalides, treat yourself to a pleasant break at the beautiful Musée Rodin. Rodin spent the last years of his life in the privacy of the Biron mansion. Here, in accordance with the artist’s wishes, his statues continue to honour his memory. Since 1919, this lovely private mansion has exhibited the artist’s work, offering visitors a romantic stroll amid the sculptures on display in each room, including Rodin’s studio. You’ll have the pleasure of admiring his sublime sculpture, The Kiss, the ultimate romantic masterpiece. Your walk continues in the gardens, an open-air extension of the museum. Among the greenery and other statues stands one of the museum’s highlights, The Thinker, adding a poetic touch to this scene of romance between art and nature.

Musée Rodin%252C museographie de l&%2523039;hotel Biron
Musée Rodin - Paris

Gastronomy and elegance in the Invalides district

Les Invalides has plenty to keep fine gourmets entertained. In this district of excellence, gastronomy is showcased on every street corner. Mori Yoshida is an excellent example. Step inside the patisserie near the Chaban-Delmas esplanade to see some real works of art. Since 2013, the famous Japanese pastry chef has taken customers on a culinary voyage, revisiting the great classics of French patisserie with a Japanese twist. Paris-Brest sprinkled with black sesame, chocolate & matcha tart… A delight for the senses.

Dessert de la pâtisserie Mori Yoshida%252C Paris
Mori Yoshida

A short walk away, you’ll find the Parisian shoppers’ temple, Bon Marché Rive Gauche. This is Paris’ oldest department store. It opened in 1852 and offers the very best in design, fashion, luxury items and gastronomy. Bon Marché Rive Gauche offers more than just a stroll amid French sophistication. It is a sight worth seeing in its own right. With its Art Déco façades, glass roof and beautiful white beams, it is truly a palace of elegance. And if you fancy it, the shop regularly re-opens its doors after dark to offer visitors an immersive show in which they mingle with the artists in a surprising setting.

Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche%252C Noël 2022
Bon Marché Rive gauche

The Vesper restaurant is just as elegant, with an added touch of extravagance, to make your mouth water with original dishes of Japanese inspiration. In a vintage decor of tropical colours, make yourself comfortable and see what takes your fancy. Vesper has something for everyone, from roast duck in brown sauce to enjoy on the terrace, to romantic dinners in a boudoir atmosphere. Unless you prefer sipping at cocktails to the sound of a DJ set.

Letting your hair down at Les Invalides

In the Invalides district, get carried away by enthusiasm!

Head for the banks of the Seine where it’s party time near the Invalides bridge. With its stunning view of the Eiffel Tower, the Flow is one of the best places to go if you want to enjoy the vibe until the early hours. Every evening, this 40-metre barge draws a crowd of people eager to experience the party atmosphere that reigns on the banks of the river Seine. The eclectic programme at the Flow offers everything from intimate concerts to weekend club nights. And when summer returns, the terrace overflows onto the quayside where you can enjoy the intense rays of the sun.

Terrasse du Flow%252C quais de Seine%252C en arrière-plan le Pont Alexandre III et le Grand Palais%252C Paris 2017.

Next to it, the entertainment is just as merry at the Rosa Bonheur sur Seine, which has a guinguette-style atmosphere. This immense barge with windows all around offers a panoramic view of the Eiffel Tower, Alexandre III bridge and the Elysée palace… Feast your eyes on the sights of Paris while you party! With its long terrace and outdoor bar, the Rosa Bonheur sur Seine is a hotspot for togetherness and sharing. After a delicious pizza, you can take part in a table football tournament or enjoy a glass of rosé with others sitting at your table. You’ll soon understand what Rosa Bonheur is all about.

Terrasse du Rosa Bonheur%252C quais de Seine%252C Paris
Rosa Bonheur sur Seine

Arty and Underground Invalides

In the Invalides district, the Seine riverbank beckons you to explore its artistic and cultural side.

Although most people know it already, the musée d’Orsay is one of those iconic places in the city of Paris that you never get tired of visiting. Occupying a former train station built for the World Exhibition of 1900, the museum is home to the world’s largest collection of impressionist paintings. Here you can gaze at Manet’s Lunch on the grass and Monet’s intoxicating Poppy Field… But the museum also boasts an eclectic and prestigious collection that offers a beautiful retrospective of Art. Children and adults will be moved by the soft features of the Polar Bear sculpted by Pompon, while Van Gogh fans can admire one of the artist’s self-portraits.

Famile%252C Nymphéas de Monet
Musée d’Orsay

Urban art enthusiasts also have their haunt. Prolong your walk along the Seine and stop at Fluctuart, the world’s first floating venue for urban art. If you’re mad about street art, or just love anything new, then you’ll enjoy visiting this atypical venue. Fluctuart is a 1,000 m² facility boasting a permanent collection as well as a library, artistic events and workshops for children and adults. And what better way to round off your visit than sipping a cocktail or sharing a platter of tapas on the venue’s own terrace.

Fluctuart%252C centre d&%2523039;art urbain flottant situé près des Invalides

Paris can also be visited… underground! The musée des Égouts de Paris, offers a more original way of exploring the City of Light as you plunge into the bowels of Paris. Approximately ten metres beneath the surface, this one-hour tour has you winding your way through the Paris sewers. Throughout this guided tour, you’ll hear all the details of the history of the Paris sewers, from their creation in the Roman era to the present day. An unusual walk in the Parisian depths!

Musée des égouts
Paris Sewer Museum

As you’ve understood by now, the Invalides district isn’t just about historic monuments. Much more than a remembrance site, it is a whole universe in which history mingles with modernity, classicism with counterculture, striking the perfect balance.

Also to be discovered

  • Copyright image: Paris Ile-de-France/JL Polion