Cool Stuff in Paris. By Manning Leonard Krull.

Musée de l'Armée — the Army Museum at Les Invalides

Musée de l'Armée, Hôtel national des Invalides
129, Rue de Grenelle, 75007 Paris (Map)
Métro: Invalides, Varenne | Website

The Musée de l'Armée is housed in Les Invalides, a palatial building containing various exhibits and monuments related to the military history of France, and probably best known for housing the tomb of Napoleon I. The museum is split up into a few large sections; I'll admit I spent a lot more time in the Département Ancien (i.e. cool medieval armor and weapons) than in the Département Moderne (informative exhibits about the two World Wars), and my photos certainly reflect this. Let's check it out...

Here's the courtyard of the Musée de l'Armée; the entrance is actually off to the right.

There are so many suits of armor displayed throughout the Musée de l'Armée it's kind of staggering; there's just no end to them! There are practically enough for, like, an army.

I love this helmet's mustachioed, somewhat worried-looking expression. Now that's a face you want to wear into battle.

This gorgeous sword belonged to Francis I, who was king of France from 1515 to 1547.

Cool Ottoman armor for horse and rider.

I love this dragon and crown relief on top of one of the old cannons.

17th-century cannons. Why do we no longer sculpt monster heads onto military weapons?

I love this goofy-looking lion head on the back of this ol' cannon.

Check out those children's suits of armor in the front!

This cannon has apparently been crammed down a dragon's throat.

These are darts (like, darts to be used as weapons, not for throwing at a target on a wall), and I do believe some of them have poison reservoirs! Crazy!

These dog(?)-shaped ivory dagger hilts are so weird and fun and beautiful.

Gunpowder holders made from intricately carved deer antlers.

I wanna know what the deal is with those tiny suits of armor down in front!

This thing is insane. According to the card (not shown), it's a "crucific dagger" made in Spain around 1650. I wish I could've gotten a better picture; the light in this room was terrible, but I had to give it a shot!

Crazy monster helmet!

I believe this is a faceplate that attaches to a helmet (positioned above it in the display case; see next picture).

Amazingly intricate shields, helmet, and faceplate.

Lots and lots and lots of suits of armor. One of the things I loved about this museum is that many of the rooms themselves are so beautiful. It's a real pleasure to stroll through this place.

There's a whole other huge section of the museum devoted to the two World Wars, and while I didn't have a lot of time to spend in there, I can tell you that that part is really interesting and worth visiting as well. (On a related note, check out my article about visiting Omaha Beach and other WW2 sites in Normandy.) And of course, don't forget this same complex of buildings houses Napoleon's tomb, which is totally worth checking out just so you can laugh at how oversized and ostentatious it is.


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