June 3rd, 2012
The Musée de l’Armée (Army Museum) is located in Les Invalides in Paris. The original purpose of this large complex that opened in 1678 was to be a hospital and home for injured soldiers (part of the building still serves this purpose today). Over the years as the need for such a large building to serve this purpose reduced, the role of Les Invalides changed. In 1861 Napoleon Bonaparte’s tomb was completed within the complex and the museum was introduced in the 1872 (originally an artillery museum, then in 1896 the army museum was added with both museums being merged into one in 1905).
The Army Museum recently underwent a major renovation and has a new World War One and World War Two gallery. There are many rare and interesting artefacts on display including uniforms, weapons, equipment, photos, propaganda posters and paintings.
There are also very unique items on display such as General George S. Patton’s goggles, the personal flag of Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering and items taken from the Berghof, Hitlers home in Obersalzburg in Germany. A small but highly important item to the French is the microphone that General De Gaulle used to send Free French broadcasts to the people of France during the German occupation from 1940 to 1944.
In other parts of the museum are various suits of armour, weapons, uniforms and artefacts from Napoleonic and earlier times including the period of King Louis XIV. The number of suits of armour that have been preserved through many wars is impressive!