Tribute to Warfare - Musee de I'Armee and Napoleon's Tomb

One of the most overlooked attractions in Paris is the Musee de I’Armee. Located in Les Invalides, this museum has one subject and one subject alone, WARFARE.

Originally, I wanted to see the place only because it contains Napoleon’s Tomb, which is something I had wanted to see ever since I saw the episode of GI Joe where the Joes battled Cobra because Cobra needed Napoleon’s DNA to build Serpentor. (Geek talk) But this place turned out to be so much more.

Containing weapons, armor and artifacts from antiquity, the dark ages, the Renaissance, all the way to the two World Wars, this Museum is as awesome as it gets, it being one of the largest and most complete military museums in the world.

So fellows, when all that your ladies want to do is shop along Champs Elysees, do yourself a favor; HEAD HERE!

And feel the manliness coursing through your veins.

Musee de I’Armee

* After getting off the Varenne metro stop, one must take a very pleasant walk towards the Museum. I would highly recommend you listen to medieval / war music during that walk as it does a great job of getting one in the mood for the place.

Musee de I’Armee

* The main entrance of the Musee de I’Armee does a great job of being unassuming, despite the fact that thousands of war veterans, heroes and Napoleon himself have passed through here. Originally serving as a hospital and recreation area for France’s military back in Napoleon’s time, the whole area became a museum in 1905.

Musee de I’Armee

* The museum’s main courtyard contains 60 bronze cannons used during the French Revolution. Somehow, I thought of the game, Angry Birds, when I saw them all lined up.

Musee de I’Armee

* This awesome armored knight at the entrance of the Medieval Exhibit inspired me to have a similar display in my future home! However instead of an armored horse, my knight would be riding a Velociraptor and wielding a machete.

Musee de I’Armee

* The Musee de I’armee contains one of the largest collections of armor and weapons in the world. Also displayed are the royal armors of the kings and princes of France, as well as of other cultures, including the knights of Gondor and Rohan.

Musee de I’Armee

* My cousin Raul, who is an absolute gun nut and zombie apocalypse strategist, drooled over the massive collection of muskets and hybrid sword-guns.

Samurai Armor

* Not being exclusive to European armor, the Museum also contained Samurai, Mongol and ancient Chinese armor and weaponry. The guy on the right was hesitant to have his picture taken as he was missing a boot!

Musee de I'Armee

* This poor chap probably died from being shot at the back. That or he was REALLY itchy that day!

Musee de I'Armee

* European armor from the 13th to 17th Century fill these halls dedicated to warfare. There are also these unusual looking helmets (bottom) that indicate that teasing and laughing at others was as big a hit in the past as it is today.

Musee de I'Armee

* What Museum of War would be complete without a grand collection of ancient Greek and Mesopotamian weaponry to channel one’s inner Achilles?

Musee de I'Armee

* Mom posing next to a HUGE cannon. Check out the balls on that one!!

Sword of King Francis I

* Sword of King Francis I of France, who ruled in the 16th Century. As a great patron of the arts, Francis was the king who initiated the French Renaissance by inviting many Italian artists to settle in France including Leonardo da Vinci (who brought the Mona Lisa with him). For this great accomplishment, the French fondly call him Fran├žois au Grand Nez (Francis of the Large Nose). Hey, I don’t get their sense of humor either!

Musee de I'Armee

* A roomfull of armor for gruff men and tots of all shapes and sizes. I would like to imagine that these come to life at night, and walk.. ever so slowly.

Musee de I'Armee

* How can a respectable gentleman see a long-as-hell cannon and NOT make this pose?!

Turkish Horsemen

* Clockwise: Armored Turkish Horseman & steed; a collection of pole-type weapons including the Bardiche, Corseque, Fauchard and Halberd; and 18th Century armor of French and Spanish warriors.

Gun Collection

* Wall after wall of firearms, swords, spears and daggers. I know where I’m going to go when the zombie apocalypse hits!

Prussian and Algerian Uniforms

* Old-school dance-off between the Prussian Army (top) and French-Algerian Army (bottom). Check out the red pants and head gear, very metro!

Artillery WWI

* Various artillery and machine guns used during World War I. I felt like I was in the Armory Exhibit in Sylvester Stallone's movie, Demolition Man.

Nazi SA Uniform

* Uniform of a Nazi SA officer. My dad, being a huge fan of World War II, really appreciated the exhibits on this great conflict, which did a great job of showcasing the different fronts (British, French, Russian, Pacific). I, on the other hand, was busy taking down notes for potential Halloween costumes for myself and the dogs!

Atomic Bomb

* The Atomic Bomb, the most devastating weapon used in any war in history! I got goosebumps as I remembered watching old-school videos of nuclear explosions set to Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries.

Chapel of Saint-Louis-des-Invalides

* Next to the Musee de I’armee stands the Chapel of Saint-Louis-des-Invalides. Built in 1679, this served as the official chapel of France’s war veterans and contains the tombs of France’s greatest heroes and warriors, chief of which is that of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte himself.

Joseph Bonaparte

* Upon entering the chapel and facing right, you’ll find the tomb of Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon’s beloved older brother and one-time King of Naples, Sicily and Spain. After Napoleon’s death, Joseph moved to New York and immediately became the focal point of the politicians and intellectuals of the era. He was quite the popular fellow, in contrast with his brother, who people either loved or hated passionately.

Napoleon's Tomb

* At the center of the chapel stands Napoleon Bonaparte's sarcophagus which is just MASSIVE. Well the guy was once the Emperor of France, King of Italy and conqueror of continental Europe, so we can cut him some slack for it. Such huge space for such a small guy (reportedly); he must have brought with him his whole living room including his 60” LCD TV and sound system!

Napoleon's Tomb Ceiling

* The beautiful Dome des Invalides, directly above Napoleon’s tomb, can surely rival any cathedral in Europe! One can’t help but think of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome upon seeing it.

Napoleon's Tomb Altar

* Another similarity between St. Peter’s Basilica and Napoleon’s Tomb is the altar, which looks strikingly similar! They must have gotten it at two-for-the-price-of-one back then!

Marshall Foch

* Hands-down my favorite tomb in the whole place belongs to Marshall Ferdinand Foch. His also happens to be one of the most awesome names in the history of man (FOCH!!!), next only to Blackagar Boltagon. I’m just so sure that they played Metallica’s Ecstasy of Gold as Mr. FOCH was being entombed here.

Henri Bertrand

* The vault of Henri Bertrand, a French General, would have been uneventful had he not been mentioned in Alexandre Dumas' epic novel, The Count of Monte Cristo, one of my favorite books, ever!

Napoleon's Tomb

* I’m very sure I saw this statue of a bearded man carrying a crown in Lord of the Rings / Kingdom of Heaven / World of Warcraft / (insert epic war movie here).

Napoleon's Tomb

* Definitely one of the highlights of my Paris trip is seeing up-close the tomb of Napoleon, the man who was the name-sake of my grandfather, Napoleon Aguilar. I wish we could have buried you this way, lolo, well maybe if I win a gazillion dollars someday!

Napoleon's Tomb

* I had to take a picture of this dick of a man standing on some poor soul! Check-out the couple making out on the right, and the homo-erotic embrace of the two gentlemen on the left.

Napoleon II

* The tomb of Emperor Napoleon II, son of Napoleon, who was also King of Rome and Duke of Parma. I found this important as I absolutely love Parma Ham, especially when served with some mustard on toasted bread.

Esplanade des Invalides

* View of the Esplanade des Invalides, which is an awesome place to imagine a fierce battle between knights and zombies, after coming out of the Museum of War!


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