New Year's Eve, we started the day by tossing a coin. Go to the Opera? Too far away. Sacre Coeur? Did a church already. The Bastille? Maybe. But knowing Hud is a Civil War fan, I figured that maybe he would like to go to France's favorite war hero's final resting spot --Hotel des Invalides. It's right next to the Musee de l'Armee so he could get two birds with one stone. What I didn't know is the best way to procede. Hud ran down to ask Zahir at the front desk. He sent us left out of the hotel, left at the first street, go three blocks and head right between a museum and a gallery and voila!
Go under the Eiffel Tower! There was a Christmas village set up at the base and a small fair. And 9,485,283 and a 1/2 of our closest friends and their dogs. I really needed my dog.
We made a left at the carousel and headed for the Tour Eiffel!
Through the hoards of visitors. Closer...
Under and out!
Another left. A little to the right and follow the golden dome to this:
The Hotel des Invalides is a large church finished in 1706. It served as a large complex of buildings, apartments, hospital and church to provide for soldiers who had served in various wars over the years. Napoleon and his son were exhumed from Elba and Austria respectively and moved to the church in the 1800s. Actually, Hitler (!) thought the son should be with his father and had the remains moved to the catacombs of the Invalides. Who knew he ever did anything nice? Well, I have read that he liked cats, so there must be some kernel of good in everyone.
First we visited the Musee de l'Armee to the left of the dome. It's a vast complex housing the armory of France's great warring past.
First, you pass though one man's vast collection of examlples of all the outfits soldiers wore throughout the ages. I said, " Wow. I've never seen such a big doll collection." Hud said, "Good thing you didn't say that in French." Hmmph. It's a DOLL COLLECTION. I don't care what he called it.
I had no idea the suits of armour worn by knights were so intricately and masterfully etched!
This one belonged to Louis XIV. As Hud and I wandered around, we started to notice that all the artifacts we were drawn to belonged to him. Louis and I could have definitely shopped together.
Even the horses were suited up for defense.
And the children.
At first, I couldn't figure out what the hook was for on many of the suits. Je parle comme un bebe, but I can read a good bit. Finally, I read that it was a support on Jousting suits. You know. For the jousting ram. As you do.
I was amazed that they still had the pantaloons for this suit. The fabrics were why the lighting was kept so low and flash was not allowed.
The variety of these powder flasks was so interesting. They ranged from antlers to ivory to a small bejeweled turtle shell. That's it, second in, from the bottom right.
This ancient shield was carved from wood, covered in leather and adorned with paint and guilding.
Little known fact, as a child, the Furry Godmother was pretty good with a crossbow. This one inlaid with ivory could convince me to take up the sport again, I think.
But the most amusing piece of armory came in the form of a canon, celebrating the marriage of a duke and given by Cardinal Richelieu.
It had a portrait of the bride.
Lovely. The handles were a carving of the bride and groom in an embrace. Naked!
Isn't it romantic? Nothing says love like your very own weapon of mass destruction!
Hud said, "This is wonderful! I'll get the Metals Museum started on ours the minute we get back!"
I'll leave it here,because Napoleon deserves a post to himself.
Adieu pour la nuit!