Monday, December 12, 2011

Je suis Napoleon!

Les Invalides is a grand and imposing structure.
With it's golden dome, it radiates power and magnificence. Even from a distance, there is a distinct glow that emanates from the beautiful gilding.

Inside, it is no less impressive. There are numerous museums and monuments dedicated to the glory of France's military past.
I even found myself standing in front of a small display case filled with batons belonging to some of France's field marshalls. No one seemed to care or notice, so I was stood there silently in awe of this amazing spectacle.

Six batons. All representing incredible power and achievement. Each one the symbol of accomplishment by great men. Now they are confined to being ignored by tourists in search of more impressive looking exhibits such as big guns and pretty light shows. It's a bit depressing.
Wandering into the main hall, there were monuments dedicated to the heroes of France, such as Marshall Foch.
One monument stuck out more than the others.

The sarcophagus of Napoleon Bonaparte.
Pacing in a circle around this sarcophagus was a strangely surreal experience. This was the resting place of the man who tormented Europe, and yet in many ways was also the man who broke down the old order and began the move of the world into modernity. I had read so much about the Napoleonic era over the years and seeing this in person somehow made it all slightly more real.

1 comment:

Vetrimagal said...

I dont know whether I will be able to visit this place, but thanks to your write up and picture I could also see this place that is a big part of European History.