Army Museum in Paris, France

Paris Army Museum: History, Holdings, 6 Main spaces, 4 additional locations & more

The Musée de l’Armée, also known as the “Army Museum” is a national military museum of France that is situated in the Les Invalides neighborhood of Paris‘ seventh arrondissement. The Invalides, Varenne, and La Tour-Maubourg Paris Métro stations serve it.

The Musée d’Artillerie and the Musée Historique de l’Armée were combined to form the Musée de l’Armée in 1905. Collections from antiquity to the twentieth century are housed in the seven main departments and spaces of the Museum.

History of the Army Museum

Considering that by merging the two museums, the Museum of De L’Arme was created the Artillery Museum and the Historic d’Armé Museum. After the French Revolution, the Musée de l’artillerie (Museum of Artillery, “artillerie” meaning all things associated with weapons) was established in 1795.

It was later expanded by Napoleon. In 1871, just after the Franco-Prussian War and the declaration of the Third Republic, it was moved into the Hôtel des Invalides. Following Paris World Fair in 1896, another organization known as the Musée historique de l’Armée (Historical Museum of the Army Paris) was founded. In 1905, the two organizations amalgamated inside the former Musée de l’Artillerie.

The Exterior of The Army Museum in Paris, France
The Exterior of The Army Museum in Paris, France

It currently has 500,000 objects displayed in a 12,000 m2 space, including weapons, armor, artillery, uniforms, emblems, and artworks. The “historical collections,” which offer a chronological tour from antiquity to the end of the second World War, are how the permanent collections are organized.

An “ethnographic exhibition,” as it was known, was held at the Museum in March 1878. It featured the primary “types” of Oceania, America, Asia, and Africa. The main draw was dummied, representing citizens of the colonies along with various weaponry and tools.

The show, organized by Colonel Le Clerc, sought to illustrate unilineal evolution beliefs by placing the European man at the pinnacle of human evolution. The first pieces of this collection were transferred to the Trocadéro’s Ethnographic Museum in 1910 and 1917, and the final colonial rooms were shut down shortly after the 1931 Paris Colonial Exhibition relics were relocated following the second World War.

Substantial Holdings

24 aesthetic, technological, and symbolic “treasures” that are all directly related to French military history from the late Middle Ages to the second World War have been identified by the Musée de l’Armée. They comprise equipment like weapons, armor, artwork, and technology.

Substantial Holdings of The Musée de l’Armée
Substantial Holdings of The Musée de l’Armée

The 6 Main spaces of the Paris Army Museum:

There are 6 principal areas of the museum.

1. Main Courtyard and collections of artillery

The heart of the Hôtel National des Invalides is the Main Courtyard, which houses a sizable portion of the artillery collections amassed during the French Revolution. The collection covers 200 years of French field artillery history and allows visitors to learn about the development of the weaponry, its use, and the lives of famous French artillerymen.


      • 60 traditional French bronze guns
      • 12 mortars and howitzers
Main Courtyard and collections of artillery
Main Courtyard and collections of artillery

2. 13th–17th-century armor and weapons

The Musée de l’Armée is one of the three biggest museums of arms in the world thanks to its extensive historical collection.


      • The Royal chamber or (room): crown collections
      • The Medieval Room or(chamber): facilities from the feudal army to the royal army
      • The Fourth Louis Room: the improvements of the royal army
      • A Themed Arsenal Browser
      • An exhibit on Courtly Leisure Operation (mid-17th century to late Middle Ages)
      • A few Rooms Filled with Ancient and Oriental Weapons

3. Louis XIV to Napoleon III, the Modern Department, 1643–1870

This division examines France’s military, social, political, and industrial history, reliving significant conflicts, delving into the daily lives of troops and charting the advancement of strategies and techniques.


      • The attire of privates
      • Expensive weaponry and arms
      • Various French and foreign regiments’ equipment
      • Eminent individuals like Napoleon Bonaparte and his marshals
Louis XIV to Napoleon III, the Modern Department, 1643–1870
Louis XIV to Napoleon III, the Modern Department, 1643–1870

4. The memorial of Charles de Gaulle

Charles de Gaulle, the commander of the Free French Forces and the first president of the Fifth Republic is honored in the Charles de Gaulle Monument (Historical), an interactive multimedia environment.


      • The Multi-Screen Room
      • The Ring: “an overview of the century” projected onto a circular glass ring
      • The Permanent Exhibition

5. Current Affairs, The Two World Wars, 1871–1945

The department of contemporary history chronicles the French army’s history from 1871 to 1945 as well as the two major conflicts of the 20th century.


      • Uniforms from France and other countries, some of which had belonged to famous military leaders (Foch, de Lattre, Joffre, Leclerc, etc.)
      • Items used by soldiers every day
      • Prestige parts: ceremonial swords and marshals’ batons
      • Symbols, Artwork, and items from private collections, including letters, postcards, etc.
Current Affairs, The Two World Wars, 1871–1945
Current Affairs, The Two World Wars, 1871–1945

6. Cabinets Insolates

The special collections are housed in three cabinets.


      • Models of artillery from the 16th to the 19th centuries.
      • 350 pieces of the collection’s 350 military musical instruments were chosen.
      • Military figures, including 5000 toy soldiers on display out of a 140000-piece collection.

The 4 additional locations connected to the Army Museum:

1. Museum of the Order of the Liberation

The Museum is devoted to the Ordre de la Libération, which General Charles de Gaulle, commander of the Free French Forces, established in 1940 and is France’s second national honor after the Légion d’honneur.

There are three galleries here:

      • Free France
      • Interior Resistance
      • Deportation
Museum of the Order of the Liberation
Museum of the Order of the Liberation

2. The Museum of Plan-Reliefs

Within the Musée de l’Armée lies the military model museum, the Musée des Plans-Reliefs. Approximately 100 models that were made between 1668 and 1870 are on display at the moment. The creation of models dates back to 1668 when the Marquis de Louvois, Louis XIV’s minister of war, assembled a collection of three-dimensional models of fortified towns for military use. The collection continued to expand until fortifications bastionnées vanished in 1870.

3. Saint-Louis des Invalides Cathedral

The construction of the chapel, which Libéral Bruant had been unable to complete, was given to the young architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart by the Secretary of State for War, Marquis de Louvois, in 1676. The “Dôme des Invalides,” a royal chapel and a veterans’ chapel were merged when the architect created the structure.

The King and his soldiers might then attend mass together while coming into the place of worship through separate doors as required by the protocol. With the construction of first Napoleon’s tomb, the two distinct altars, and ultimately a glass wall separating the two chapels in the 19th century, this division was further strengthened.


      • Chapel for Veterans
Saint-Louis des Invalides Cathedral
Saint-Louis des Invalides Cathedral

4. Dome of the Invalids

The Dôme des Invalides, which stands in for the Hôtel National des Invalides, is a must-see landmark in the city of Paris.


      • The Dome Church
      • The Tomb of the first Napoleon

Museum Working Hours

  • Open daily from 10:00 am until 6:00 pm (to 9 pm on Tuesdays)

Places do not miss the army museum in Paris

  • The Royal Chapel of the Invalides
  • The Char 2C Tank
  • The collections of uniforms and weapons
  • The Lounge of Military Exploits
  • Temporary exhibitions
Places do not miss the army museum in Paris
Places do not miss the army museum in Paris

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