In an ordinance of 1670 Louis XIV announced the building of a shelter for old soldiers, “to construct a royal building of sufficient size and space to receive and lodge all officers and men who are crippled or old and frail and to guarantee sufficient funds for their subsistance and upkeep.”
Louis himself chose the design of Liberal Bruant. The first stone was laid in 1671, and in 1674 the first old soldiers entered, and were received in person by Louis XIV. Today it is still a hospital and has a number of museums. Napoleon is buried under the dome.
Two or three officers shared a room, while soldiers had small dormitories of four or six beds.On being accepted the candidate was given a comb, wooden spoon, knife, uniform and shoes. Married soldiers were allowed to sleep out twice a week. All were obliged to attend mass on Sunday. No wine or food was allowed in the rooms, and smoking and women were not allowed anywhere inside Invalides.
There are two lines of cannons at the entrance. This one is a little more ornate than the rest.
Here is a line of cannons with a moat in front and pictures of French battles below marking anniversaries of famous battles.
Along the sides of the buildings they have these really pretty gardens, great for a quiet day of reading.