Hôtel des Invalides was founded by Louis XIV in 1670 to shelter 7,000 aged or crippled former soldiers. The enormous range of buildings was completed in five years (1671-76) by Libéral Bruant, and then by Jules Hardouin-Mansart and Robert de Cotte. The gold-plated dome, with six kilograms of gold leaf, that rises above the hospital buildings belongs to the Church of Saint-Louis (1675-1706) and was designed by Jules Hardouin-Mansart. Mansart modeled the dome after St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Construction began in 1706 and was completed in 1708 by Robert de Cotte after Mansart had died. Surrounding the buildings are gardens and parks, consistent with the French ideal of the healing powers of nature. I thought that as part of my series on French gardens, I would show you some of my favorite places at Les Invalides.