The Palace of Tau in Reims, France, was the palace of the Archbishop of Reims. It is located next to Notre-Dame de Riems Cathedral in Reims. It is associated with the Kings of France, whose coronations were held in the nearby cathedral of Notre-Dame de Reims. A large Gallo-Roman villa originally occupied the site of the palace in the 6th and 7th centuries, and the villa later became a Carolingian palace. The first documented use of the name Tau dates to 1131, and derives from the plan of the building, which resembles the letter Τ (tau, in the Greek alphabet). Most of the early building has disappeared: the oldest part remaining is the chapel, from 1207. The building was largely rebuilt in Gothic style between 1498 and 1509, and modified to its present Baroque appearance between 1671 and 1710 by Jules Hardouin-Mansart and Robert de Cotte. It was damaged by a fire on 19 September 1914, and not repaired until after the Second World War. The Palace was the residence of the Kings of France before their coronations in Notre-Dame de Reims. The King was dressed for the coronation at the palace before proceeding to the cathedral; afterwards, a banquet was held at the palace. The first recorded coronation banquet was held at the palace in 990, and the most recent in 1825.
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.