Reminiscing in the Parlor : Leisurely Viewing Stereographs
Church of the Invalides, Paris, France
August 1875
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6.875 x 3.313
One stereograph of the Church of the Invalides, Paris, France. The photograph shows the domed section of the church. The front has the title handwritten on it and the back has the owner's initials and a long description of the site. M. F. H. took a European tour in July and August of 1875, traveling from Belgium to Switzerland, Italy, France, England and Scotland. From other stereographs, it is clear this is from that trip.
In 1670, Louis the 14th decided to erect a building able to house disabled soldiers, or those too old to serve in his armies. The war minister, Louvois, was entrusted with the project, and he chose the architect Libéral Bruant for the construction of the hotel, the design of which is a reminder of the Escorial palace by Philippe II (Spain). This project was part of the social and charitable trend of the 17th century, and the Hôtel des Invalides became an exemple to follow for many other European countries.
The construction of the military complex was over in 3 years only and the first residents entered as soon as October 1674. The life of the 4000 residents (end of the 17th century) was ruled in the same way as in barracks and monasteries. The soldiers were divided into companies and worked in workshops, making uniforms, shoes, tapestries and book illumination, so as to fight idleness.
The severely injured ones, about 100, were taken care of in the hospital, set in the South-east section. This hospital is still active today, whereas the pension for old soldiers around the courtyard now hosts the museum rooms.

In 1676, the church project, in the south, was given to Jules Hardouin-Mansart, who built the great royal church, or Dome Church (using the blueprints of his great-uncle François Mansart). He also finished the church used by the residents for the daily cult, the Soldiers Church. The Dome Church is a masterpiece of French classical architecture; its decoration was given to the finest artists of Louis XIV (Charles de la Fosse, Jouvenent, Girardon) who also worked at Versailles. Reaching 101m at the top of the spire, it is a reference in the landscape of Paris, and was inaugurated on August 28th 1706 by the king.
Under Napoléon I, the Dome became the pantheon of France military glories, by housing the tomb of Turenne and the heart of Vauban.

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