My Travel Blog

No More Paintings! Napoleon’s Tomb & Musee des Arts Decoratifs

We always enjoy Paris, but our last little two-day excursion was unusually special. Lately I’ve been pretty burned out on art museums especially if they have a large collection of religious paintings, and they all do. After all, how many pictures of Baby Jesus and the Virgin do you really need?

Our friends Marty and Sara recommended that we go to the Musee des Arts Decoratifs.  The first exhibit was in a darkened room filled with display cases depicting the history of women’s clothing. Okay guys, there’s no need to scoff. When we walked in my first thought was, where’s the exit.  Then I realized that many of the displays were dedicated to showing how women’s clothes were designed to enhance their figures. At least I think that’s what they were showing.  It was either to enhance their figures or torment them. The girdles were right out of the Inquisition’s torture chambers, and the bustles reminded me of a construction site.  They were huge.  I’m talking some major booty! There was even a collection of codpieces for men.  If you don’t know what a codpiece is then Google it.  You will not believe that men actually wore those things in public.  I’d be embarrassed to wear one on the set of a porno movie.

 After the clothing exhibit we visited the rest of the museum. If you are interested in furniture then you will definitely enjoy this museum.  Most of the furniture is French, and some of it is truly spectacular.  The craftsmanship and detail are something to behold.  I can’t imagine how long it took to build some of those pieces.  Check out Musee des Arts Decoratifs.  It’s a nice change of pace!

“This is the building where Napoleon Bonaparte is buried.”

“What a beautiful structure.”

“Check out the ceiling.”

The next day, despite having to catch a noon train, Lisa and I decided to visit Les Invalides. Originally built as a hospital and retirement home for veterans it is now a complex of museums, all relating to Frances military history.  Part of the complex houses the burial sites of some of Frances most famous military heroes.  I had seen pictures of the place, but until you actually go there you can’t appreciate it.

“This is the room where Marshal Foch is interred.”

“Even the floor is beautiful.”

Les Invalidesis the final resting place of Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) after his body was brought back to France in 1840 from Saint Helena.  His sarcophagus is made of red quartzite placed on top of a green granite base.  It is huge.  I’m talking Shaquille O’Neal size. Remember, Napoleon was just a little munchkin size guy.  There was enough room to hold a dance inside his coffin.  What were they thinking?I heard he wasn’t a very good dancer. Along with Napoleon Bonaparte there were a bunch of other guys buried there that you may have heard of.  Guys like Napoleon II, Marshal Foch and Vauban.  The museum itself was dedicated to showing how over the centuries men have figured out how to kill each other more efficiently, but then isn’t that what war is all about?

“Napoleon Bonaparte’s tomb.”

“WWI tank.”

“A collection of bronze cannons.”

“Even the trees are trimmed to look like bullets.”

-Tom Miller
Author of “The Wave” – 
a Chuck Palmer Adventure novel

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About the Author:

Tom Miller graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science in Geology. He is a consummate adventurer with over 1,000 dives as a recreational scuba diver, and an avid sailor who has traveled 65,000 miles throughout the Pacific including the Hawaiian Islands. Miller has also cruised the canals of Europe on his canal barge and given numerous lectures on cruising the canals of Europe, as well as sailing in the South Pacific. Piloting is also an interest of Miller's, and He has completed over 1,000 hours flying everything from small Cessnas to Lear jets.