Les Invalides: An insider's guide

Sightsee like a Parisian around the Sun King's gold-domed military hospital...



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Chapelle des Invalides

Chapelle des Invalides

Napoleon's tomb, inside the Dome Church, is the crowd magnet here; but while in Les Invalides (a former hospital complex commissioned by Louis XIV for wounded soldiers) don't miss the Musée de l'Armée, Paris's military museum, which contains one of Europe's largest collections of weaponry. Once that's done, leave the coach loads behind and check out 'real' Paris, courtesy of our insider's guide to the Invalides area.

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Around Les Invalides...

Museum: Musée des Egouts

Descend, if you dare, into the deep and (sometimes) stinking depths of Paris's sewers. For centuries, the main source of drinking water in Paris was the Seine, which was also the main sewer.

  1. Entrée face au 93 quai d'Orsay, Pont de l'Alma, 7e
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Museum: Musée National Rodin

Next-door to Les Invalides, the Rodin museum occupies the hôtel particulier where the sculptor lived in the final years of his life. The Kiss, the Cathedral, the Walking Man, portrait busts and

  1. Hôtel Biron, 79 rue de Varenne, 7e
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Attraction: Chapelle de la Médaille Miraculeuse

In 1830, saintly Catherine Labouré was said to have seen a vision of the Virgin, who told her to cast a medal that copied her appearance - standing on a globe with rays of light appearing from her

  1. 140 rue du Bac, 7e
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Restaurant: Chez L'Ami Jean

This long-running Basque address is an ongoing hit thanks to chef Stéphane Jégo. Excellent bread from baker Jean-Luc Poujauran is a perfect nibble when slathered with a tangy, herby fromage blanc -

  1. 27 rue Malar, 7e
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Restaurant: Les Cocottes

Christian Constant has found the perfect recipe for pleasing Parisians at his new bistro: a flexible menu of salads, soups, verrines (light dishes served in jars) and cocottes (served in cast-iron

  1. 135 rue Saint-Dominique, 7e
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Bar: Café Thoumieux

Café Thoumieux is a laid-back destination for cocktails, tapas and big-screen sport. Banquettes snake around the room, and spiky Aztec-pattern lamps light up the faces of the pretty young locals who

  1. 4 rue de la Comète, 7e
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Cinema: La Pagode

This glorious edifice is not, as local legend might have it, a block-by-block import, but a 19th-century replica of a pagoda by a French architect. Renovated in the late 1990s, this is one of the

  1. 57 bis rue de Babylone, 7e
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Shop: Pierre Hardy

Ever wondered where the classy looking Parisians in the 7th buy their footwear? Look no further: This posh black-and-white shoebox is home to Hardy's range of superbly conceived footwear - the

  1. 9-11 pl du Palais Bourbon, 7e
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Shop: Marie-Anne Cantin

One for cheese lover this: Cantin, a defender of unpasteurised cheese and supplier to many posh Paris restaurants, offers aged chèvres and amazing morbier, mont d'or and comté.

  1. 12 rue du Champ-de-Mars, 7e
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