The Dôme des Invalides

The Dôme des Invalides is the majestic setting and main character in the AURA INVALIDES immersive experience. Inspired by the site’s symbolism and architecture, AURA’s artistic team has created a visual and sonic work that highlights the monument in its full splendor.


A symbol of french history

The Dôme des Invalides opened in 1706 during the reign of Louis XIV and was the spectacular setting for foundational periods in French history. In Louis XIV's time, it was the venue for royal Mass. During the French Revolution, it was the Temple of Mars. In the 19th century, it was the national pantheon of military glories. It now houses the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte. Finally, it was a secret refuge for British pilots during World War Two. In short, the Dôme's symbolism and role have constantly evolved over the centuries. 


From the royal chapel to the imperial tomb

From 1840, Louis-Philippe I arranged for Napoleon Bonaparte's remains to be transferred to Les Invalides. The architect Visconti decided to excavate an enormous area in the centre of the Royal Chapel for the imperial tomb. Following a colossal amount of work, the remains of Napoleon Bonaparte were laid to rest on 2 April 1861 in the centre of a rotunda decorated with 12 majestic statues.


An architectural masterpeice

The Dôme is one of the best examples of French classical architecture. It lies in the heart of a landmark complex and a centuries-old institution, the Hôtel National des Invalides. The genius of its architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart can be seen in its pure lines and harmonious centred design topped with a dome covered in 12 kilos of gold.


A monumental setting

Inside, the Dôme's 80-metre celestial vault shelters various paintings and sculptures. Frescoes by painter Charles de La Fosse and the canopied black-marble altar designed by Visconti stand alongside the mausoleum for the genius behind the Fortifications of Vauban and the finely crafted tombs of famous people from French history.


A beacon on the Paris skyline

The Dôme is one of the best examples of French classical architecture. The Dôme at the Hôtel National des Invalides was the tallest building in Paris for almost two centuries until the Eiffel Tower was built in 1889.  Visible from miles around at 107 metres tall, the monument stands out on the Paris skyline, with its golden dome brightening up the City of Lights day and night.