About the ChurchThe Dome Church (Église du Dôme), the burial place of Napoleon, is part of the Invalides, the center of a number of historical sites, located in the 7th district of Paris.
The church was built in 1706, at the order of King Louis the 14th. It is located in the southern part of the Invalides and has a very impressive gold dome (called "The Dome"), surrounded by neoclassical style pillars.
Napoleon's burial story is fascinating. He died in 1821 and was buried on the island of St. Helena to which he was exiled. 19 years later, after his body was brought to Paris by a war ship, a grand and royal funeral was held in his honor in the Arc de Triomphe, through the Champs-Élysées and the Concorde Square to Saint Jerome Church, where he was buried for another period of time. After twenty-one years of rest, his body was transferred to a permanent residence under the Dome of the Rock in 1861, more than 40 years after his death.
Even the luxurious Dome Church does not fall short of Napoleon's standards. The elegant chapel features decorated marble pillars, a large golden dome with magnificent paintings, mosaics and sculptures. Napoleon's son and brother are also buried on the ground floor of the church. In order to see the grave on the lower floor properly, you have to reach the porch on the ground floor. Napoleon is buried in a large green granite coffin in the center of the Crypt. Inside the grave there are 6 coffins placed inside each other (just like a babushka) and are made of different materials (metal, mahogany, lead, birch and oak). Around the coffin stand 12 marble pillars sculpted in the form of the goddess of victory, symbolizing Napoleon's twelve most important victories.
In 1989, during the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution, the dome was re-coated with gold. The the coating used 550 thousand gold leaves (more than 9 kg!)
About NapoleonNapoleon Bonaparte, buried right here in the Dome Church, is Napoleon the 1st, the Emperor of France. He was the most famous general in the history of France and one of the greatest generals of all time. During his time France became an occupying empire and only one step stood between it and the control over most of Europe. There was even a stage in which he went to the Middle East, with the aim of conquering the Far East. By the way, the place where he was arrested was the city of Acre...
Napoleon first came to power in a coup, after a brilliant career as a successful military man. Even as the French ruler, he proved to have amazing organizational abilities, charisma and he was a wise leader. He established his rule in France and put order in disordered France after the French Revolution.
However, he then set out to conquer Europe and even proclaimed himself as Emperor of France. His fate changed when in the harsh Russian winter he was forced to retreat, defeated for the first time and lost most of his army. A coalition of all the countries that opposed him defeated him and exiled him to the Elba, a tiny island where he was allowed to rule. Thus Napoleon the Great, almost ruler of the world, became the ruler of a tiny island in Tuscany. But like a real Bonaparte, he improved the island beyond recognition and to this day the local residents thank him for it.
A few years later, when he realized that the reign of the monarchy in France had weakened, Bonaparte fled the island and returned to rule France. But his rule was short and lasted only as long as this period is called "the period of one hundred days", because Bonaparte went to defend his rule against the anti-Napoleonic European coalition forces, which refused to accept his return and organized against him. Again he won here and won there, until the decisive battle came to which the forces united against him. This time he encountered an equally impressive military genius, the British Duke of Wellington. This time the enemy did not allow him to separate the armies, as he had always done so well. In a coordinated fashion, while capturing successful positions, the forces waited for the French army and defeated it. Even the weather was against him this time, and the mud made it difficult for French troops to advance against the fortifications of the English. In Battle of Waterloo Napoleon Bonaparte was finally defeated and left the stage of history.
This was the end of the glorious and arrogant career of the man who did not stop for a moment until history stopped him. Again, but this time for good, Napoleon was exiled, this time on the isolated island of St. Helena. He lived on this small island until his death, and he wasn't even 52 years old.
Despite his fall and failures, the French remember him in his greatness.
The Journey of Napoleon's BurialNapoleon is buried in the Dome Church, located in the Invalides. But the ceremony of him being brought to burial is no less interesting than the grave that is there today. In 1840, after seven years of negotiations with the British, the French were able to obtain permission to return Napoleon's body from the island of St. Helena to France.
And so, 19 years after he died, the French opened Napoleons coffin for two minutes to make sure his body was indeed there. Everyone who attended the opening ceremony testified that the body was kept in excellent condition. After the examination, they put the coffin aboard the French ship La Belle Poule, which brought the body to the port of La Haber. From there they brought the coffin along the Seine River and on December 15, 1840, a state funeral was held for Napoleon.
The funeral journey began from the Arc de Triomphe, through the Avenue des Champs-Elysées and the Place de la Concorde, to the Church of Saint Jerome, despite having a severe storm that day. The body was buried there, in this church, for 21 years, until it was brought here, to the Invalides, the place that would become its permanent residence. The corpse was finally buried in a crypt under the dome.
Beneath the gold dome of the Dome Church, stands a stone container used as a coffin and is called sarcophagus. It is set in the center of a marble floor shaped as a star. Inside the sarcophagus, Napoleon is buried in no less than six coffins, placed one inside of the other: the first and the most interior one is made of metal; the second is made of mahogany, the third and the fourth are made of lead, the fifth is made of birch wood and the sixth is made of oak. Inside the deepest coffin lies Napoleon's body, dressed in full cavalry.
Around the coffin stand 12 marble pillars, carved in the form of the goddess of victory. The pillars symbolize Napoleon's 12 most important victories. The walls are decorated with niches with wall reliefs depicting some of the ruler's actions.
In addition to Napoleon, his son and both his brothers are buried there.