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What are the best things to see at the Army Museum in Paris

Hello, I will be visiting the Army Museum with my 3 young granddaughters (ages 11, 12 and 13) - along with my 2 daughters. I know that the Museum is a massive site, but we would like to spend no more than 2 hours there - focusing on things that would be of most interest to my granddaughters. I remember that there is a section that has Napoleon's actual uniform, as well as his horse, which I think they will really like to see. Are there any other must see sites for them (besides, of course, Napoleon's tomb)? Some videos/films perhaps? They are all very bright children - but they are children, & after 2 hours, their focus & stamina will be gone. Thank you for any roadmap that you can give me that would help utilize our time there in the best way possible. Linda

Posted by
9115 posts

I would look on the museum's website and see what it says.

Also maybe Rick's book gives details of what is included there that could help guide your decision.

Posted by
2036 posts

The museum website has a section called Museum Spaces. I would check that and see what might appeal most. For kids, I think 2 hours in just about any museum is plenty. With my kids, they did best in museums earlier in the day, after a good breakfast, with the promise of ice cream afterwards. The highlight of the museum might be climbing on the cannons outside (if that’s even allowed anymore). I recall there is an exhibit of armor that was pretty interesting.

Posted by
13189 posts

Well, I have not taken kids there but one of MY favorite things is to see the Renault Taxi used to transport troops to the front lines for the Battle of the Marne.

There are lots of uniforms you can just walk past BUT there is an interesting outfit for horses in the desert that protected their eyes and noses. That is in the WWI section as well (according to the time stamp on my pictures). Also in the WWII section is a very cool bicycle in a case that was parachuted in to the resistance forces.

Posted by
4056 posts

Les Invalides was the first Paris museum we visited on our first visit to Paris in 2011 . If you consider the tomb as part of your two hour window , I would suggest some time in The WW II section . It would be closer to recent history for them than the First war or Franco Prussian sections . As you are aware , some preparatory exposure to the material will be highly advantageous . While there are tons of films on the subject , two that come to mind that might be suitable are - " The Longest Day " ( D Day invasion ) and " Casablanca " One other favorite for me is " Saving Private Ryan " , but that would likely be a major stretch for young children . Frankly , as fine a film as it is , I find quite difficult to watch . The most important concept for me is advance preparation for any place I visit , as it greatly enhances my experience on a visit .

Posted by
1026 posts

Another nod for the Musée des Plans-Reliefs.

It is very interesting to see the development of various French cities over the many years in 3D. Adjacent there is a wonderful collection of firearms through the centuries, although not as many from the past century. Elsewhere, the info on the individual battles are good depending on what you are watching, but come with a very pro-French bias to a fault (you would think the French army single-handedly crossed the English channel and took back France from the Germans all the way to Paris).

Posted by
32101 posts


Les Invalides is indeed a very large facility so it's a good idea to prioritize and see the locations that are of most interest to your group. I've been there several times and still haven't seen everything. I was most interested in more recent history, so concentrated on the WW-I and WW-II displays. The large chapel is beautiful and worth a quick look (IMO). There's not much to see at Napoleon's tomb but you could do a quick walkabout there. As I recall, there's one section devoted strictly to de Gaulle and as the last reply mentioned, I also found that the displays made it seem like de Gaulle was the only one that landed at Normandy, and won the entire campaign by himself.

Posted by
5804 posts

Believe we spent about two hours there back in 2015. We walked the entire museum but didn’t linger anyplace for very long.