French history is full of great figures and one of the most impressive is probably Napoleon. Every historian seems to have his own perception of Napoleon’s life: some will say he was an ambitious tyran while others will see in him a real hero. Visiting his tombs in the Invalides will give more questions than answers however.
After more than 10 years of power, Napoleon was finally defeated in 1815 and was sent to Saint Helena in the middle of the Pacific Ocean where he died the 5th may 1821. There is still some questions about the criconstances of his deaths. The two main mysteries that are still today unsolved are the exact cause of his death and the body that was sent back to France in 1840. Some international historians and scientists strongly believe that Napoleon was slowly poisoned with arsenic during his stay in Saint Helena. Other ones believe that the body recovered was too well conserved to be the one of Napoleon 19 years after his death. These two theories are today among the biggest debates on french history. It could be easy to solve these mysteries by opening Napoleon’s tomb and making DNA analysis. Yet, officials never gave the required authorisation for such analysis.
The tomb is nevertheless massive and definitly impressive. You will also find the tomb of L’Aiglon, the son of Napoleon, who died in Austria. You will be probably surprised to know that it was Adolf Hitler who decided to send back the remains of the son to his father in 1940. Hitler was indeed fascinated by Napoleon.
The tomb itself is surrounded by the names one of the major military victories of the emperor, and representations of his greatests civilian achievements. But the most enigmatic features of these symbols, are probably the solennel statues fixing, for centuries now, the tomb.