L’hôtel des Invalides
I’ve been requested by nami64 to do something about Louis XIV, so here it is:
Until the 17th century, no special structure existed to welcome invalid soldiers. In 1670, Louis XIV decided the creation the hôtel des Invalides to take care of his veterans. The first pensionnaries arrived in 1674 and at the end of the 17th century, it welcomed around 4000 soldiers.
The building of the Invalides wasn’t only a gesture of charity and justice but also a political move from Louis XIV. It encouraged the recruitement of volunteers, it increased the symbolical presence of the King in Paris - a city Louis XIV didn’t trust since the rebellion of the Fronde -, and it participated to the public safety policy by imprisoning the “gueux”.
The Invalides had three vocations: military, social, and hospital. The “hôtel royal” was one of the first barraks built in France: the pensionnaries wore an uniform, were organised in companies, and respected the discipline. The religious dimension of the institution is embodied by the church, located in the axe of the “cour d’honneur” in front of the entrance. Twelve fathers from the congration of the Mission were in charge of the cultual activities.
Thirty daughters of Charity from the Saint Lazare faubourg had all authority on the hospital and its hundred of beds. It was modern for its time: it was warmed in winter, each invalid got his own bed. In general, the hôtel offered good living conditions for its lodgers. Said lodgers could also work and creat shoes, tapestries, socks…
The reputation of the Invalides quickly grew. The demand of admissions exceeded the 1,500 places planned at the moment of the building. Foreign leaders visited the institution and tried to copy the model for their own veterans.