La Nuit Aux Invalides – The History of Paris Awaits

A photo of La Nuit Aux Invalides with the courtyard lit up with the show's projections.

People often ask how long it took me to see everything there is to see in Paris. This question always makes me smile, because honestly, it could take a lifetime to see everything in this beautiful city. I could visit every museum, walk through every park, and eat at every restaurant, and Paris would still find more for me to see. Case in point, it was only last summer that I discovered the spectacular La Nuit Aux Invalides. That being said, it quickly secured a spot on my list of annual traditions.

So what exactly is La Nuit Aux Invalides? Well, the short answer is that it’s a sound and light show projected onto the facade of Hotel des Invalides. But it’s so much more than that. It’s a nighttime spectacular that has state of the art lighting and video mapping technology, as well as a fully updated surround sound system. This year, the show will be projected onto all four walls of the building, meaning audiences will have a 360 degree viewing experience. All told, the screen will cover 5,000 square metres, so in terms of spectacle, the effect will be quite breathtaking.

But there’s more to this production than just technology. Last year, the show honoured the 100th anniversary of the armistice of 1918 and the end of World War I. It wove together a narrative of the Great War that was moving, beautiful, and informative. This year, the show is titled Lut├Ęce: 3,000 Years of History, and will chronicle the history of Paris from the founding of the city to present day. This is why I’m particularly excited about this year’s show. Naturally, the tour guide in me can’t wait to see the stories of Paris light up before my eyes.

Practical Information

La Nuit Aux Invalides runs Wednesday through Saturday night until August 30th. Tickets can be bought online or at the door, and you have the option of purchasing a seat or standing for the show. Personally, I bought a standing ticket last year and found a spot on the ground to sit and watch. That being said, the show runs for 45 minutes, so you may decide it’s worth it to splurge on a chair. Just a note, the show is narrated in French, but you can rent headsets to listen in either English or Spanish.

One last thing…

Have I sold you on this amazing night out yet? If not, I have one last card up my sleeve. This year, to celebrate 250 years since the birth of Napoleon, La Nuit Aux Invalides is offering the chance to tour the golden dome of Napoleon’s Tomb after the show. Meaning you’ll be visiting at night. Along a path lit with over 1,000 candles. Opportunities like this don’t come along very often, so I’ll see you there!

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Laura Moore is a professional storyteller who loves history and the many stories that make Paris one of the most fascinating cities in the world. Join one of her signature tours to learn the story of a city.