Open hours
The École Militaire can be visited only during the European Heritage Days, the third weekend of September. Visits are free. The rest of the time the Ecole militaire cannot be visited.


  • Métro - Line 8 - Station École Militaire
  • RER - Line C - Station Champ de Mars - Tour Eiffel
  • Bus - 28, 69, 82, 92

École Militaire

21 place Joffre
75007 Paris

Coordinates Latitude Longitude
Sexagesimal (°, ', ") 48° 51′ 09″ N 2° 18′ 13″ E
Degré décimal (GPS) 48.851549 2.301948
Full description

The Paris Military Academy (Ecole Militaire of Paris) imposes its impressive facade, at the end of the Champ-de-Mars park, in the 7th district of Paris. Built from 1751 under the reign of Louis XV (1710-1774), it now groups together the organizations of higher military education. It is only visited once a year, on the 3rd weekend of September, on the occasion of the Heritage Days.

On one of the most beautiful perspectives of Paris

The Ecole Militaire is located on the Trocadero-Breteuil axis, which starts at the Palais de Chaillot, crosses the Iéna bridge et le Champ-de-Mars to end at the Place de Breteuil. Surrounded by the Eiffel Tower and the UNESCO headquarters, the school, a masterpiece of classical architecture of the 18th century, stands out in the heart of the capital. And its history is like the symbol of the Army-Nation bond.

The Paris Military Academy at one end of the Champ-de-Mars Park

The Ecole Militaire is an institution of higher military education founded in 1750 by King Louis XV and still in operation. It is also the set of buildings built to receive it. Its architect was Ange-Jacques Gabriel. It closes the south-eastern perspective of the Champ-de-Mars, where the annual review of the troops was held on July 14, which was later moved to the Champs-Élysées. It is classified as a historical monument since 1990.

The Paris Military Academy, and the student Napoleon Bonaparte

By the edict of January 1751, King Louis XV founded the institution for the education of five hundred young noble men born without fortune. At the end of their schooling (in other provincial military schools), admission to the Royal Military School of Paris was by a national competitive examination.

Napoleon Bonaparte and future Napoleon 1st was first a pupil at the military school of Brienne 1779-1784 (between 10 and 15 years old) and then, through an entrance examination, at the Military School of Paris (1784-1785).
There he distinguished himself in mathematics, not at all in modern languages, moreover not very good in French. He had a strong Corsican accent which he never lost. On February 24, 1785, his father Charles Bonaparte died of stomach cancer in atrocious suffering. In September, he passed the school, leaving examination, questioned by the mathematician Pierre-Simon de Laplace, he was judged fit to be assigned to a naval regiment, but Napoleon's mother opposed it, and he was finally integrated into an artillery regiment.
He receives his order of assignment, as second lieutenant, to the artillery regiment of La Fère, then garrisoned in Valence, which he joins on November 3, 1785, at the age of 16. It was just 2 years before the closure of the Ecole Militaire de Paris. This was also the starting point of his military career.

The chaotic start of the Paris Military Academy

But as is often the case, funding is becoming a growing concern. In 1760, the King had already decided that the institution should be divided between the Military School of Paris and the Collège Royal de la Flèche (200 km south-west of Paris), which made the initial major project obsolete. However, on July 5, 1768, the King came to lay the first stone of the chapel of Saint Louis de l'Ecole and in 1780, the work of the Ecole Militaire was completed.

But seven years after its completion, on October 9, 1787, the Military Academy of Paris was closed. The transfer of the Hôtel-Dieu (Hospital) is planned. In the end, the move never took place. The buildings were then left abandoned and looted during the Revolution (1789). The building went through turbulent years during which it was used as a depot, then as a barracks, notably for Napoleon's Imperial Guard, under the names of Military School Barracks, Imperial Barracks, and Grenadiers Barracks.

The rebirth of the Paris Military Academy under the name of War academy

It was only at the end of the nineteenth century that the Paris Military Academy returned to its primary vocation: teaching. In 1878, the "École supérieure de guerre" (War Academy) was opened within its walls. Then, in 1911, the Centre des Hautes Etudes Militaires was established. Since then, it has continued to train officers.

The "Ecole Militaire Supérieure" today and the selection of students

Students do not enter the Ecole Supérieure Militaire de Paris directly. The 150 to 200 senior officers join it each year at the end of a particularly selective process. All of them have successfully assumed operational and command responsibilities in their home armies during the first part of their careers. They are joined by 80 to 100 foreign trainees, who account for about one-third of the class.

The "Ecole Militaire de Paris" or the higher military education bodies of France

The Ecole Militaire brings together: the Center for Advanced Military Studies (CHEM), the War College, the Institute of Strategic Research of the Military School (IRSEM), and the Command Doctrine and Teaching Center for the Army (CDEC) including on-site the War College - Land (EDG-T), the Higher Military Scientific and Technical Education (EMSST) and the Higher School of Reserve Officers Staff Specialists (ESORSEM).

The site of the Academy also houses two national institutes, the Institute for Advanced National Defense Studies (IHEDN) and the National Institute for Advanced Security and Justice Studies (INHESJ), as well as the Higher Council for Strategic Training and Research (CSRFS).

Since its inauguration in 2009, the Military School's Documentation Center (CDEM) is also located here, which has the particularity of having an autonomous entrance on Avenue de Suffren.

The building also houses several services of the central administration of the Ministry of Defense, including the Delegation for Information and Communication of Defense (DICoD), the General Secretariat of the Conseil supérieur de la Fonction Militaire (CSFM), as well as the support group of the Paris École Militaire defense base, in charge of logistical support for the entire site. In all, there are 55 organizations with a total of 3,000 people.

Architecture and distribution of the "Ecole Militaire"

The frontage of the facade of the central pavilion

Above the trophies that frame the Louis XV coat of arms: on the left, one can see "Victory", represented in the features of Louis XV dressed in the ancient style, and "France" symbolized by a woman draped in the ancient style. On the right, one can observe "Peace", with a vigilant rooster at its feet, standing beside "Strength", incarnated by Hercules: these statues are the work of Louis-Philippe Mouchy. The two bas-reliefs "Time" and "Astronomy" which frame the clock are by Jean-Pierre Pigalle.

The Castle and the main courtyard

The central part of the Military School is called "the Castle". It is distinguished by its quadrangular dome inspired by the architecture of the Louvre.

From the Revolution to the Commune of 1871

Theater of history, the School keeps discreet traces of historical events within its walls.

Salon known as "des Maréchaux". It became the office of Bonaparte, who set up his headquarters in the school in 1795, after having been a student there ten years earlier.

There is also a bullet, in the mirror, fired by General Douay's troops, when they took over the school from the Federates during the Commune in 1871.

In 1895, the Morland court was the scene of the military degradation of Captain Dreyfus, then accused of treason. He will be rehabilitated in the Desjardins court on July 13, 1906.

Two centuries of service

Outside, in the main courtyard, one can admire a clock made by Jean-André Lepaute, framed by a bare-breasted young woman showing the time, which tradition brings closer to Madame de Pompadour, and a barefoot old woman holding a book, which would symbolize the Study. Even today, the maintenance is carried out by the Lepaute company, 235 years after the clock was installed.

The Saint-Louis Chapel of the Military School.

In honor of Saint Louis, patron saint of armies. It was ransacked during the Revolution and unused for a long time, except as a military clothing store and as a ballroom for the second anniversary of Napoleon's coronation. The chapel was restored in 1952. Finally, the chapel houses an astonishing treasure in its basement: a crypt containing the remains in an oak coffin by Pâris Duverney, the founder of the Military School and Secretary of Finance of Louis XV.

The library

The heritage library of the Ecole Militaire located in "le Château". In the reading room, one can notice carved woodwork and ceilings long attributed to the Flemish Jacob Verbeeckt, paintings by Pierre-François Cozette, marble fireplaces in the Louis XVI style. One of the period mirrors shows two bullet holes dating from the fighting of August 25, 1944, at the end of the 2nd World War.

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  • July 23, 2024 11:16 pm local time

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