École militaire

The École Militaire, French for Military School is a massive complex of buildings in the 7th arrondissement of Paris. It houses several educational facilities purposefully dedicated to the military and also houses several military organizations and several institutes of higher learning, in military studies.

The École Militaire was founded back in1750 by Louis XV, the then ruling king of France. The goal was to create a learning center for cadets who were raised in poor families. Construction began two years later, and given the size of the school, coupled with some inconsistency in the funding, it was finalized in 1760, and this is when it opened. However, it started serving its true purpose in 1777 when it was renamed the School of Young Gentlemen. It trained noblemen who where either orphaned, or willed to become soldiers and had the desired characteristics. In 1784, the school enrolled Napoleon Bonaparte, though at this time it was unknown that he would become the future ruler. He trained for one year, becoming a lieutenant of Artillery.

Louis XV wanted the School to live long after he passed on, but it didn’t. In 1787, barely a decade after it was opened, it was closed. It didn’t serve much of a purpose after, until the French Revolution came around when it was used for storage of foodstuffs. Soon after, it was reconverted to a barracks. The Artillery was based there until 1814. Owing to the many different purposes that it used to serve, the size of the school was thought to be too small. An expansion plan began, and new buildings were constructed. This is what gave the École Militaire the vast look it has today.

Not long after the reconstructions finished, the school reverted back to its original purpose of military training in1878. When the center for Advanced Military studies was opened at the school in 1911, its purpose was even more strongly founded, and it has since trained officers, till today, when it still does.

The École Militaire was built at a time when classical architecture was very influential. Most buildings built in the 18th century are consistent with this style, and the Military School did not divert from this. The central building is especially well built with a lot of classical detail, from the large dome that is reminiscent of the Louvre to the Corinthian Columns that line its entryway. Even on the inside, the École Militaire still impresses. Some noteworthy places include the Library which has extensive woodwork and painted ceilings which date back to the 18th century. There were two places of worship, the Chapelle Saint-Louis and Rotunde Gabriel. They suffered damage during the French Revolution but were restored during the mid 1900s.

Presently, the École Militaire hosts the Joint Defense College and the Institute of Higher Studies of National Defense. They are both dedicated to higher military education, amongst the many others such as The Research Institute of Strategic Military School. The École Militaire headquarters all of France’s military education.