In 1670, Louis XIV - the Sun King - founded Les Invalides near what was then called the Grenelle Plain. An old soldiers home, it was funded by a five year levy on the salaries of soldiers currently serving in the army at that time. The first stones were laid in 1671, for what was to become a complex providing quarters for 4,000. Construction followed plans drawn up by Libéral Bruant, and was completed in 1676. The Esplandade was layed out by Robert de Cotte.Of course, I guess we have to include the Arc de Triompe:
The Triumphal Arch dates back to 1806, when Napoléon commissioned Chalgrin to build an arch to the glory of the French Army. Construction on the Arch began in 1806, restarted in 1825, and was not finished until 1836. The Arc de Triomphe is built on the model of ancient Triumphal Arches, but it stands alone because of its monumental size: 50 meters tall and 45 meters wide (164 by 148 feet).But then:
it was completed in time for Napoleon's hearse to pass beneath in 1840.In other words, Napoleon got a good view on his last journey. We should be so lucky.
It is something to ponder, this lack of grandiose architecture in the United States. Here we are a country with wealth beyond imagining, and we can't seem to build anything but starter castles. Oh, yes, there is the new Disney Auditorium in Los Angeles and the renovated Museum of Modern Art in New York. But these would be paltry memorials to the wealth that we have. Or do we? and they would crumble in a decent earthquake. Or, probably more likely go submarine.
As for Hitler's monumental architecture, we have this: