The Abbey of Saint-Acheul was a monastery of Canons Regular in Amiens. It was founded in the 11th century on the site of an ancient church, and was suppressed in 1790 during the French Revolution. The buildings, which date to the 18th century, were taken over by a college that was entrusted to the Jesuits in 1814. They are now occupied by the private Lycée Saint-Riquier. The abbey church is used as a parish church.
An ancient church named Notre Dame des Martyrs, known as the first cathedral of Amiens, was founded in memory of Saint Firmin the Martyr. Later it became part of the Abbey of Notre Dame de Saint-Acheul. Modern historians have debated when and by whom the church was founded, but Bishop Rorico of Amiens (c. 1081–85) was confident that it was the oldest Christian building in Amiens.
The crypt under the church contains ancient tombs and bas-reliefs. It was discovered on 10 January 1697 during construction of a foundation for the main altar in the church. The monks claimed they had found the body of Saint Firmin, and said the relics in the Amiens Cathedral were not authentic. After lengthy controversy the relics in the cathedral were opened on 10 January 1715 and the 13th century inscriptions were taken to prove their authenticity. The vault of the 11th century church collapsed in 1751 and all the buildings were completely rebuilt in 1760. During the revolution the church became the parish church for the districts of La Neuville and Boutillerie. Under the Terror it was changed into stables. It was again made a parish church in 1844.
The church has a classical sober stone architecture. The interior has a 'Jesuit' style. The facade has a large door surrounded by pilasters with Tuscan-style capitals. Higher up a bay and niches are arranged between pilasters with Doric capitals that support the triglyphic entablature, on which there is a triangular pediment. Under the choir there is a vault in the place where the body of Saint Firmin was miraculously discovered. The church holds several sarcophagi and 15th century bas-reliefs relating to the history of Saint Firmin.References:
Les Invalides is a complex of buildings containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building"s original purpose. The buildings house the Musée de l"Armée, the military museum of the Army of France, the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, and the Musée d"Histoire Contemporaine, as well as the burial site for some of France"s war heroes, notably Napoleon Bonaparte.
Louis XIV initiated the project in 1670, as a home and hospital for aged and unwell soldiers: the name is a shortened form of hôpital des invalides. The architect of Les Invalides was Libéral Bruant. The enlarged project was completed in 1676, the river front measured 196 metres and the complex had fifteen courtyards. Jules Hardouin Mansart assisted the aged Bruant, and the chapel was finished in 1679 to Bruant"s designs after the elder architect"s death.
Shortly after the veterans" chapel was completed, Louis XIV commissioned Mansart to construct a separate private royal chapel referred to as the Église du Dôme from its most striking feature. Inspired by St. Peter"s Basilica in Rome, the original for all Baroque domes, it is one of the triumphs of French Baroque architecture. The domed chapel is centrally placed to dominate the court of honour. It was finished in 1708.
Because of its location and significance, the Invalides served as the scene for several key events in French history. On 14 July 1789 it was stormed by Parisian rioters who seized the cannons and muskets stored in its cellars to use against the Bastille later the same day. Napoleon was entombed under the dome of the Invalides with great ceremony in 1840. In December 1894 the degradation of Captain Alfred Dreyfus was held before the main building, while his subsequent rehabilitation ceremony took place in a courtyard of the complex in 1906.
The building retained its primary function of a retirement home and hospital for military veterans until the early twentieth century. In 1872 the musée d"artillerie (Artillery Museum) was located within the building to be joined by the Historical Museum of the Armies in 1896. The two institutions were merged to form the present musée de l"armée in 1905. At the same time the veterans in residence were dispersed to smaller centres outside Paris. The reason was that the adoption of a mainly conscript army, after 1872, meant a substantial reduction in the numbers of veterans having the twenty or more years of military service formerly required to enter the Hôpital des Invalides. The building accordingly became too large for its original purpose. The modern complex does however still include the facilities detailed below for about a hundred elderly or incapacitated former soldiers.