Palais Augarten was constructed in the late 17th century by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach on the site of a hunting château and gardens. In 1780 this palace came into the possession of Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor. Until the beginning of the twentieth century it remained in the possession of the Habsburg family. During this period, and especially in the nineteenth century, many balls were held in the palace, and a salon was opened. Among the guests at that time were Richard Wagner, Franz Liszt, and Hans Makart.
The greatest ball in the Palais Augarten took place on the occasion of the Viennese World's Fair of 1873; among the guests were Emperor Francis Joseph I and Czar Alexander II of Russia. In 1897 the palace was significantly remodelled for the family of Archduke Otto, the nephew of Emperor Francis Joseph.
Despite extensive damage suffered during World War II, the palace has been maintained almost in its original appearance, and many of the original furnishings can still be found there. Today, Palais Augarten is the home and rehearsal space of the Vienna Boys' Choir, who also have their own school there. The palace is located on 130-acre Augarten park, which is the oldest Baroque garden in Vienna.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.