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A crypt devoid of a roof
The architect Louis Visconti (1791-1853) was commissioned to build Napoleon’s tomb at Les Invalides. In 1843, he had a room with a diameter of 23 metres dug into the floor of the Dôme church at a depth of 6 metres. Unlike classic crypts, the crypt of the Dôme is devoid of a roof, allowing the tomb to be seen from the ground floor, by means of a balustrade. After Visconti’s death, the architects Jules Bouchet and Alphonse-Nicolas Crépinet finished the work. The crypt was inaugurated by Emperor Napoleon III in 1861. In the basement, a circular gallery houses ten marble bas-reliefs by the sculptor Pierre Charles Simart.
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