Monday, March 2, 2015

Bicentennial of Napoleon's Return From Elba

Napoleon leaving Elba
This year marks the bicentennial of the  return of Napoleon Bonaparte to France after nine  months of exile on the Island of Elba, off the coast of Tuscany, that was  imposed by a European coalition of nations.  All through the year, there will be commemoration of this important event that marked French history.

Route Napoleon
On March 1, 1815 Napoleon  landed on the shore of  Golf Juan (on the coast of the French Riviera).  In the next  20 days,  accompanied by a thousand of his loyal men he secretly made his way up  north  to Paris going through  the Alps and avoiding arrest by the troupes of restored King Louis XVIII.   They advanced on horseback, mule-back and on foot during the day and bivouacked at night in places like  Mougins, Grasse, Castellane, Sisteron and Gap . Today this scenic mountain road is known as "Route Napoleon" and runs 331 km from the Mediterranean coast to Grenoble crossing the mountains of Hautes Alpes and Isere.

Napoleon returned triumphantly to  Paris on March 20 displacing  the reigning king.  His  return to power will only last a hundred days until his defeat at Waterloo  and his subsequent abdication on June 22 .  The Emperor was once again sent to exile,  this time in faraway Saint  Helena, an island on the Atlantic Ocean and over 1000 miles from the coast of Africa.  He was  never to return to France alive.

A program of commemorations including re-enactments will take place in the different locales where  Napoleon stopped on his journey  back to Paris.  For a custom itinerary retracing the footsteps of the Emperor contact Enchanted France.

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