The bi-centenary of Napoleon’s landing in Golfe-Juan on his return from exile on Elba will take place on Saturday 28th February to Sunday 1st March, 2015 in the Côte d’Azur, France. Golfe-Juan entered the history books when Napoleon landed here and, after a short rest in this “land of the brave”, he declared, “Victory will march at the pas de charge, the eagle fly, in the national colours from steeple to steeple until it alights on the towers of Notre-Dame”. This proclamation inspired fear in the hearts of the crowned heads of Europe throughout the One Hundred Day campaign. His march was commemorated in 1932 becoming known as the “Route Napoleon”, the first ever French tourist route of an historical nature. Plans include a re-enactment of the landing with actors, Napoleonic troops, weapons and campaign equipment and the town and all of its activities will take on an imperial flavour.
Historical background: Napoleon, sensing that France was still profoundly favourable to him and swayed by the situation prevailing in the country and threats weighing on his life, decided to return to French soil in 1815 and reclaim his throne. France was split in two by King Louis XVIII’s Charter of 1814 and, especially, governmental measures: facing the Royalists, the great majority of the French people were indebted to the Revolution, which had given rise to Napoleon. The Emperor’s return from the Isle of Elba interrupted the fierce struggle tearing France apart.
Two proclamations circulated in France. They called for an uprising against the Bourbon rulers and the Émigrés’ white flag. In his proclamation to the Army, Napoleon declared: “Soldiers: in my exile I have heard your voice; I have come back in spite of all obstacles, and all dangers. Your General, called to the throne by the choice of the people, and raised on your shields, is restored to you; come and join him.” And also: “Victory shall march at a charging step; the Eagle, with the national colours, shall fly from steeple to steeple, till it reaches the towers of Notre Dame.”
After 20 days, the Eagle reached Paris without a single gunshot having been fired. Landing on 1 March 1815 in Golfe-Juan with over a thousand men, Napoleon headed for Grenoble on the Route of the Alps to avoid the Royalist populations in the Rhône Valley. Thus, he crossed Provence, indifferent, or rather unresponsive until Sisteron, although the first demonstrations in his favour were observed after he left Saint-Vallier. As he crossed the Dauphiné, he was greeted with enthusiasm until Laffrey. There, the troops sent by King Louis XVIII were waiting to arrest him.
The soldiers, hearing the Emperor’s first words, rallied to his cause and preceded him in his triumphal march to Paris. On entering Grenoble, on 7 March, in his own words, the adventurer was once again a Prince. He continued on to Paris, joined by many nostalgic soldiers and growing support from the people. He was returned to power on 20 March and held it for a “Hundred days” until 22nd June 1815.
Defeated at Waterloo and forsaken by the Chamber, he was forced to abdicate once again on 22nd June 1815, in favour of his son, and went into exile on Saint Helena, where he died on 5th May 1821. Created, in 1930, Route Napoléon retraces of this historic saga. Click here for Napoleon’s itinerary from 1st to 7th March 1815.
Events and celebrations: Many events are scheduled throughout 2015, including an historical re-enactment of Napoleon’s landing in Golfe-Juan on the weekend of 28th February, the ride of the reenactors of the 1st Polish Regiment from Golfe-Juan to Grenoble on Napoleon’s trail from 1st to 7th March 2015.
There will also be sporting events, such as horse treks, cycling races, rally races. Finally, all year, re-enactments of bivouacs, exhibitions, film screenings, theatre, demonstrations of First-Empire dances, concerts, lectures and debates, sound-and-light shows will be organised in towns and villages. In March 2015, Parfumerie Galimard will introduce a brand-new perfume named Napoleon 2015.
CRT Côte d’Azur Tourisme is a client of Magellan PR. Follow them on Twitter @ and on Facebook/Côte d’Azur Tourisme.
Contributor Alexandra Pinhorn.
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