Visiting Napoleon

I’ve always been fascinated by Napoleon so I couldn’t miss the chance to visit his memorial. In death, as in life, Napoleon isn’t a man to do things by halves…

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When Napoleon died on St Helena on 5 May 1821 he was a broken, hated man. Less than two decades later, however, the tide of public opinion had changed and Napoleon’s dying wish to be buried ‘on the banks of the Seine’ was granted posthumously. His body was brought to the Hotel des Invalides where it now rests in grandeur in a cocoon of six (six!) coffins under a golden dome.

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As a lover of history (with a B.A. and M.A. to prove it!) I’ve always been fascinated by Napoleon. He ruled an empire that covered most of continental Europe for a decade but the lasting impact of his short reign has left him a pivotal figure in history. It’s unsurprising then that the size of his memorial is reflective of the grandeur of his reign.

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Considering Napoleon’s physical size I think we can all agree this is a bit…much ^

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After taking in the glory of the final resting place of France’s most famous leader, we explored the Hotel which includes a church and an army museum.

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Everyone say ‘cheese’!

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They are also currently hosting a special exhibition about the final years of Napoleon’s life on St Helena which showcased the threadbare possessions that filled the few rooms his final years were confined to.

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It was fascinating to see how far Napoleon fell but knowing now how he rose again in death I’m sure he would agree it was all worth it.

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