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Living authentic Route Napoleon, Golfe-Juan to Saint-Vallier


The Napoleon Route begins at the island of Elba.
By 'Road' we mean in effect the route taken by the Emperor in February-March 1815, when he enlisted in the most daring, the most mindless and best thought, however, companies never incurred by the great figures of history.
The track was initially maritime which Portoferraio led him to the Gulf de Jouan; He landed at «Gabelles», then humble district of the commune of Vallauris, located between Cannes, modest town of three thousand souls in 1815 and Antibes, then respectable forte defended by walls and fortifications.
Thus, the adventure began on the sea.
It was normal that a book wanting to revive said epic discusses this crossing which, perhaps more than the terrestrial part, demanded all the qualities that showed Napoleon I to complete his bet, inconceivable for any other than himself, to go to the capital without shedding a drop of blood.
And it is just as normal as in the second part of Golfe-Juan to Digne, we do the difficulties encountered by these hundreds of men following their "charismatic" General blindness.
We will be helped in this research by what participants in the first two editions of the Raid giant Napoleon lived in 1992 and 1993, as well as by the replenishment, ter March 1993 and the following days of the ride legendary by the cavaliers Parisian's «10th Squadron"which had the 'chance' to test their physical, psychic and moral resistance in weather conditions near those of March 1815.

Live the route Napoléon

There is several ways to write on the road that followed the emperor...
But the most interesting is not to live this imperial in the ourselves living way as they experienced it. Sailing first, then walking for long hours each day and sore in every muscle to fall sleep. We will think so strongly this thousand men cannot that doze four or five lean hours per night to leave on the threshold of a new long, hard day. And the privileged few with a horse were hardly better off...
The road to 1815, de Grasse at Digne, was obviously different but also distinct from the current Route Napoléon. It was abandoned, but many stretches, yet passable on foot or on horseback, remain.
Find this old road, describe what it was and the State of the cities and villages crossed like the beauty of a Nature of exception will relive the epic by a leap in time bringing us the indispensable knowledge...
And we will launch a cry of hope for the resurrection of a charged path of history and beauty.
Chapter 1: May 3, 1814 – February 26, 1815, the island of Elba
Know what has made the Emperor in Elba during the ten months where he is "ruled" we allow to understand the reasons that led him to undertake the most extraordinary of winbacks? ...
But to investigate its activities during those ten months «elbains» will prove that at age 45 Napoleon I remained an extraordinary Organizer, a tireless worker, a military leader at the height of his genius.
April 17, 1814, while waiting to ship to Portoferraio, Napoleon wrote of Fréjus to his wife Marie-Louise:
"I chose the Elbe considering the softness of the customs of its inhabitants and the kindness of the climate."
Although these explanations are acceptable, but are they the only ones? Because depart for Elba is not away too much of the France... It is May 3 that "abdicated" Emperor reached Portoferraio aboard the English corvette "Undaunted". He is accompanied by the English Commissioners, Campbell, and Austrian, Keller. Russian and Prussian Commissioners have, meanwhile, preferred to stay in Fréjus. May 4 at 3: 30 p.m. Napoleon I arrives. The entire island is here! ... or almost. Marcello Ferrari wrote in his "Napoleone e Elba" '... to welcome him, the highest civilian and military authorities, representatives of the clergy and the mayors of the municipalities the largest surrounded by a huge crowd came from all parts of the island.
And already a first story: the Mayor of Portoferraio, Tarditi, wants to offer the key to the city to shown arriving. However this key does not exist! He then Brown that his cellar, that Napoleon makes him, praying to keep it with care...

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The Elbois luck

The Elbois have understood that this is a huge chance for them.
Until the year 1814, Elba is indeed shared between several powers. Now their island will be that of a single ruler. And what sovereign! The greatest the world has known since Charlemagne, even Jules Caesar or Alexander. And ten months will suffice in the new 'Protector' of the island to build, promulgate, administer for the benefit of his new subjects.
These ten months date the start of the island. Immediately after his arrival there is the problem of a principal residence; This will be the 'Villa dei Mulini' whose restoration work begin immediately, which forced him to establish his camp in the garden. A first necessity appears: furnish this small Palace. Will be without hesitation to parents who owe him well. Ten soldiers are sent to Piombino collect furniture in this Imperial Palace that Elise has just abandoned... and this will then tour the prince Borghèse, husband of Pauline furniture, virtually confiscated during its transport from Genoa to Rome.
These hardware problems fortunately resolved, Napoleon "administers" immediately its domain. The "mining" of Rio nell'Elba Elba receives his visit.
The administrator, Pons de l ' Hérault, presents a crate containing 200,000 francs (10,000 gold coins!) but by an Imperial Act of 1809, this money belongs to the Legion of honor, that respects the Emperor proving his extreme honesty in a time when there still need funds. A horse, tireless, it traverses the island in all directions.
Discovering the site of San Martino, he created his 'secondary residence'... by buying a small House that he had immediately. Napoleon will perform acts and conduct a life allowing us to find answers to some questions... So...Missed affection to the Palazzo dei Mulini? Have led to retreat from power? Or: folded to the wishes of its winners?

Facts and assumptions

To answer the first question we will use certified facts. Pauline, his sister favorite, starting June 1 and Letizia, Madam-mother, from August, will share his exile; Marie Waleska accompanied by 'their' son (who will one day Minister of Napoleon III) will keep his imperial lover company during too short visit. And more uncertain facts such as these "diverse avventure sia conforestiere che con ragazze del luogo" (Marcello Ferrari, cited opus).
We will note, however, that his meeting with Marie Waleska will be shortened at the initiative of the sovereign. It was hoped the arrival of Marie-Louise and their son.He hoped them until directs for Waleska to leave the island in appalling weather conditions. The love of Napoleon for Empress is still great in September 1814. Unless he thinks to his son, the King of Rome, this son he so desired and for obtaining which he repudiated the woman of his life. Seek, now elements providing an answer to the second question, was retired from power?
Significant facts abound; We find them described in the excellent "Napoleone e Elba" Marcello Ferrari. Both for the military defence of the island for its economic and commercial development, it is necessary to endow it road worthy of the name. A road is therefore projected from Portoferraio to different directions: Marciana, Langone, Lacona... Marcello Ferrari adds: "even today, for having been the initiator of a transaction as important, his name is linked to the viability of the island." Is this concern to an economic expansion that the guide when he again became a conqueror?
The last days of may, less than a month after his arrival (!), it does occupy the uninhabited island of Pianosa, since 1806, with his men and the islet of Palmaiola. Pianosa is equipped with a military garrison to the orders of Commander Gottmann. This responds to the third question, because these occupations are of importance: Napoleon could cause a diplomatic incident with Campbell, i.e. with England. And this for ten square kilometres... We can see, certainly, the desire to create an attic for Elba but more a way to test the English response... As confirmed by the occupation of the islet of Palmaiola, when we know that his only interest is strategic and it will be equipped with a battery of guns at a time where "a gun to Earth is a sea angling boat".
These two occupations of Islands we retain that Napoleon continues to think and act in strategist. Also, what is the best explanation of the "hundred days".
In the year 1814, it organizes the Administration of the island featuring the head of departments its more brave companions: Bertrand indoors, Drouot to war and Peyrusse finance.
And major projects are underway despite the little money available, ranging from a better exploitation of the quarries of granite to viticulture (32 million of foot) through the development of the silk industry.

Organization of the island

And he organized the island! Organization military, administrative, financial, health... it creates a 'Jury of medicine' to eliminate many charlatans of the island... ensure to improve the hygiene of its capital, Portoferraio, up to create a "tax of cleanliness" none of our current environmentalists had imagined!
Organization of the judiciary, yet! It creates a Supreme Court and a Court of appeal, among other innovations... And it will include the sadness of the inhabitants of Elba, February 26 in the evening, when, gathered on the same docks ten months previously, they understand that they never meet similar sovereign.
But at the bottom of themselves, they realize that their island is too small Kingdom for such a man...

Chapter 2: The men of the epic

Know the authentic way cannot go without knowledge (necessarily highly incomplete) men who almost blindly followed their emperor in winback.
We therefore suggest to the reader the list of soldiers of the Imperial Guard which followed Napoleon I to Elba in 1814.
At Fontainebleau they jostled to, volunteers! And 20,000 is not retained in only a few hundred. Now we know the names of the chosen. «Napoléon Ier et la Garde Impériale» Eugene Fernandez (edited by smoked son in 1859) gives us the list of the military House and battalions on the island of Elba with the emperor.
This gives 885 men, counting the grand marshal of the Palace, Bertrand, the Governor of the island, Drouot, and general Cambronne. There will be among these men some deserters, fort few, in truth, and magnanimous Napoleon will be shot (penalty time) No. These 885 names include those who follow their emperor during the hundred days.
«Elbains» will join to them, 26 February 1815?
We have not found in path. On the other hand, Napoleon will leave a small part of his troupe in Elbe to keep the island but also her mother and sister...
We will follow Marcello Ferrari when he writes: "Napoleone partiva dall'Elba per riconquistare la Francia con sette bastimenti sui quali erano imbarcati 500-600 uomini, che cannone e pochi cavalli.".
The names of these men appear in the following list.
They will go to the Gulf of Jouan, Vallauris, Cannes, Grasse, Castellane, Digne, Gap, Grenoble, Lyon, Paris and... Waterloo! We will think them, with emotion, by browsing the way authentic, Napoleon...
Composition of the military House of Napoleon

At the island of Elba

Division generals. -Bertrand grand marshal of the Palace: Drouot. Governor of the island of Elba.
Brigadier General. -Cambronne.
Senior officers. -Jerzmanowski, colonel of the Lancers, Commander of Porto Longone; Ambrosi, Odumosu, Paccioni, colonels; Gag, Deschamps, battalion chiefs, soldiers of the Palace; Roule, squadron leader, aide-de-camp. Paris, Philippi, Colombani Joseph, Benedettini, Paoli, battalion leaders.
Captains. -Labersere, Colombani, Vinciguerra, Frediani, Arrighi, Peretti, Bastelien, Rossi, Rigo, Belluzzi, Susini, Raffalli, Guelfueci, Fossi, Rizzardi, Vantini, Andreani, Salvini, Bertrand, Simon, Salicetti, Fantoni, Moltedo, Cormeau, Casabianca, Salaam, Fortini, broker, Demonte.
Lieutenants. -Larabit, Toscani, Brazelli, Amy, Bozio, Vitaliani, Matta, Buttafoco, Farinole, Gabrielli, Fabiani, Virgili, Negrone.

Chapter 3: Sunday 26 February - Wednesday 1 March 1815, Elba Island - Golfe-Juan

As we find logbook of one of seven boats of the flotilla! Because knowledge of the authentic path can go without the sea route that followed the emperor at the start of Elba.
We will be satisfied, so what wrote, in 1830, the Knight d'Ornano Cuneo, eyewitness and son of the commandant of the place of Antibes who dared to resist Napoleon.
We will also use our including personal experience through the Raid giant Napoleon and more precisely that part of this Raid comprised by the Elbe-Golfe Juan of June 1993 regatta.
So take that wrote Cuneo of Geeta: 'February 26, 1815 is fixed for the departure of the small army of elban. In the morning, nothing sweating again; at noon, the drum calls to arms... Napoleon assembles the chefs de corps and ordered to immediately ship all troops on buildings that it refers to them.
These buildings are seven: the Brig 'the Inconstant"twenty guns, commanded by Commander Chandra, the schooner 'The Star' and «La Petite Spronara», all two armies at war by captains Rishon and Gualanti, three polaccas of Rio, used for the carriage of ore... under the command of officers of marine Pulicani, Basteliga and Bartolani;the seventh was a French bombard... that the headwinds had forced to release in Portoferraio... (Napoleon provides in the day) to all that viewing the security and the administration of the island of Elba, he embraces a mother and a sister cherished... and dashing into the boat that awaits him at the shore, in 9 hours and a half (read 9: 30 pm) he arrives aboard the Brig; "at 10.00 (read 22 h) is put to sail...".
So much for the composition of the fleet and the time of departure.

Ships of Napoleon

Our goal now is to find the route of the seven buildings.
From Portoferraio, two options are presented from the island of Capraia can be left to starboard, passing to the South, or to port if a Cape to the North.
At our regatta Elbe - Golfe Juan, under the Raid giant Napoleon, we in June 1993 selected the option we passing South of Capraia, which leads us back then, "to the almost", along the Cape of Corsica, before finding a 25 knot wind, at height of the Giraglia. We passed the lighthouse around midnight, being left at noon on the island of Elba; It is true that we had stayed becalmed against Capraia part of the afternoon. In the night, around an hour, we could still see the black mass of Capraia to starboard... It will then be high tide, and then the Gulf of Genoa, out of sight of any side. The Sunrise is still a renaissance with the return of the Sun... the sea more than on Earth. Then it will be both the fall of the wind, a great calm on the water and the occasional arrival of birds, small, fragile and very tired. One of them, kind of tit, arise on the shoulder of our coxswain. The continued absence of wind lengthen the day, thankfully enlivened by a stunning ballet of dolphins. They are there by the dozens, approaching us, playing, passing under the hull, jumping out of the water, alone or couples. One of them gave us the supreme number; right out of the water, he stood a few seconds in equilibrium by the sole action of its tail flying the sea with force. Cabot with it! On board, we had one mind; "to do something for them! And combating the drift nets, among other...
This road which was ours had not been that of 1815.

Collected words of Cuneo d'Ornano

Cuneo d'Ornano reading will tell us with enough precision and we will admit it because because of its position at the time of the hundred days, d'Ornano was the means to collect information from releasing in Antibes and who participated in the historic crossing sailors;
Let us therefore at the outset of the island; He wrote:
"No one knows where it is going. The captain of the Brig has order to govern Northern and the commanders of transportation have received sealed instructions that they should open only the day after their departure. "Small Spronara" serves as a discovery. All crews are convinced that we will disembark at Piombino... where it is satisfied that one must go further as soon as it exceeded Cap della Via which faces the port... "As lessons in these few lines! They give us precisely the option chosen by the emperor. Indeed, if it governs to the North, leaving the Portoferraio roadstead, we put virtually Cape Town on Livorno, making longer Elba Island and as long as it has not exceeded the Capo Vita, can believe that we are going to Piombino.
We will post a slight error committed by Cuneo d'Ornano who writes in passing "Cape dalla Via" while it's Capo Vita located well in the front of Piombino. They have therefore set sail for Livorno, which puts the fleet very East of Capraia and informs us about the option chosen by Napoleon. Following the story of the Knight will be still very useful for us: "... the next day, in the morning, the veil of mystery is torn. Each Captain building opens and reads his sealed order. He wore that each transport should navigate away from the waters of the Brig, without however losing it from view, to not show the appearance of a convoy and that the general meeting was in Frejus."


This passage tells us how they sailed in order to not get lost from view while appearing not grouped into fleet. And we think the navigation difficulties it had to behave for the captains. By comparison, during our 1993 regatta, differences very important will appear between the first and fifth. The first who made the crossing in about twenty hours, the latest in nearly forty hours! While the differences between sailing ships were far less important than between a brick and a bomb or a pinque
Furthermore, we learn that the avowed aim is Fréjus.
In accordance with the vow of Chandra Capraia Island thanks to the "South wind" which has "accelerated the fleet market' has doubled in the night Following the story of Cuneo d'Ornano is interesting. We are on Monday, February 27, 1815, in the morning and Cuneo writes in this regard:
«We see then an English corvette out of the port of Livorno and run lined South...»
This is an important clarification. Being passed to the East of Capraia, they then left on port island of Gorgon which allowed them to see a building out of the port of Livorno.
They are then, approximately, the scene where took place, in 1284, the terrible battle of the Meloria, Pisa to Genoa, the victory of the latter while ensuring its dominance on the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Western Mediterranean, including Corsica. D'ornon Cuneo says, about the English corvette: "it recognizes that mounted by colonel Campbell, Commissioner of the power to the island of Elba.". She holds the course to this lie... Wind contrary to the corvette and favourable for the brick keeps these two buildings to approach."

Livorno and Genoa

The wind blows so many still the South and the Imperial fleet is downwind, look favourable for vessels of the time. Monday, however, it will change course and get progressively Cape West by far, following the curvature of the Italian coast the Gulf of Genoa. «Windy fresh around noon, written to d'Ornano, and nothing seems more worry about the market of the Conqueror when, on the night, you can see a brick manoeuvre on the fickle.
It's the Zéphir, under the orders of Captain Andrieux. The two brigs intersect within earshot. We know the dialogue that is established.
Andrieux recognizes Taillade, Commander of the sailors of the guard, was asked: "How is the Emperor and where are you going? '' "Napoleon is doing well and I go to Genoa," replied slash.
«Andrieux will specify: I have a mission for Livorno... ".
On Monday night, so the fleet is between Livorno and Genoa. «The wind freshens more», notes d'Ornano Cuneo. Peyrusse suffers from seasickness, and he is not the only one. The night will be difficult for embedded men who, in addition to the sea, endure the cold. 'On Tuesday the 28th, at six o'clock in the morning, reported Novi.'This phrase is also interesting. But as it has not "Novi" on the Ligurian coast, we think that a spelling error mask Noli, then fishing village retaining towers from the 13th century and easy to recognize for a sailor. Which indicates on the one hand, that the flotilla sailed to the Italian coast which she moved closer under cover of darkness and that Secondly, it exceeded thirty thousand nautical Genes. It is located off the coast of the «Capo Malpasso». A whole program!

Italian coast and landing of Napoleon

In this Tuesday, February 28, the Italian side will scroll away. Without doubt, see embedded men far Albenga, Alassio, Imperia... and maybe San Remo...
A third night descended on the flotilla that finally enters French waters. On Wednesday, March 1st, the Sunrise is the coast of Nice, a city the Emperor knows well.Late morning, before eleven o'clock, we double the cap d'Antibes and there... new order masters... But read d'Ornano Cuneo:
"It is while Napoleon, who had views of caution in ordering the appointment in Fréjus, put his brick down to height of the place where it is located and give other vessels the signal to arrive." They receive all the Emperor's order "wet nearest possible to the beach '...
"This is the point of disembarkation of Napoleon", concludes d'Ornano.
Here is a description of the marine portion of the epic which allows us to propose the route followed by the emperor who apparently benefited Elba in Golfe Juan to a bearing and relatively cool Wind facilitating its route with relative precision.
The best of auspices, in short, for the most extraordinary companies...

Chapter 4: 1 March 1815, A Golfe-Juan

Arrived late morning in the Harbour, then anchored near the coast, to the tune of Gabelles, district of the commune of Vallauris, seven boats will slowly landed their men between the Tower of the Gabelle and the path to the sea. The location of this tower is easy to find although it is gone: at the corner of avenue Pierre Semard and so-called street "the extended Gabelle", a power transformer replaced it. Imagine on-site modification of places...
The sandy beach, covered with kelp, began at height of the current railway dating back to 1860. No buildings or houses that we see today existed, this seafront being then uninhabited as evidenced by the cadastre of 1815 in the Town Hall of Vallauris. The location of the current Golfe-Juan we see a few warehouses for the pottery waiting for boarding and few houses of fishermen all located in a restricted area currently bounded by the place of the customs, fishermen Street and avenue de la Gare.
Customs (very badly received when they will ask the grognards present their papers!) occupy a small cabin overlooking the current place of the customs...
Out of this small area we see only a few country houses and few buildings isolated along the road from Marseilles to Italy, the current RN 7.
No Inn, in particular, is at the crossroads of this future national road with the road to Vallauris whose departure is one we know today.
Thus, the stage is set. Around 3 p.m., the emperor arrives. No port to welcome him, nor any landing. His men will help... do not get wet. The sea is rough but not too because a shot of sea or a strong wind had made the difficult operation and Chronicles would be is echo. The exact location where Napoleon I key land may be specified according to the time texts. We believe it by a reasoning based on the knowledge of the sites.
For several hours his men landed when he presented in turn before the beach. The path of the sea is one that we must borrow, landing of the Emperor had occur near this road, close to the location of the plaque.

The choice of the Emperor

As this 'path of the sea', now the station avenue, then it's a bad path almost exclusively used by trucks bringing the Vallauris pottery warehouses, or even directly to the boarding when the boat is at anchor a few miles from the shore.
Fields along it where vineyards and olive trees grow... Midway between the sea and the road from Marseilles to Italy, on the right, is a country house, that of Jerome Jourdan, then Councillor of Vallauris. It was here that the emperor will stop. Advisor Jourdan is there. It offers an armchair, quickly installed near the big olivier because in the House the stove smokes. It's nice and the Sun brings a fresh temperature. This is the headquarters, the first of the most extraordinary, the most unusual military campaigns.
Without doubt, hope Napoleon a visit of the Mayor and Councillors of Vallauris... Because the District of Gabelles where elban fleet has between belongs to the commune of Vallauris. It is amazing that historians routinely ignore this fact. a book of history in use in our schools not place this landing in... Fréjus!
As notable, they have their appointment to Napoleon, in 1812!

Who are they?

The Mayor is Jean Antoine Louis Gazan; his advisers call, Honoré Daumas, former owner, armed privateer under the Republic and the Empire which, in 1810, fortune on the sea and in the Americas, bought the Château de Vallauris and many lands that depend on it, Jérôme Jourdan, already met, Jean Baptiste Cevoule, Antoine Laty, Pierre Charabot, Jean Baptiste Carbonnel, Donat Gazan, Jean Antoine Lisnard
Apart from Jourdan, none will come see the emperor. Keep them the rigour? At one of them, the Mayor, certainly.
In fact, we read in the book of sessions of the Municipal Council:
"This Jurd ' hui 22 June one thousand eight hundred and fifteen in Vallauris, in the public room of the common home, from the front we Jean Antoine Louis Gazan Mayor in exercise of that, under the order of Mr the prefect of the Var Department common en date 13 this month which in pursuance of article 3 of the imperial decree of April 30.ordered the installation of Mr. Sicard Jerome the duties of Mayor of the Commune of Vallauris and Mr Carbonnel Antoine in those of Deputy of the same municipality...» The first is surgeon-major of the army retired and the other is lawyer.
Stunning installation! Four days after Waterloo!
Which proves the slowness of communications at that time, slow that will use with genie Napoleon to succeed its reconquest.
The following municipal Council from 1 December 1815, Gazan has resumed his post as Mayor as if nothing had happened. When Antoine Carbonnel, he will become Mayor less than a year later, November 24, 1816... curious time, anyway!

In the meantime the new emperor works

But back to this March 1, near Jérôme Jourdan olive...
Pending news of Antibes with impatience can be guessed, the Emperor looks over his charts.
No doubt has the Cassini map and staff cards.
Look again a map of the Gulf of Jouan, then called "Baye de Giraldo" compiled by Ayrouard in 1744? ... Certainly not because it is outdated, obsolete! And he knows well, him who put defence sides 20 years previously. Jérôme Jourdan farm where Napoleon hoped the reinforcement of the garrison of Antibes has disappeared for ages. Its location is situated at height of rue de Verdun joining the existing avenues of the station from the MIDI. The evening will be long for the emperor. While this night of March fell long, it includes that it must definitively renounce this Antibes garrison for which he brought 1000 rifles...After a frugal meal prepared with provisions brought from the island of Elba and landed in the afternoon, the troops will get in running order at the top of the 'path of the sea', along the "route de Marseille to the Italy. The Emperor, mounted on Tauris, his horse from the island of Elba that will follow to Waterloo, reviewed then the small army shakes to Cannes, after a first and short walk. The Emperor stood between two abalone, obviously missing, the location of current cars stop, located near the "Napoleon"column.

And Golfe-Juan entered the literature

Attracted by this site who lives landed the giant whom he admired, Chateaubriand comes to Golfe-Juan summer 1838 and he wrote to Madame Recamier a letter which we derive some excerpts:
«... The night was closed when I arrived; I put foot ashore at a detached house on the edge of the grand' road. Jacquemin, Potter and innkeeper, owner of this House led me to the sea. We took hollow paths between olive trees under which Bonaparte had bivouacked. "Jaafar himself had received him and denies driving...".
L'Auberge Jacquemin existed in 1815 as it is mentioned on the Cassini map. But it is not on what was the route of Napoleon in Golfe-Juan. She was indeed on the road of Antibes and not in the part of the Gabelles crossed the emperor who penetrated so not. But Jacquemin, in 1838, made what will be many innkeepers and tavern-keepers arguing, which is always good for the tourist-client, the Emperor went down at home. If this were true, Napoleon would have done that eat, drink and sleep all along the route, which was not the case!
This only written yet Chateaubriand in this letter shows us that he loved the Gulf-juanais summer and places were still as empty as in 1815:
"Managed to strike, I live a calm sea that was not the smallest breath... There were in the Gulf as one boat at anchor and two boats. '' What would become, half a century later, the "Côte d'Azur" gives again, in 1838, an accurate picture of this paradise where Napoleon disembarked...
A year later, attracted also by the great man, Victor Hugo is in Golfe-Juan and he recounts his visit in «things views»:
"I walked a long time in this illustrious place. Vis à vis the small path along the route de Cannes, on a narrow plateau around which the Earth has been showered, there are two mulberry trees. It is between these two mulberry trees that the Emperor placed to review the battalion which will be as big as the great army history. "Then he headed toward the West, passed near this low battery I just see, crossed torrents I'm cross...".
In 1839, so nothing has changed since 1815. Mulberry trees are still there... their exact location is given by Victor Hugo and we find him today: at the traffic light of the crossing of the RN 7 (freedom avenue) and station Avenue, they were on the edge of the current RN 7, at the beginning of the street

Chapter 5: Golfe-Juan at Cannes, night of 1 to 2 March 1815

Men have ranged in running order: they are responsible for a "barda" of more than forty pounds with rifle, ammunition and weapon. Not to mention the cover that will soon take the weight, under the snow. How are they wearing? Regulatory shoes, identical without right foot or left... and three sizes only are available: small, medium or large, the straw being invaluable... Horse, between two abalone, Emperor look them scroll before him. Thus, shortly before midnight, they are gone! Why so late? Two reasons can explain it.
The first, which will be the second, is the long wait and hope, ultimately disappointed, the garrison of Antibes rally
Having waited too long and the night before, falling in March, the Emperor decided to wait until the rising of the Moon, which will allow the troupe not to walk in the dark.
This will be a significant advantage on this road to Cannes which Victor Hugo wrote in "Things views": "... he headed west, passed near this old low battery I just see, crossed torrents I'm through...»
We must realize, by reading these lines, that the current route has absolutely nothing to do with what it was less than two centuries ago. The means of locomotion were then irrelevant with those of today and they approached many of those of... antiquity. Similarly, the road looked more like a bad path crossed here and there by torrents, dry but capable, often also, big caprices.
Bad bridges, often of wood, allowed to cross those having dug an important Valley; about streams, crossed them at Ford, hoping that there were no item too impetuous.

So what are these torrents and this battery referred to by Hugo? And where were they?

The former still exist and have retained their names from 1815. The first is the "Barraya" happening today under the RN 7, at height of avenue Juliette Adam; in 1815 a wooden bridge spanned it.
Then it's the sea, humble Creek Creek most often dry and crossed to Ford, in 1815. Latter, however, is still capable of triggering overflow, as it wanted, in the 20th century, to impose a passage under the national road, n ° 24 of this road height. Nearby, at no. 26 are two olive trees which saw move the emperor to their foot...Should this evidence they bring deserve a ranking in respect of historical monuments?
It is then the Valley of the dawn, cashed, deep, that a new bridge would cross.
Nearby stood, beachfront, this "old low battery' referred to by Hugo. We have confirmation of its location on the cadastre of 1815 and the Cassini map. She stood on the beach, immediately after the Valley of the dawn. A former Wall overlooking the sand has become a relic? ...On the cadastre of 1815, she was named 'battery of the Gabelle. What confirms that today named Golfe-Juan Vallauris district then called «the Gabelle. Napoleon still had to cross other torrents and valleys spread throughout its route to Cannes. Rolland Valley first, then the valleys of Ledesma, of the Font, the Bauges and Mauvarre finally serving as a boundary between the communes of Vallauris and Cannes. While the road from 1815 coincides with that today in the centre of Golfe Juan to the Valley of the dawn, from there a doubt could subsist on the location. Was for the location of the RN 7 or the track? Obviously, however, is not destroyed the road when, in 1860, was built the railway. 1815 route lies in the RN 7, much wider than the old road and up to the entrance to Cannes, which is some four hundred meters before the intersection of the Source.

Fort Royal of Sainte-Marguerite

From there the urbanization of the 19th and 20th centuries has blurred the tracks. Plans and maps of the time then give us an idea of the route but without precision.Because, on the ground, any index has been removed.
Considering the maps and plans in our possession, we consider that the ancient route roughly followed boulevard from the Source. The peninsula of the cross (today the Croisette) was then Virgin housing and road to the Fort Royal of Sainte-Marguerite was under fire.
Obviously in this March 1, he made night under the moon... but the Emperor knows that, anyway, the fort will draw on him. And it is happy because Napoleon knows the history of this region: he knows such firepower of Fort Royal. A deliberation of the Council of the community of Vallauris, dated April 6, 1708, shows that the canon of the island stopped the enemy army commanded by the Duke of Savoy, army obliged to go back to Vallauris to arrive at Cannes...
These facts confirm what we said assurances received by Napoleon as a certain neutrality during its reconquest...
Another battery, similar to the one that we met at the exit of Golfe-Juan, is located on the seafront, at height of the Source. She is disarmed when Napoleon presents itself... and probably knows it!
The road from 1815 so roughly followed the boulevard from the Source, then ranged from the Croisette and rue d'Antibes to join the current location of the latter to the tune of the rue Maréchal Joffre, thus slightly north of the chapel Notre-Dame de Bon Voyage where the fishermen of Cannes came on a pilgrimage.
It is around this chapel that the troops bivouacked, before embarking on a difficult stage.

Chapter 6: Overnight from 1 to March 2, 1815, in Cannes

In the afternoon of March 1, general Cambronne is presented for mayor of Cannes to make requisitions; He and his men have also not gone unnoticed sowing some agitation among adults than children. Imagine fifty caps to hairs and their general arriving unexpectedly in a small village lost in the end bottom of the Provence! More importantly, clothed in imperial uniform while ten months this uniform has disappeared from the French army...
In his report on the event, the Mayor of Cannes, master Poulle, notary of his State, written including the general requisitioned "12 cars to 4 necklaces, 3000 rations of bread, 3000 meat, to distribute accurate midnight..." Various issues come to mind, so...
Where was the Mayor of the time? The answer is provided by Thierry de Ville d'Avray in his "history of Cannes", when he said that the victory of the year 1809 bulletins are posted for "New mayor" built on the site of sieur Ricord... So it's the building on the corner of the rue Emile Négrin. Another question arises on the time of arrival of the emperor. The Mayor of Cannes wrote in this regard:
"This is around 2 o'clock in the morning that Buonaparte came to Cannes..."
We believe that this time is not far from the truth. The bivouac will stand near the chapel Notre Dame de Bon Voyage, now defunct. Yet this Chapel still existed in 1860. Its end will occur by a... imperial decree of Napoleon III authorized the construction in its place of the current church due to the architect Vianay (the city of Cannes owes its greatest achievements of the 19th century).
But that was so Cannes this year 1815? ... Yes, that was this small town, small port of fishermen, has virtually never did talk about her.

The mysterious Cannes

And yet...
Yet, it is in the Sainte-Marguerite island which belongs to the territory of Cannes, that was locked in a Dungeon of Fort Royal the famous 'iron mask' which we wrote that it was Henri II de Guise... ("The unimaginable Secret of the iron mask"). This island had also mobilized the French nobility in 1636, to oust the Spaniards. And the neighbouring island of Saint-Honorat, also in Cannes, was long renowned for its famous Abbey!
Plans and watercolours come help to describe the urban part of Cannes. On one of these we see, foreground, the aisles of the freedom much narrower than today ' today... the sea then comes nearly to the road of Italy (current street Félix Faure) which it is separated by a row of trees. Houses that line then this street on its northern side, the only one built, stop at height of the current rue Maréchal Joffre. Beyond this limit the road leading towards Antibes continues and has borrowed Napoleon. To the South of the road begins a huge beach of sand that extends to the tip of the cross... In this month of March, 1815, at the edge of the water, the sand disappeared under named kelp "Zostera marina" by Thierry de Ville d'Avray
To the North, the boundary of the town is the current track while in the West it ends with the Hill of le Suquet. The space is, seen, not very large compared to what is now the city. But just, apparently, for the 3367 inhabitants in 1807. Was what home to the Emperor? Opinions on this point are very shared but regardless of their political opinions one certainty remains: they went point lie!
With respect to the time of departure, is still master pulley which supplies it in writing: '... Around five and a half hours in the morning, Cannes had the happiness to see fully issued...".
Going until the end of his loyalty to the King, the Mayor is going to apologize, on 27 April next when need to swear allegiance to the Emperor; Joseph Michel Hébert will replace it on this occasion.
And it will happen to pulley the same misadventure as Mayor of Vallauris; He will be dismissed from City Hall late June... to be, him and his assistants, reinstalled July 20. But disgusted with politics it will not attend the ceremony. Thus, Napoleon remained less than four hours in Cannes. Cambronne and 50 men preceded it so that no obstacle came slow the market. Need to go quickly and all stops, all the bivouacs will be short, at least up to Gap. Such would be the necessary key to success programmed by the brain of a giant...

Chapter 7: March 2, 1815, from Cannes to Grasse

After a bad night on the 'Beach' (this word appears on the map of the 18th century) of Cannes where sleep was excluded, though before the Sunrise the troupe began running because it was necessary to speed the Royal troops could impede the Imperial market. Cambronne and the avant-garde had more than an hour in advance.
The surprise, so the need for speed of implementation of the plan, were the keys to a winning strategy. From the "bivouac", they took the current rue Maréchal Joffre, then the Grasse road that begins at the crossroads Carnot. At this point, the railway and its coverage did not exist, the slope was stiff from the outset and allowed to achieve in one hour what is known as "the heights of le Cannet. It was, in reality, the location of the current Rocheville, a then-unknown name listed on any map of the time. But other names allow to locate the road to 1815. On the Cassini map, going towards the city of perfumes, we read on the left of the road: the Aubarède, the Olivet, Ranguin... While on the right, after leaving an oil mill, the names encountered are Saint-Nicolas, Paruchon, before leaving the village of the Cannet clearly on the right.
The authentic road Cannes-Grasse from this time departed little from the RN 7 between Rocheville and Mougins but due to high urbanization you can expect to find the slightest trace of the old course.
Having thus left le Cannet significantly on his right, the road of 1815 headed Mougins; It was no more crossing the old village perched on its peak than does the current Route Napoléon.
Before reaching Mougins skirted a new oil mill, perhaps one who worried Napoleon by the noise that it was and that the grognards took a cannonade in the distance.
What proves that it worked early in the mills of the time!
Having reached the top of the Hill on line. Cannes to the Plan-de-Grasse, 1815 route departed little current route, taking Route de Grasse, leading to the current Rocheville in the Carnot bridge...
Then to a small hub that would later become one of Tournamy (now altered). In 1815, shortly before the Saint-Martin quarter, on the right was leaving the road of Antibes, the same that today ' hui, crossing the so-called places of St. Blaise, the Clausonnes, to reach the fortified city inherited from the Greco-Roman world. But urban sprawl such as the sometimes huge work of Ponts et chaussées have here more that also disappear the old paths, even if are the most important in their time.
However, we will assume that after this ancient crossroads the 'road' from 1815 occupied roughly the location of the current N 85 and after leaving a bastide on the right and the chapels Saint-Sébastien and Saint-Jean on the left, succeeded in Mouans.

The Road yesterday and today

As of today, therefore, the road going to the right of the old village and then ran along the East wall of the castle to the three towers of the seigneurs de Mouans.
Napoleon, as expected, no doubt, marked a stop in Mouans pending news emanating from Cambronne Grasse hesitations faced.
Comparing the Cassini map cards today and taking the field one can imagine road followed very closely the current drawn with straight lines and curves. Districts were called then: Laugis, Plantiers, Les Bastides (found today opposite the golf course), Bertrand... It was then the Plan road, on the right... the vallon de Grasse or still runs the
Mourachone... the plan of Saint-Antoine... Bernard... road then begins its ascent leaving the COE on the right, Saint-Hilaire, left... The road followed the route of the current avenue Sidi Brahim, and then the climb became tougher in boulevard Sainte-Lorette, of which a part has been débaptisée to become the Victor Hugo boulevard.
We are well on the authentic route we follow by the boulevard of the ball game that borrowed the Emperor, in this March 2, 1815 in the morning.
And he spent, as we spend again, outside the front door of the Hotel de Pontevès, today Museum of the Navy Admiral de Grasse.
We admire the beautiful door, richness of stone which lives enter, in the 18th century, Mirabeau, the future Tribune...
At the end of the boulevard, the place of the Foux which has since much changed... It beat the wheat, in 1815, and it proved sufficient to allow the grognards of a pause before other physical tests... It was about eleven o'clock, then, in this March 2, 1815...!
This pause will be used for additional refuelling (Cambronne already got 3000 operations!) at the Inn of three dolphins, to 27 place aux Aires, a place where we today find the buildings of 1815. The population, meanwhile, will benefit also from the break to see his former ex-emperor that she will not hesitate to harass requests as if already...
Chapter 8: March 2, 1815 - beginning of after - noon, De Grasse at Saint-Vallier
It is, we have seen, hard to live the authentic Napoleon Road between Golfe-Juan and Grasse. This way, we have tried to find her but we were able to discover with accuracy than benchmarks having miraculously survived. Beyond Grasse, this will gradually change. Now, the concrete will no longer act. And often the tar no longer!
Napoleon and his men are so from Grasse, from place de la Foux, specifically, before noon and we go to their suite, find the itinerary they followed this place at Saint-Vallier.
They took what is known as the "road of the Alps".
She followed him, we think without having certainty, the existing road until the crossroads where, on the left, the road to Cabris, some five hundred meters before the pool 'Altitude 500 '.
Cabris road was, in 1815, the "Route of the Alps". It quickly leads us on the plateau where a second stopover allowed the troupe to regroup as the climb so far had been strong stiff.
We are then on what has named «Plateau Napoleon».
Contrary to what one might believe, the purpose of these staging was essentially consolidate men because the rough climbs, by paths o how difficult, éparpillaient in a long file outlining the stragglers and therefore likely to undermine the small army. And then there was the Treasury which ensured Peyrusse. But the mules who load (two hundred million-gold... told) followed with punishment and far behind.
No doubt has the emperor would remove these halts if few conform to this reconquest strategy but it needed most of all keep its lifeblood.
And it went on this wrong path which is now tarred, alas, tar that we will suffer until coast 552. Then, on our right hand the authentic way, miraculously preserved and announced by a sign: "path of Pilon de Saint-Vallier.

Balconies of the Côte d'Azur and the drumstick col

We find the stony path once, greenery and a very Mediterranean forest where oak trees found their place. Amount, the panorama extends increasingly to finally open up the Italy to Saint-Tropez. We are, then, on the "balconies of the Côte d'Azur".
Napoleon had time to marvel at this panorama? He thought that from here you can see Corsica, sometimes huge, with sharpness just before the Sunrise, by the days of Mistral... what has happened one morning in March 1988. Obviously, this is a mirage caused by the refraction of light rays marrying the roundness of the earth when the refractive index is favorable. This is the reason why, from the sea, at altitude zero, one can also see Corsica. For the moment, laughing matter watching the Esterel and its two main peaks, mount vinegar and bear peak.
Closer to us, these are the Amic Clos walls that catch our attention while we continue our climb to the N 85. And will the tar on this same path of pylon before reaching this current Route Napoléon, who in hundreds of meters, will bring us to the neck of the drumstick.
We must admit that this journey we have just to follow does not entirely satisfy us because a building we have not encountered and which poses a conundrum. It's this ruin, named "the Petit Saint Jean", that we find in a wide bend of the N 85. One of our correspondents Grasse, Mr Chabert, former elected representative of the city of perfumes, is interested in the mystery of this House and reported us a hideous crime that it would have had to frame.
It was then a tavern... The son of the owners, returning after a journey of several years has certainly changed a lot physically, came one evening and did not know. He simply suggested that it was largely to pay.
During the night, the innkeepers, by greed, murdered their child by ignoring its identity. They would have been for this guillotined in Grasse.
And here begins the mystery for us. If "Petit Saint Jean" was a hostel, it is that the road passed nearby. It was not, then, the 'path of the Saint-Vallier Pilon' we followed...

The Cassini map will come to our rescue?

The names that we read are departing from Grasse have all disappeared on current maps. On the left, "The medicine" suggests "Shelf Napoleon" while right "Ricord" brand not a district but a property and the name of the owner. It is the same for three buildings reported to the edge of the road, on the right uphill. It is first Floris, then Daveyre, below the "The marble" locality, in finally, more far "Fabre de Grasse"... Is one of these "the little Saint John"?
We hope one day a response allowing to have all insurances on the way authentic, Napoleon...
For the time being, the 'path of the neck of the drumstick' allowed us to join the N 85 shortly before the Summit.
We then Rails this national, convinced that we are on the path traveled by the emperor. And it will be so until Saint-Vallier, or almost...
The old road has, in fact, covered by the tar but it is there, beneath our feet. The old stones that we see on the right aisle are a valuable index. You should watch them, these often loquacious aisles and we giving valuable information on the age, if this is the origin of the route that they border. To worthy, they will sometimes our only markers to find the old, authentic way.
Another clue to locate the authentic path is the name of the 'Arboins' which appears on the map of 1815, in the same location on current maps from the route.
The final straight before the village is a creation of this century. Formerly, the roads were more winding than today ' hui. It followed a natural line, was avoided through a field, it respected the cultures... And was going slowly. What's more annoying, then, as a long straight line! That is why, in 1815, a few hundred metres before the village the road curved to the right, taking the current and still existing 'path of Praredon': the age latter is attested by ancient stone buildings bordering it.
The houses of the village between which we are committed as a result of Napoleon have a respectable age. And we admire them in passing; beautiful stone arches, beautiful settlements doors...
We manage the bench of stone, in the front of the Church, this bench where the emperor sat down.
On the other side of the road, the bench, also of stone, near to the parish church, allowed grognards to rest. Then, since Cannes, they had already travelled 35 km it was about fourteen hours and the day was far from over. In of Grasse ascent to the col of the mountain, "the Doublier" pylon, located upstream of the road, particularly arid appears. It is the result of devastating fires lit up not only in the 20th century but in the previous centuries. Napoleon was aware of this situation and Paris in worried about during his 15 year reign. The proof is the order that follows, given to the prefect of the Var, because at the time, the Department of the Alpes Maritimes did not exist. Grasse, Antibes and the river Var, towns and villages depended by the prefect of the Var.

Saint-Pancrace - Digne
Bléone Valley - Digne

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